Fifty Fifty faces his first Class 1 test in the Chevalier Cup Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 26 November, with jockey Karis Teetan looking to make amends after a luckless reversal last time out.
Peter Ho’s talented grey galloper was impressive in winning his first two starts this term, looking every inch a star on the rise, but had to settle for a late-dashing third behind Marvel Tribe in a 1400m Class 2 on 5 November. The Thorn Park gelding will stretch to a mile for the first time.
“He’s an improving horse and has been all season,” Teetan said. “Every time he runs he keeps meeting stronger horses, going up in class, and even this time he tackles a step up in class and distance. I don’t think either will be a problem because he goes in with a really nice weight (115lb) and he’s come on very well from his last run.”
Fifty Fifty returned the 1.9 favourite to win his latest race. But after jumping from gate 2, the New Zealand-bred was trapped mid-pack against the running rail when the field made the turn into the home run. Teetan had to sit and suffer until 250 metres out, from which point his mount rattled home in a fastest closing 400m split of 22.42s to finish a short-head and a neck behind 65/1 winner Marvel Tribe and fellow grey prodigy, Pingwu Spark.
“That 1400 (metres) race last time, he had a good gate and came out pretty good, but he couldn’t be in a handier position because there were too many fast horses around him. I had to take a sit and got stuck on the rail. In the straight, when he was getting going, a few were stopping in front of me. He did get a clear run towards the end and flew home,” Teetan said.
Fifty Fifty, a 1400m maiden winner at his sole start in New Zealand pre-import, is yet to finish outside the frame in four Hong Kong outings and heads into the HK$2.5 million contest rated 91, a full 17 points higher than at the start of the season.
“He’s done everything right and he’s on the right road, he’s looking good going towards the race,” Teetan said.
The five-year-old will break from gate three in Sunday’s 10-runner feature in which he will face well-seasoned rivals, the likes of Group 3 course and distance winner Booming Delight (133lb), Romantic Touch (130lb), Eastern Express (123lb), Simply Invincible (120lb) and Citron Spirit (116lb), as well as the new Irish import Exultant (114lb), raced as Irishcorrespondent in Europe and an eye-catching fifth on his Hong Kong debut earlier this month.
Rivet to debut against Spark and Giant
Booming Delight’s stablemate and year younger full-brother Rivet (132lb) will make his Hong Kong debut in race eight on Sunday, the Class 2 Chevalier Property Development & Operations Handicap (1400m). The G1 Racing Post Trophy (1600m) winner also sports owner Peter Law’s yellow and red silks and will break from gate 12 under Tommy Berry.
Rivet will concede weight to all 12 of his rivals. They include two exciting emerging talents in Pingwu Spark (127lb) and Little Giant (130lb).
Pingwu Spark notched back-to-back wins before failing narrowly behind Marvel Tribe last time but jockey Derek Leung believes there is more to come from the strapping Benno Yung-trained five-year-old.