Horse Racing
Fifty Fifty takes the Chevalier Cup and sparks a Teetan treble

By David Morgan
26/11/2017 18:36

Fifty Fifty wins the Chevalier Cup Handicap at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Fifty Fifty wins the Chevalier Cup Handicap at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Fifty Fifty (115lb) continued his ascent through the grades with victory in the Chevalier Cup Handicap at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 26 November.

Peter Ho’s charge made light of his first start in Class 1, delivering a smart change of speed at the entrance to the home straight and sustaining his momentum to hold the late charge of Exultant (114lb). The latter’s effort had Four-Year-Old Classic Series written large across it.

Fifty Fifty is a year too advanced for Hong Kong’s classics but the lightly-raced five-year-old proved again that he is one of Sha Tin’s bright new things in sealing his third win at start number five under Karis Teetan.

Ho was coy about his stable star’s next outing but did not rule out a two-week back-up into the undercard at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 10 December.

“It’s too soon for him,” Ho offered at first. “But it depends. Maybe he looks great tomorrow, he eats up his feed and we’ll have to see, but it depends on the owner, Mr. Lee. I need to have a talk with the owner.”

Ho is confident, though, that the talented grey can stretch out over more ground.

“He can handle 1800 metres, easily,” he said. “You could see today, he’s so relaxed. The way he won – the more you ask him, the more he goes.

“Today he jumped and when the jockey switched him off, he just totally relaxed. This horse is very smart, he was waiting for the signal and once Teetan started the engine, he went.”

Teetan had been caught behind runners until deep in the home run at his previous two starts. Fifty Fifty’s afterburners saved the day in the first of those races but the New Zealand-bred gelding had to settle for third after surging late over 1400m last time.

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This time, the Mauritian rider settled the 2.1 favourite in an uncomplicated spot, one off the fence, with naught but the breeze to his outer and within easy striking range of the leaders.  

“He’s improving all the time and I knew the 1600 (metres) was no problem,” Teetan said.  “He’s gone to sleep behind them and I was just waiting for the right time to pull him out and let him go. He gave me a nice, long run from the turn in. Once horses came next to him, he went again.

“For me, he was the best horse in the race and he’s on the up. Every time he’s gone out there he’s tried his best. Peter said to me ‘just fire the horse with a lot of confidence’. It hasn’t been easy for him but he’s run and he’s travelled.

“This horse won overseas from the front so showing daylight the whole way doesn’t matter to him, he’s got a nice change of gears. He’s a lovely horse and he’s shown his ability already,” Teetan said.

Karis Teetan celebrates Fifty Fifty’s Chevalier Cup win.
Karis Teetan celebrates Fifty Fifty’s Chevalier Cup win.

Fifty Fifty ran to the wire through a final 400m split of 22.64s to halt the stopwatch at 1m 34.58s for the mile feature. A half-length behind, Exultant ran through the closing section in 22.11s under Matthew Chadwick.

Tony Cruz’s charge had shaped well in fifth on his Hong Kong debut two weeks ago.

“I expected Exultant to win today but maybe it’s come a bit early for him,” Cruz said of the Irish import. The Teofilo three-year-old was third to Churchill in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas (1600m) in May, when named Irishcorrespondent.

“He’s meant to run farther than this, he’ll go 2000 metres,” Cruz continued. “He’ll go into the Hong Kong Classic Mile in January – we have to go that way with him.”

Citron Spirit (116lb) was a further three-quarters of a length third, with the game Marvel Hero fourth of the 10 runners.

Pingwu’s still sparking

Another grey on an upward trajectory, Pingwu Spark (125lb) ignited the crowd with success in race eight, the Class 2 Chevalier Property Development & Operations Handicap (1400m). The ever-present Derek Leung was in the plate.

Derek Leung drives Pingwu Spark to victory.
Derek Leung drives Pingwu Spark to victory.

The hulking Mastercraftsman five-year-old, one place ahead of Fifty Fifty when second at the course and distance on 5 November, drove home powerfully and held the challenge of the Cruz-trained debutant Doctor Geoff (120lb) by half a length. The winning time was 1m 21.89s.

“We’ll look at the programme and see what the handicapper does before we make a plan,” trainer Benno Yung said of the 2.4 favourite. “He’s still improving, he’ll stay a mile, and he should go to Class 1, maybe higher.”

Runner-up Doctor Geoff, a three-year-old import, won two from three in Ireland including a Naas Listed race in May. The compact bay is another that could make his way into the Four-Year-Old Classic Series. His final 400m split of 21.58s under Chadwick was the fastest at the 1400m trip this season.

“He’s a nice little horse,” Chadwick said. “His prep has been nice into his first race and he’s fairly fit but there’s still some to work on. We tracked the winner into the race but the winner was cruising and idling a bit and he picked up – but he’s already race fit and he’s acclimatised. My horse just needs a bit of time and he’ll get further.”

The John Size-trained Premiere (129lb) took his unbeaten run for the season to three, all under Teetan, with victory in race seven, the Class 2 Chevalier Lifts & Escalators Handicap (1000m). Last season’s Champion Griffin returned the 3.4 second-pick and edged the verdict by a short-head from stablemate and 2.1 favourite House Of Fun (128lb).

That success gave Teetan a double and the rider made it three for the afternoon aboard the Frankie Lor-trained Morethanlucky in race nine. 

Hong Kong racing resumes on Wednesday, 29 November at Happy Valley Racecourse.