Joao Moreira and John Size dominated the New Year’s action at Sha Tin Racecourse this afternoon, Monday, 1 January, with five wins for the champion jockey and four for the champion trainer, but the day’s feature eluded their grasp.
The axis had to settle for second in the G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) with Beat The Clock (115lb). The improving Fifty Fifty (113lb) had the 1.8 favourite’s measure in a thrilling tussle between two of Hong Kong’s rising stars that lifted the 85,000-strong holiday crowd.
The G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) at the end of the month now beckons for the Peter Ho-trained victor.
“If he comes out of this race in good form we will definitely consider the Stewards’ Cup. I can’t find another mile race for him, so this is my plan,” Ho said.
“He’s a tough horse, when Beat The Clock came to him, he fought again. He has a big heart and he’ll be a better miler.”
Fifty Fifty went into the traditional New Year’s feature with a rising profile after three wins from only five Hong Kong starts. But although the grey took his place in the 12-runner field off a featherweight 113lb, the 98-rated five-year-old did so from 8lb out of the handicap.
“I was very confident about this race, even though he was running from out of the handicap,” Ho said. “The horse keeps on improving and his condition is even better than last time. He won earlier when he was only 70 percent or 80 percent fit.”
Fifty Fifty slotted into an ideal berth, stalking the front pair of Peniaphobia (128lb) and Dashing Fellow (121lb) in a one-off position. When Teetan shifted out on the final turn, Fifty Fifty clicked up his pace and cruised to lead at the 350m mark. Shaken up for the win, the New Zealand-bred accelerated towards the wire with Beat The Clock in close pursuit.