Singapore Sling cemented his candidacy for next month’s BMW Hong Kong Derby with an upset success in the HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) at Sha Tin racecourse this afternoon, Sunday, 18 February.
The victory was Chad Schofield’s biggest in Hong Kong and the rider ended a memorable Chinese New Year race day with a four-timer that also featured the Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m) on Dundonnell.
“It’s a fantastic day,” Schofield, 24, said. “To win the two feature races is a privilege. It was my birthday a couple of days ago so it was the ideal present.”
Singapore Sling returned at 9/1 in a Hong Kong Classic Cup market dominated by Nothingilikemore, the only horse ahead of the South African import in last month’s Hong Kong Classic Mile. But the 1.8 jolly failed to sparkle this time, running home a disappointing fourth behind the Tony Millard-trained bay.
There was nothing sub-par about Singapore Sling. Millard’s latest stable star looked a picture pre-race and delivered a performance to match.
“When I asked for the supreme effort, he responded nicely and he held that all the way to the line, so it was a very strong win,” Schofield said.
The Golden Age set a solid tempo on the front end under Matthew Chadwick as Schofield settled Singapore Sling one spot back, stalking easily along the inside rail.
“I just put my hands on the horse’s neck and let him tell me where he wanted to be and that was nice and close in the box seat. I was worried that perhaps I was too close because it was a strong pace throughout,” Schofield said.
“With Grand Chancellor on my outside, I was able to edge out into the clear nice and early, and I sat as long as I could.”