Gunnison lined up for the Class 2 feature after six consecutive defeats from ratings in the low 90’s but a spell at the Jockey Club’s new base saw the diminutive chestnut return with a slightly increased body weight and a markedly improved performance.
The pace was predictably fast – producing a final time only just outside the track record – and with Joao Moreira aboard for the first time since his sole previous Hong Kong win in May Gunnison stormed four lengths clear of Perpetual Treasure.
Size and Moreira combined again in the closing Hong Kong Park Handicap (1200m) and the effect was equally devastating.
Like Gunnison, Raging Blitzkrieg (132lb) had been struggling to defy the handicapper for quite a while, but with Moreira aboard for the first time this season he sealed a treble for his rider and made an open contest look very one sided as he stormed clear of Goldie Flanker (114lb).
There was never any question of a wide margin at the end of race five and Alexis Badel was a relived man after Danny Shum’s Golden Effort (121lb) found just enough to hold on by a short head from the fast-finishing Joyful Contender (122lb).
Badel was recording his sixth success of the season and is very satisfied with his progress.
“I have been a beaten in some very close finishes – including two or three by a nose,” he said. “It would have been tough to lose that one tonight but things are going great and I’m very happy.”
Blanco breaks duck as O’Sullivan looks to up the pace
Paul O’Sullivan always suspected he would make a slow start this season but the booking of Moreira for Mi Blanco in race one worked out perfectly as the five-year-old relished a strong pace to break his duck at the nineteenth attempt.
O’Sullivan reports that he has “a stack of new horses ready to go” and is set to be much busier than normal at morning trials in the next week or two.
“I could have ten unraced PPG’s at the next sets of trials and one or two of them look alright, but the slow start was always going to happen this year and we’ll pick up now,” he said.