Horse Racing
Boxing Day feast ends Chadwick’s famine

By David Morgan
27/12/2018 00:14

Matthew Chadwick lands a double on Litterateur in the finale
Matthew Chadwick lands a double on Litterateur in the finale

After a winter of lean pickings Matthew Chadwick enjoyed a Boxing Day feast at Happy Valley, wrapping up a double on the 42/1 longshot Litterateur in tonight’s (Wednesday, 26 December) Class 2 finale.

“It’s Hong Kong. What else can I say? It’s a merry-go-round, it’s as simple as that,” the former champion apprentice said after ending a barren spell stretching back to 10 November.

“I’ve been here long enough to know how it is. All you can do is ride your best and I don’t think I’ve been riding badly.”

Chadwick ended his 54-race winless streak when Polymer Luck delivered in the evening’s second contest, the Class 4 Uranus Handicap (1650m). It was the rider’s third success from 16 rides for first-season handler Jimmy Ting who, along with Litterateur’s trainer Richard Gibson, has continued to support the rider.

Chadwick ends his losing run on Polymer Luck

Litterateur nailed the brace to cap the eight-race card, grinding wide on the turn and galloping on relentlessly for a three quarter-length win from the even money favourite, Red Warrior.

“Litterateur did it nicely,” Chadwick said. “He settled brilliantly, the pace was nice throughout and he just outstayed them.”

The six-year-old Lope De Vega gelding struggled to settle in his races during his early days in Hong Kong but has always shown smart ability and made it five wins from 25 starts in the city.

“He’s had a lot of bad gates and he needs the races run to suit,” Chadwick said. “Early on in his career he was a bit unmanageable but he’s quietened down and he’s a very easy ride nowadays.

“I’m very happy to repay Richard Gibson because he’s been my main supporter recently,” he continued. “A lot of his horses have been running well, they’ve just had tricky barriers or found one or two that were too good on the day. Hopefully a bit more luck can come our way in the new year and we can kick on with the season.”

Make De Sousa’s a double

Silvestre de Sousa claims his second win of the night on Happy dragon
Silvestre de Sousa claims his second win of the night on Happy dragon

Silvestre de Sousa continued his fine form with a no-nonsense double that took his tally to 15. Britain’s three-time champion jockey only arrived at the start of November but is already eighth in the premiership and climbing fast.

The Brazilian opened the Boxing Day card with a win in the Class 4 opener on Starlit Knight. De Sousa took the initiative entering the back straight, let his mount roll along on the lead and then kicked for home off the final turn for a two and a half-length score.

The second winning margin was bigger still as he drove the John Moore-trained Happy Dragon widest off the home turn and the four-year-old rattled home three lengths to the good in the Class 3 Mars Handicap (1650m).

“He did it very easily. From 800 (metres) out I felt that I had plenty of horse underneath me and that’s why I decided to go to the outside,” de Sousa said of the Irish import, who was notching a first Hong Kong win at the eighth attempt.

“He’s been unlucky a couple of times and he was the best horse in the race so I wanted to make sure he got a clear run.”

Starlit Knight was also the platform for a Me Tsui brace. The trainer struck again in race six when Telecom Brothers and apprentice Victor Wong partnered for a third win on the bounce. That pair landed their hat-trick from the front, holding on by a head at odds of 9/1.

Joao Moreira enjoys a festive win on The Joy Of Giving.
Joao Moreira enjoys a festive win on The Joy Of Giving.

The Joy Of Giving was one to note for anyone looking for a Christmas-themed winner. Michael Chang’s charge returned the 3.8 favourite in the 1800m Class 5 and rewarded his festive supporters with a half-length verdict under Joao Moreira.

The Brazilian ace was foiled atop hot favourite Special Stars in the Class 4 Jupiter Handicap (1000m) though. John Size’s three-year-old steamed up to the Chris So-trained Thou Shall Sing with 150m to go but Vincent Ho’s mount held the 1.4 top pick in the run to the line.

Matthew Poon edged out the Moreira-ridden Jolly Bountiful to take the fifth contest aboard Gallant Return. The David Hall-trained four-year-old, a Hong Kong International Sale graduate, was scoring for the first time at start nine.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday, 29 December