All but one of the overseas raiders are on the ground ahead of the HK$93 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races – Australia’s In Her Time is on her way – but that’s of little concern to Duke Wai (120lb) who made it two wins on the bounce with a smart win in this afternoon’s (Sunday, 1 December) feature at Sha Tin.
A HK$28 million pot and G1 status come with next weekend’s biggest feature: today’s Class 3 Peninsula Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup Handicap (1000m) is lengths removed from that but the HK$1.45 million purse is not to be sniffed at and trainer Paul O’Sullivan was delighted with his maturing four-year-old.
“He’s making good strides and he’s relatively lightly-raced,” the Kiwi handler said. “Paul Chow (bloodstock agent) bought him at the sales for a client and he said, with maturity, he seemed to think he’d get better and he’s quite right.”
Duke Wai went off the 2.5 favourite, thanks to a last-stride mugging of the well-regarded Lucky More a month ago. That horse franked the form with an impressive score last week.
“They’re two pretty conflicting wins – the first one he fell out the gates and (Karis Teetan) rode him the whole way and he got home over the top of them. This one he jumped better, he travelled and finished off nicely,” O’Sullivan said.
The Per Incanto gelding still needed rousting at the break today but had enough toe to be travelling nicely in mid-pack along the outer fence by the 600m point. The real work began approaching the final two furlongs and the game gelding did not shirk, driving to the lead with 200m to go and keeping on for a cosy length and a half score.