This Is Class (120lb) had to do it the hard way but the progressive sprinter had enough quality to maintain an upward curve with victory in a smoking Class 2 Hing Man Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday (8 April).
Francis Lui’s galloper overcame a wide draw, a three-deep passage and 11 smart rivals to seal a fifth career win at his 11th start. The five-year-old quickened to the lead 200 metres out and fought hard to repel the late challengers, Loving A Boom (118lb) and Hong Kong Bet (125lb), by a neck and a short-head.
“It was a bit tougher than normal because we had barrier 10 and that’s not easy but luckily the pace wasn’t too fast in front,” Ho said.
“When he travelled, I just let him breathe and save as much energy as possible until the last bit.”
Lui had not been confident beforehand that This Is Class would be able to cope with the early speed for his first start at 1000m since January last year, having snared all four of his previous wins at 1200m.
“I thought he’d handle the 1000 metres but I didn’t expect him to be that fast, especially as he was drawn 10,” the handler said. “The main dangers, I thought, were all on the inside, I expected them to be faster so I wasn’t confident – I thought maybe he was a place chance.”