Champion trainer Ricky Yiu’s stable stalwart Jolly Banner is looking to land a third Group 3 win for his handler in Thursday’s (1 October) National Day Cup Handicap (1000m), ahead of what is likely to be the classy veteran’s sixth and final Hong Kong racing season.
“This will be one of his last few runs – probably by the end of the year we will try and send him back to Australia – he’s a nine-year-old, so we need to take it race-by-race,” Yiu said.
The Lonhro gelding has been nothing short of consistent across his career with HK$14.8 million to his name from 42 starts, featuring seven wins and 23 top three finishes, since his handler picked him out at the 2013 Australian Easter Yearling Sale for AU$300,000 (approx. HK$1.6 million).
“It was love at first sight!” Yiu said. “I rang up the client, who is the owner now, and straight away said we need to buy this horse – he’ll do well, I like him a lot, he’s a natural runner.”
The 109-rater’s last two wins have come at G3 level, firstly the 2019 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) at 89/1 and latterly the Premier Cup Handicap (1400m) three starts ago in June, both times with Matthew Poon in the plate.