Antoine Hamelin, 31, celebrated his first double of the season after a copybook display on Hit The Shot in the Class 3 Shenzhen Handicap (2200m) for John Size after earlier triumphing for Douglas Whyte aboard Pretty Queen Prawn in the Class 4 Huizhou Handicap (1000m).
“I’m very happy about my day and very happy about my support,” Hamelin said. “It’s easier when you ride the favourites – you can only do with what you have in your hand, but today the horses are in good form so everything went well and I’m very happy.”
The Frenchman earlier picked up the ride on Pretty Queen Prawn after Lyle Hewitson had taken the ride on runner-up E Rainbow before Whyte decided to back up Pretty Queen Prawn after a luckless third placing on 19 October at Happy Valley.
“Lyle (Hewitson) was already booked on another horse and, as everyone knows, I’ve got a business to run and owners to look after and I thought the other day Pretty Queen Prawn was unlucky with the bad draw (barrier 10) and he got the good gate this time,” Whyte said.
“The draw (barrier one) today was obviously very beneficial to us. It was Antoine’s first ride on him, he got him out of the gates well and rode a very good race.
“This season, the horse has really improved. He’s had a few problems with his feet but he’s really come good this season and he’s really holding his form. He’s a heavy horse and I think it’s beneficial that, instead of galloping, he can back up (and race more often).”
Red Majesty continued his incredible affinity with Happy Valley, posting his eighth victory over the 1650m course under an inspired ride by Keith Yeung to snare the Class 3 Zhaoqing Handicap (1650m) for David Hayes.
“He’s a funny old horse,” Hayes said. “Whenever he draws well here, he runs well but if draws out, he finds it very hard to win. Keith rode him very well today.”
Luke Ferraris clinched his seventh winner for the campaign with a superb rails-hugging ride on Jimmy Ting-trained Smiling Time in the Class 4 Kwangtung Handicap Cup Handicap (1800m) after angling straight down to the inside fence at the start from the second-widest barrier.
“That was plan A, from draw 11 – trying to go forward and get a position, we would have been three-deep, so I just had to snag him out of the gates and try and pinch a few spots and luckily, he did,” Ferraris said.
“He found himself in a rather nice position, all things considered and he got a lovely track into the race and when I pushed the button there was a response.”
Caspar Fownes is confident Jumbo Legend can continue to progress after the Hinchinbrook gelding’s slender victory in the first section of the Class 4 Dongguan Handicap (1200m) for Vincent Ho.
“He’s done a good job. It’s pretty tough to do what he’s done carrying a big weight (133lb). We’re happy with the horse. He is obviously going to go up in class and it looks like he will be competitive in Class 3. He’s got a big fighting heart and he’s improving each race as he starts to understand his job better,” Fownes said.
Hong Kong International Sale graduate Circuit Spiritanto, a son of Frankel, prevailed for the first time at his 12th start in the Class 5 Chaozhou Handicap (1650m) under a brilliant Matthew Poon ride for Manfred Man before Ricky Yiu-trained Mega Bonus narrowly survived a fierce late challenge from Sunny And Gold to land the second section of the Class 4 Dongguan Handicap (1200m) for Zac Purton.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (2 November).