Horse Racing
Sixth Generation takes aim at Happy Valley hat-trick

By Declan Schuster
30/05/2023 12:59

Sixth Generation and Vincent Ho have won twice in tandem.
Sixth Generation and Vincent Ho have won twice in tandem.

In the midst of a purple patch, Sixth Generation has continued to raise the bar this term but at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (31 May) he’ll face his stiffest test to date in the Class 3 Broom Handicap (1650m) for trainer Jamie Richards and jockey Vincent Ho.

A smashing four length win last start sees the Per Incanto gelding rise to Class 3 for the first time, handed a whopping 10 rating points for that victory – his second in succession.

“He did a good job last time, he was given a lovely ride by Vincent (Ho) and he appreciated a bit of the rain that was around – a bit of easing in the ground.

“The handicapper didn’t miss him, he went up 10 (rating points), so it’s never easy once they put that sort of handbrake on them but the horse is in good order and he’s had a tick over trial since and we’re looking forward to tomorrow night,” Richards said.

Enjoying a fine maiden campaign, Richards has 32 wins in the bag and gave Sixth Generation a barrier trial on the dirt between runs on 16 May at Sha Tin.

“It was just a nice maintenance trial for him, he was five or six weeks between runs, which is pretty standard for us, but he heads off to the races in good order tomorrow night from a good gate but has to take that step up into Class 3,” Richards said.

Sixth Generation does it easily in April at Happy Valley.

The four-year-old has been afforded gate one for his Class 3 debut as Ho aims to extend his record aboard the horse to three-from-three.

“He’s not really a leader and the night (1 March, 2023) that he did lead he just went too fast and that told in the home straight, but hopefully we can position up a little bit closer and Vincent rides Happy Valley well and he’s ridden the horse well before, so hopefully we can have a bit of luck,” Richards said.

Richards has netted 21 wins at the city circuit this term and also saddles Chilean Group 1 winner Alacrity (123lb) in the HK$2.9 million Class 2 Briar Handicap (1800m) tomorrow.

The four-year-old scored two starts ago in Class 3 under Zac Purton before finishing sixth in his Class 2 debut last start.

“When you get into Class 2, you’re a bit more restricted with the options you have because there’s not as many horses in that grade and there’s not as many races carded. But we liked the look of the 1800 metres, he’s trialled at Happy Valley before and we’re happy to go there and give him a chance but the poor horse just can’t draw a gate, so it’s very difficult for him again,” Richards said.

Ahead of his fifth start in Hong Kong, which will see him break from barrier 12, Alacrity has previously stepped away from gates 13, 13, 14 and eight.

“He has Zac (Purton) on him which is a plus, but he’s just going to need all the favours. He’s a horse that’s been a bit of a backmarker, the ‘C+3 Course’ doesn’t make things easy but we’ll just have a look at the pace of the race and leave that up to Zac, if he can push forward and look to get in then that might be the right way to ride him – we’ll see what happens when the barriers open,” Richards said.

Fantastic Treasure wins first-up this campaign.
Fantastic Treasure wins first-up this campaign.

The HK$3.9 million G3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (1600m) and HK$3.9 million G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) take centre stage this Sunday (4 June) at Sha Tin.

Trainer David Hayes has the consistent Fantastic Treasure lining up in the Lion Rock Trophy in bid for a second win this season.

“He’s raced well all season and it looks like a race that if he finds his best then he could be in the finish. He’s earned a lot of stake money this year, it’s not an easy race but he wasn’t far off them the other day,” Hayes said.

The five-year-old has placed second three times this term, while his return outing saw him win a solid Class 2 contest last September.

Wednesday’s (31 May) nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 6.45pm with the Class 5 Tsun Yuen Handicap (1650m).