“I’m very happy because it’s my first Class 2 winner and especially because I won it for my boss (Fownes),” Wong said. “I jumped easy and let the horse do it himself. He gave me such a strong finish.
Kurpany once reached a career-high mark of 110 and contested the 2022 G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) but had been winless since January, 2022 after suffering a variety of ailments.
“He’s a fit horse and the kid (Wong) did a good job, so it’s just nice to get a winner,” Fownes said.
“I got him in the bottom of Class 3 and took him all the way up to well into the 100s (ratings) and like anything in Hong Kong, they get to a mark and then they start to come back down. He’s come back down and he’s summered well. He’s had quite a few problems and we’ve had to get him over that, which is always hard work to bring a horse back from injuries.”
Luke Ferraris attributed his strong start to the season to improved weight and stronger support from trainers and owners after the South African partnered Fownes-trained Killer Instinct to victory in the Class 4 Tung Wah Group Of Hospitals Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m, dirt).
“My weight is a bit better this season and the support has been better, too,” said Ferraris, who rode briefly in Australia during the off-season.
“I’ve had better rides and I’ve been able to capitalise on that. Riding in Australia and seeing what a great facility the Lindsay Park stables are was also a great experience.”
Manfred Man-trained Self Improvement claimed the first HK$1.5 million PP Bonus of the season when the Deep Field gelding won the Class 3 Tai Hang Handicap (1200m, dirt) under Purton.
Man then combined with Bowman to continue the Australian’s bright start to the season with Chiu Chow Brother, who notched a third Class 5 victory over 1400m.
Chris So lauded Chau’s effort to trial Pakistan Friend at Conghua before the evergreen veteran landed the Class 4 Wan Chai Handicap (1600m).
“The old man, he’s so good. His trials in Conghua were really nice. Jerry went up to Conghua and asked if I had any trials. I said ‘this one’. He trialled really nicely even at 1000m, he finished very strong,” So said after registering his opening win of the season before David Hayes combined with Karis Teetan and Lucky Encounter.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (20 September).