Horse Racing
Helene Feeling underlines BMW Hong Kong Derby claims

By Leo Schlink
21/09/2023 00:17

Karis Teetan pilots Helene Feeling to an impressive win.
Karis Teetan pilots Helene Feeling to an impressive win.

Danny Shum’s aspirations of landing the 2024 BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) soared with Helene Feeling’s brilliant triumph in the Class 2 Victoria Harbour Handicap (1650m) under Karis Teetan at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (20 September).

One of Hong Kong’s most accomplished and respected horsemen, Shum immediately outlined plans for the Sioux Nation gelding’s participation in the lucrative Four-Year-Old Classic Series after the three-year-old out-gunned older opposition to claim a HK$1.5 million PP Bonus as well as HK$1,747,200 in prizemoney.

“I’m pretty confident he’s got a ticket for the Hong Kong Derby now,” Shum said of the 82-rater. “I will look at the programme and run him maybe one or two more times before the Four-Year-Old Classic Series starts in January.

“I thought he would run good tonight, but the win made me think the horse has improved a lot – better than I thought.”

A dual winner in England as Indian Dream when trained as a two-year-old by Michael Bell, Helene Feeling improved his Hong Kong record to three wins and three placings from six starts for Shum.

Caught three-wide into the first turn, Helene Feeling (117lb) eventually settled in second place behind Telecom Fighters before responding strongly in the straight to Teetan’s urgings to comfortably defy course specialist Nearly Fine (119lb) and Rise Brethren (122lb).

Hugh Bowman’s stunning season continues to soar.
Hugh Bowman’s stunning season continues to soar.

Hugh Bowman continued a blistering start to the 2023/24 season with a treble at Happy Valley, notching his 100th Hong Kong win in the process.

Bowman, 43, slotted a treble across the opening three races at the city circuit tonight to follow last Sunday’s (17 September)’s three-timer, leaving the Australian with nine wins for the term so far – four ahead of six-time champion Zac Purton in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship.

In supreme form, Bowman made it four wins in a row across the past two Hong Kong meetings with the successes of Classic Archi, Savvy Chic and June Planet.

Third in the 2022/23 championship with 62 wins behind Purton (179) and Vincent Ho (96) after making a belated start to the season, Bowman has made the most of his opportunities so far this term with nine wins and six placings from 27 rides.

 “It’s nice, I hope it continues,” Bowman said, referring to his rich vein of form.

“I thought the first horse (Classic Archi) had a good chance. It’s a bit of a lottery with the distance and being first-up but June Planet had a run recently and coming in here without the head gear helped him relax and Savvy Chic, I just got the dream run from the middle draw – which I didn’t really expect.

“He trialled up well the other day and he was there to run well if he got the right run and that’s what he got.”

Bowman’s strength was pivotal in Classic Archi’s breakthrough win at his 18th attempt, claiming the Class 5 Chatham Handicap (1800m) for Douglas Whyte.

“He’s been a model of consistency, this horse,” Whyte said. “I think he appreciated the give in the ground here at Happy Valley. I think there can be options for him going up to Class 4 with a light weight.”

Savvy Chic gave Frankie Lor his second victory of the campaign with success in the first section of the Association Of Official Racing Chemists Handicap (1200m) before Bowman’s dominance continued aboard Caspar Fownes-trained June Planet in the Class 4 International Group Of Specialist Racing Veterinarians Handicap (1650m).

Vincent Ho celebrates Dancing Code’s win with Aaron Kwok.
Vincent Ho celebrates Dancing Code’s win with Aaron Kwok.

Vincent Ho celebrated his first win since suffering serious injuries in a Japanese race fall on 29 July, driving Dancing Code – who is owned by entertainer Aaron Kwok – to victory for Fownes in the Class 3 Tsim Sha Tsui East Handicap (1200m).

“I tried to get a winner on the first day (last Sunday), but it’s good to be back. It was exciting to win – for the owner, first of all, and of course my boss (Fownes), who has kept supporting and he said he would support me when I came back just to kick off with the winners, which really helps,” Ho said.

“So, thank you to him. It’s great to be back.”

Purton prevailed on Jamie Richards’ Tronic Mighty before Tony Cruz-trained Street Conqueror scored an upset victory for Teetan in the Class 4 International Conference Of Racing Analysts And Veterinarians Cup Handicap (1200m), while Francis Lui scored with Rising From Ashes first-up in the Class 3 Hung Luen Handicap (1650m) for Lyle Hewitson.

Hong Kong racing will continue at Sha Tin on Sunday (24 September).