Horse Racing
Pierre Ng continues barnstorming run with Happy Valley success

By Leo Schlink
13/12/2023 23:44

Dragon Star delivers for Pierre Ng and Karis Teetan.
Dragon Star delivers for Pierre Ng and Karis Teetan.

Extending an extraordinary start to the season, Pierre Ng maintained his lead in the Hong Kong trainers’ championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (13 December) when the second-season trainer struck with a winner for the 12th consecutive meeting.

Leading the championship after 27 meetings with 32 victories – 10 clear of Danny Shum (22) – Ng has saddled 20 winners from the past 12 fixtures as he delivers on a pre-season pledge to eclipse his debut season haul of 41 winners.

“We don’t think of the number of winners, we just keep our head down and keep going and we try to get as many winners as we can,” Ng said. “We haven’t set any targets, we just want to achieve, win races for the owners, get prize money for the stable and get more support for the future.

“That’s how the game is and that’s how we’re going to play it.”

Dragon Star, given a flawless front-running ride by Karis Teetan in the Class 4 Lam Tin Handicap (1650m), became Ng’s latest winner as four-time Hong Kong champion trainer Caspar Fownes celebrated a double crowned by veteran Explosive Witness’ drought-breaking victory in the Class 3 Choi Wan Handicap (1000m) for James McDonald.

Both Teetan and McDonald slotted doubles as Zac Purton continued to lead the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with 39 wins – 13 ahead of Teetan (26) – after the Australian’s triumph on Benno Yung’s Tourbillon Prince in the Class 3 Kowloon Bay Handicap (1650m).

Explosive Witness surges away for James McDonald.

Famed as the ‘King of the Valley’ with a record 582 wins at the city circuit, Fownes has 19 wins overall for the campaign, but few of those successes have provided Fownes with as much as satisfaction as Explosive Witness, who won for the first time since his G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy Handicap (1000m) victory on 1 January, 2021.

“He’s a nine-year-old but he’s raced extremely well all season. Every run he’s given us a great effort and he’s certainly one horse who’s deserved to get that win. We worked hard to get him there, we worked hard to maintain his fitness and present the horse in good form, so he was well deserving of that victory,” Fownes said.

Super Contented gave Fownes the first leg of his brace after prevailing in a tight finish to the Class 5 Sau Mau Ping Handicap (1650m) under Keagan De Melo, who has posted 10 wins for the campaign, with six of those victories coming at the Valley.

McDonald closed the meeting with victory aboard Copartner Ambition in the Class 3 Jordan Valley Handicap (1200m) for Danny Shum – only three days after he and Shum teamed to land the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) with Romantic Warrior.

Brazen Beau three-year-old Golden Long provided Frankie Lor with his first winner since 11 November and ended a 55-run of outs for the 2021/22 champion trainer with an authoritative win in the second section of the Class 4 Kwun Tong Handicap (1200m) under Matthew Chadwick.

“He’s still a little bit green but he won the race well. He finished well and I hope he can be a really good horse,” Lor said.

Golden Long impresses on debut.

Samarkand made it two wins in a row with success in the Class 4 Ngau Chi Wan Handicap (1800m) for David Hayes and Jerry Chau. Carrying 127lb, the Mongolian Khan gelding again show his liking for Happy Valley with another brave performance.

“He’s acclimatised now and I have a feeling he’s that style of horse who really likes the Valley and can keep going through the classes because he’s got tactical speed and that makes it easier,” Hayes said.

“We’ll race him around here and probably keep him to a mile. He can go 1800 (metres) but he’s more impressive at the mile.”

Cody Mo and Luke Ferraris combined with Togepi, narrow winner of the first section of the Class 4 Kwun Tong Handicap (1200m) after Douglas Whyte’s patience with Double Show was rewarded when the Showcasing gelding snared the Class 5 Ngau Tau Kok Handicap (1000m) under Teetan. Rated 25 after 25 winless starts across three seasons, the five-year-old finished stoutly for breakthrough success.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (17 December).