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Ellis Wong celebrates Hong Kong landmark with a double

March 14, 2024 at 3:44:25 AM

Ellis Wong celebrated a significant milestone in his fledgling career at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (13 March) when the apprentice exploited his 10lb claim to maximum effect with a double on Happy Horse and Moments in Time.

Ellis Wong celebrated a significant milestone in his fledgling career at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (13 March) when the apprentice exploited his 10lb claim to maximum effect with a double on Happy Horse and Moments in Time.

Wong, 23, made the most of his opportunities by striking in tandem with Manfred Man when Happy Horse prevailed in the Class 5 Ap Lei Chau Handicap (1000m) before sealing his first double when Chilean Group 1 winner Moments In Time swept to victory in the Class 3 Peng Chau Handicap (1800m).

“It feels amazing. Thanks to Danny and Manfred for their support,” Wong said. “I’m very happy.

“Moments In Time was really strong, we had a good pace and he followed really nicely and he won easily. It’s a great night.”

Indentured to four-time Hong Kong champion Caspar Fownes, Wong returned to Hong Kong last season after riding 88 winners in South Australia, highlighted by a quartet at Gawler in 7 January.

Wong was in the best of company tonight, matching the feats of three senior jockeys who also produced braces – six-time champion Zac Purton, Brenton Avdulla and Harry Bentley – while Mark Newnham took training honours with a double.

Purton boosted his tally of wins for the 2023/24 season to 79 to sit 29 clear of Karis Teetan (50) in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship after victories on Copartner Prance and Raging Blizzard, who continued a strong season with his fourth win of the preparation with success in the first section of the Class 3 Cheung Chau Handicap (1200m) for John Size.

Rated 55 at the start of the season, the Per Incanto gelding was dominant under 135lb at the top of Class 3 at his seventh start of a productive campaign which has seen the four-year-old earn HK$4.6 million and rise to 79 (pre-race) in the handicap.

Purton also combined with Francis Lui’s Copartner Prance in the second section of the Class 4 Green Island Handicap (1200m).

Douglas Whyte-trained King Eccellente overcame barrier 12 and unwound a powerful finish to land the Class 3 Ireland Trophy Handicap (1200m) under a strong ride from Harry Bentley.

“He obviously had a really wide draw, which was always going to make things difficult but we got a nice run, actually – three-wide but with cover,” Bentley said. “He travelled like a dream, actually, and it was just a matter of letting him down and he really picked up for me.
“Good training performance, as well.”

Bentley sealed a double aboard Mark Newnham’s Show Respect in the Class 4 Ma Wan Handicap (1650m) – also securing a brace for Newnham.

Riding with supreme confidence after winning the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on Tony Cruz-trained California Spangle last Sunday (10 March), Brenton Avdulla struck aboard Master Of Luck for Newnham in the Class 5 Lamma Island Handicap (1650m).

Avdulla closed the meeting victoriously when he teamed with Cruz’s Beauty Charge in the Class 2 Soko Islands Handicap (1200m) to have 22 wins for the season.

Resuming from suspension, Matthew Poon took only two rides to strike, scoring with Cody Mo’s Happy Fat Cat in the second section of the Class 3 Cheung Chau Handicap (1200m) to slot his ninth win of the season.

“I had two long suspensions and, at the beginning of the season, I think I missed the kick – I didn’t have too many rides,” Poon said. “So, it was pretty tough.

“But now, everything is going the right way and slowly getting better. Thanks to Cody and the owners for trusting me. The owners have given me great support with the ride, and not only with the horses, but they have also given me mental support, so I’m very pleased for the owners.

“I’m very happy to win on this horse.”

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday (16 March).

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