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Encountered lands G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse for Manfred Man, Derek Leung

November 6, 2023 at 3:49:17 AM

Manfred Man will consider adding Encountered to his LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) arsenal after the under-rated stayer triumphed in the HK$4.2 million G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (5 November).

Manfred Man will consider adding Encountered to his LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) arsenal after the under-rated stayer triumphed in the HK$4.2 million G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (5 November).

Posting his seventh win from 19 starts in Hong Kong, Encountered (128lb) prevailed by a length-and-a-quarter over Champion Dragon (115lb) and La City Blanche (115lb) – in a nine horse field comprised entirely of LONGINES HKIR entrants – in a sedate 1m 47.40s

Man, who also handles the world’s top-ranked sprinter and leading G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) contender Lucky Sweynesse, was guarded over where Encountered, an Irish-bred son of Churchill, would head next.

“I will look at the programme first, I don’t know yet,” Man said in response to whether either the G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) or the G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin November were viable options.

“I think he could handle 2000 metres – the horse makes me feel excited. He’s an easy horse to train. I think he will still improve.”

Leung posted his fourth win from six starts on Encountered.

“The horse has been very honest to me, I tried to be in the first three in the race in the running,” Leung said. “The leader (last year’s winner Money Catcher) was a good horse to follow because he never stops. I just had to get my horse to relax, keep the momentum and keep going. He did a good job and he’s still improving.”

Second last-start to California Spangle in the G2 Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m), Encountered was given a facile passage in running by Leung, who angled to the outside of Money Catcher at the 400m and gradually edged clear to resist Tony Cruz-trained pair Champion Dragon and La City Blanche.

Given the run of the race, Encountered rushed over the final 400m in a race-best of 23.04s to give both Man and Leung their first wins in the feature. The winner of five races last season, Encountered blossomed after finishing ninth in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) in March behind Voyage Bubble.

Karis Teetan took the undercard honours with a treble aboard Wunderbar, Winning Data and Global Harmony to have 14 winners for the season to trail only Zac Purton (21) and Hugh Bowman (20).

Teetan’s first success of the day was courtesy of 12-time champion John Size, who unveiled an eye-catching talent with three-year-old Wunderbar’s success in the Class 4 Kate Tokyo Handicap (1000m) for Karis Teetan. Clocking 56.29s, the Rich Enuff gelding’s debut left a positive impression on Teetan.

“With Mr Size, you never know what you’re going to get on, right?” Teetan mused. “It’s just good to ride for him. I’ve been 11 seasons and he’s given me a lot of support. I picked this horse out and he gave me a different feel today – the gate opened and he just knew it was business.

“When Zac’s horse (Multisuper) came next to me, some horses can sort of give up, but he sort of found a bit more encouragement himself and went with it. He’s a nice horse.”

Winning Data, a Capitalist gelding, broke through for Ricky Yiu and Teetan in the Class 4 La Colline Handicap (1400m) before the ‘Mauritian Magician’ delivered Hayes-trained Global Harmony with a well-timed surge in the Class 3 La Estephe Handicap (1200m).

Hayes and Lyle Hewitson combined with Wide Blue Yonder to land the Class 4 Canmake Tokyo Handicap (1600m) before Alexis Badel piloted Happy Together to victory in the Class 2 Eleanor Handicap (1600m) for Frankie Lor, while Size and Purton teamed up with Pins Prince’s victory in the Class 4 Suisse Programme Handicap (1400m).

Oozing confidence following a Happy Valley treble last Wednesday, Angus Chung made it four wins from eight rides when Me Tsui’s Beat Hollow won the Class 5 L’Oreal Paris Handicap (1400m) before Pierre Ng-trained I Give made it four wins in a row with success in the Class 4 Grace One Handicap (1200m) under Andrea Atzeni.

“He’s been wonderful. He keeps improving each run and he’s running very promising sections as well. He’s fit and healthy, so we will keep going and hopefully he can win a fifth,” Ng said.

Ng and Chung closed the meeting in style with Drombeg Banner’s success in the Class 3 Neogence Handicap (1400m), defeating Green N White by a short head with the same margin to Beauty Fit.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (8 November).

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