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Fallon underlines Four-Year-Old Classic Series hopes with brilliant Sha Tin win

January 15, 2024 at 4:49:52 AM

Virtually unheralded until last month, Fallon has swept into Four-Year-Old Classic Series calculations with a stunning win in the Class 3 Tin Shui Wai Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (13 January) as Pierre Ng extended a growing domination with a treble.

Virtually unheralded until last month, Fallon has swept into Four-Year-Old Classic Series calculations with a stunning win in the Class 3 Tin Shui Wai Handicap (1600m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (13 January) as Pierre Ng extended a growing domination with a treble.

Third-last as the field turned into the straight, Fallon (117lb) unleashed a now familiar surge to cut down higher-rated opposition in a race restricted solely to four-year-olds – many of whom are being set for the HK$52 million Four-Year-Old Classic Series which features the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) on 4 February, the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on 3 March and the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 24 March.

Cruz immediately confirmed Keith Yeung would retain the ride on Fallon – the first of Galileo Gold’s progeny to run in Hong Kong – after the pair had also combined last month in a 68/1 success, also over 1600m.

“So far, so good. Looks like we’ll stick to the jockey, too, as he knows the horse very well and he has Classic Mile potential for sure,” Cruz said. “I’ll aim for that kind of race. Even though he’s rated so low (65 before today’s win), I’m still going for that race.

“He’ll have one more run before that, but I’ve got to find a race for him. I think this horse is still maturing and doing everything very nice. He’s a very happy horse. He’ll be fitter and better and can go further for sure, maybe all the way to the Derby.”

Yeung is confident Fallon, who won his only start in Ireland over 1600m at Punchestown before failing to finish inside the top 10 in his first three Hong Kong starts, can continue to make significant improvement.

“I like him a lot. Like last time, he came from an impossible place to win the race. He’s just so impressive, he’s still green, a big baby – he’s got a lot to learn and I believe there is still a lot in him,” Yeung said.

“I’m not so sure what Tony is planning but it feels to me he is over a 100-rating horse. I just asked Tony if I can ride him in the Derby.”

Fallon earned a PP Bonus of HK$1.5 million in addition to prizemoney of HK$1.148 million for today’s win.

Fallon’s continued emergence came as Galaxy Patch (123lb) swept to a resounding success in the Class 2 Pok Oi Cup Handicap (1200m), clocking a slick 1m 08.68s in downing Gummy Gummy (119lb) by one and a half lengths with Lucky Encounter (120lb) and claiming HK$1.5 million PP Bonus for his owners.

“He’s a very honest horse and very professional. Today, he has learned how to settle down, which is a good sign, but he’s still learning,” Ng said. “He’s doing everything right at the moment. He was a little slow at the start, but he’s a big horse, and maybe he needs a bit of time to get out of the gate. Other than that, I’m over the moon with him.”

Ng, who leads the trainers’ championship with 44 wins from Francis Lui (29), said he had yet to decide whether to target the Hong Kong Classic Mile with Galaxy Patch.

“We’ll have to see what we do in the next 24 hours. I’ll talk to Karis. We need a 1400m race before we can go any further than that. We’re running out of time, so we’ll see what happens and then make a decision. I wouldn’t mind keeping him sprinting, and there’s a race coming up on 12 February, but we’ll know much more in the next 24 hours.”

Ng also prevailed with I Give and Super Commander.

Ng described I Give’s feat of winning six races this season from seven starts as “amazing” after the gelding led throughout in the Class 3 Tai Tong Handicap (1200m) under Andrea Atzeni.

Ng attributed the five-year-old’s stunning consistency to Conghua’s relaxing environment and world-class facilities.

“That’s the interesting point – he hasn’t been showing that he’s tired or anything like that going into a race – and he loves Conghua. He just came back on Thursday and he’ll be leaving Monday (15 January),” Ng said.

“At this stage, I’m very happy and the stable is very happy.”

Short course specialist Super Commander proved too slick in the Class 4 Lau Fau Shan Handicap (1000m), clocking 57.05s under Teetan as Ng tightened his grip on the trainers’ championship.

Holy Lake (135lb) paraded Classic Series credentials by winning the Class 4 Ping Shan Handicap (1600m) for Francis Lui and Vincent Ho before Ricky Yiu’s outstanding week continued with Volcanic Spark’s success in the Class 4 Nam Sang Wai Handicap (1400m) under Hugh Bowman.

With a treble at Happy Valley on 10 January, Yiu now has 21 wins for the campaign.

Manfred Man’s Tsuen Wan Glory prevailed in the Class 5 Hung Shui Kiu Handicap (1400m) under Matthew Chadwick before Lui and Ho combined with Second To None to clinch the second section of the Class 4 Lam Tei Handicap (1200m).

Harry Bentley joined forces with Dennis Yip to win the first section of the Class 4 Lam Tei Handicap (1200m) with another lightly-raced gelding, Run Run Timing, while Jimmy Ting closed the meeting in triumph with Amazing Duck, who landed the Class 3 Yuen Long Handicap (1400m) for Matthew Poon.

Hong Kong racing continues on Wednesday night (17 January) at Happy Valley.

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