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Fownes dominates Happy Valley with four-timer in season-best display

April 7, 2023 at 3:03:39 AM

Revelling in his best haul of the season, Caspar Fownes posted a quartet at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (6 April) as the four-time Hong Kong champion trainer reaffirmed status as ‘King of the Valley’.

Revelling in his best haul of the season, Caspar Fownes posted a quartet at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (6 April) as the four-time Hong Kong champion trainer reaffirmed status as ‘King of the Valley’.

Determined to saddle the most winners at Happy Valley this season, Fownes was elated after victories by Loyal Ambition, The Hulk, Kokushi Musou and Winning Icey lifted him to 23 wins at the city circuit – one more than Francis Lui – for the season.

“About time, very happy. The horses have been running well. You’ve got to make each race count and we’ve done that tonight,” Fownes said. “I want to get my title back at The Valley, that’s all I want.”

But for Zac Purton’s guile and strength on Helene Feeling, who downed Fownes-trained Rocket Spade by a short head, the most successful trainer at Happy Valley in Hong Kong racing history would have had a quintet.

Fownes achieved his four-timer with four different jockeys – Vincent Ho, Luke Currie, Alexis Badel and Luke Ferraris.

Celebrating the stable’s most bountiful day since a five-timer on 20 June, 2021, Fownes was delighted with Currie’s ride aboard The Hulk in the second section of the Class 4 Kalanchoe Handicap (1650m).

“It’s nice to see him (Currie) get another winner. He rode one for me last Wednesday (29 March), so I’m glad to see him start to get more opportunities. It shows you that if you put him on a horse with some chances, he can get the job done so I’m very happy for Luke.”

Loyal Ambition was the first of Fownes’ string to salute, when Ho was rewarded for an adventurous mid-race move before winning the Class 5 Flamingo Flower Handicap (2200m) on Loyal Ambition.

“I’m very happy to have jockeys riding good races for me. I need all the help I can get, so it’s wonderful,” Fownes said.

Badel maintained Fownes’ momentum by prevailing on Kokushi Mosou in the second section of the Class 4 Oncidium Handicap (1200m) before Ferraris sealed a double with victory aboard Winning Icey in the Class 3 Primula Handicap (1200m).

“It’s lovely to get back into the winning groove again, it’s nice to keep the ball rolling,” Ferraris said after reaching 20 wins for the campaign.

John Size and Purton continued a powerful alliance with Zone D’s victory in the first section of the Class 3 Lavender Handicap (1650m). Size and Purton have accumulated 27 wins in tandem from 90 attempts this season.

Chasing a sixth Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, Purton piloted Danny Shum-trained Helene Feeling to victory in the Class 3 Lusitano Challenge Cup Handicap (1650m) to take his tally to 112 wins for the term.

A dual winner in England when he raced as Indian Dream for Michael Bell, Helene Feeling collected a HK$1 million PP Bonus for his victory tonight.

Son Pak Fu made it three in a row over Happy Valley’s 1200m circuit with success in the first section of the Class 4 Oncidium Handicap (1200m) for Benno Yung and Jerry Chau as Chris So’s decision to back up Strive For Glory after running fourth to The Good Deal at Sha Tin last Sunday (2 April) paid off when gelding blazed to an all-the-way win in the Class 5 Geranium Handicap (1000m) under Ferraris.

“He pulled up well, looked bright and ate well after he ran last Sunday, so I decided to start him,” said So, who improved his seasonal tally to 25 wins. “There was no reason not to start him and even from barrier 12, I wasn’t worried because the track is fair.”

Triumphant on the opening day of the season on 11 September, Strive For Glory now has two wins from 32 attempts.

Fresh from a Sha Tin double last weekend, Badel delivered a clever ride on Gang Of Brothers to land the first section of the Class 4 Kalanchoe Handicap (1650m) for Pierre Ng. Jumping from barrier one, Gang Of Brothers led early before sitting just off the speed and proving too strong.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (9 April) with G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) and Chairman’s Trophy (1600m).

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