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Jamie Richards continues hot run with Happy Valley double

April 20, 2023 at 3:48:42 AM

In the throes of a strong debut Hong Kong season, Jamie Richards continued to build impressive momentum by striking with his only two runners – Magniac and Sixth Generation – to notch a Happy Valley double on Wednesday night (19 April).

In the throes of a strong debut Hong Kong season, Jamie Richards continued to build impressive momentum by striking with his only two runners – Magniac and Sixth Generation – to notch a Happy Valley double on Wednesday night (19 April).

With six winners from only 21 runners for April so far, Richards has posted 27 winners from 235 runners for a strike rate of 11.4%, accelerating steadily after making a deliberately slow start to the season.

The New Zealander hopes Magniac, winner of the second section of the Class 3 Ho Man Tin Handicap (1200m) under Zac Purton, will develop into a quality galloper next season after the three-year-old claimed a HK$1 million PP Bonus as well as prize money of HK$983,250.

“He got a nice run, there was good pace in the race which suited him, a little bit of rain around doesn’t worry him, either, hopefully he can build on it,” Richards said. “He’s going to be a nice horse for next season. We won’t race him too much for the rest of the season.

“He’s got a little bit of upside, hopefully. He’s here, he’s acclimatised well and settled into life here very well. He’s a very good-looking horse, he eats well – he’s got a few things in his favour, so looking forward to the future.”

Sixth Generation gave Vincent Ho a brace as the Per Incanto gelding made it three wins from his last four starts, blitzing his rivals with a four-length victory in the second section of the Class 4 King’s Park Handicap (1650m).

“It was a really good run and a very good ride from barrier nine. Vincent made it look pretty straightforward, when it isn’t. He got in a lovely spot, he was able to cut the corner and he won really nicely. It’s good to see him going so well. I’m sure the handicapper won’t miss him, but we’ll see what happens,” Richards said.

Purton also notched a double and has 121 wins for the campaign, having also triumphed on Hong Kong International Sale graduate Gallant Hero, who justified trainer David Hall’s faith in the talented but wayward gelding with an emphatic win in the Class 5 Tsim Sha Tsui Handicap (1800m).

“He’s got his traits, but Zac executed the ride really well. The horse has shown that he’s got the ability to do it in Class 4 and hopefully that win will progress him a little bit more,” Hall said. “He’s fine-boned and athletic and you can see he can gallop.”

Francis Lui took his season’s tally to 39 wins to move back into the top five in the Hong Kong trainers’ championship with a brace, prevailing with High Rise Soldier and London Luckystar to have 39 wins for the season to trail John Size (52), Ricky Yiu (47), Frankie Lor (45) and Danny Shum (39).

High Rise Soldier slotted his second win this season with a driving finish to claim the first section of the Class 4 Mong Kok Handicap (1200m) under Ho. Dropping from Class 3 for only the second time in his 47-start Hong Kong career, High Rise Soldier made it two wins from as many Class 4 attempts despite shouldering 133lb.

London Luckystar unleashed a searing finish to win the Class 4 Hong Kong Rugby Union Cup Handicap (1650m) under Jerry Chau. Sidelined from last Saturday’s (15 April) Sha Tin meeting with a fever, Chau gave London Luckystar a perfect ride in third place before peeling into the clear to clinch his fourth win from 39 starts.

Shum struck with Nordic Dragon in the first section of the Class 3 Ho Man Tin Handicap (1200m) under Hugh Bowman. A HK$7 million purchase at the Hong Kong International Sale, the Starspangledbanner gelding posted his third win from six starts for Shum.

“He’s a nice horse,” Shum said. “It was a nice win. Hugh likes the horse. We are teaching him to switch off and hit the line – and he did it. He still needs some time to mature.”

Caspar Fownes marked his 24th win at Happy Valley this season with Victory Scholars’ success in the second section of the Class 4 Mong Kok Handicap (1200m) for Alfred Chan as Frankie Lor maintained hopes of a successful Hong Kong trainers’ championship defence with Sunshine Legendary’s win in the Class 5 Jordan Handicap under Derek Leung gave Lor his 45th victory of the season, to trail only John Size (52 wins) and Ricky Yiu (47).

Viva Hunter confirmed his liking for the city circuit with victory in the Class 3 Yau Ma Tei Handicap (1650m) for Manfred Man and Matthew Chadwick. A son of El Roca, Viva Hunter has recorded three of his four Hong Kong wins over 1650m at Happy Valley.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday (23 April).

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