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Pierre Ng hits 100 Hong Kong wins as Taj Dragon strikes for Ellis Wong

May 20, 2024 at 4:07:44 AM

Pierre Ng swept to his 100th Hong Kong winner and Ellis Wong notched his most important success when Taj Dragon forged to victory in the Class 1 Racing Heritage Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (19 May).

In only his second season as a trainer, Ng took 1,033 runners across 159 meetings to reach a mark achieved faster by only John Size (113 meetings), Frankie Lor (137) and Ivan Allan (144) – to enhance hopes of landing the 2023/24 championship.

Ng leads this season’s trainer standings with 59 wins from Francis Lui (56), Ricky Yiu (47), John Size (45), Tony Cruz (44), David Hayes (44), Caspar Fownes (44) and Danny Shum (43).

“For a new team to win 100 races in two seasons is amazing. It's well deserved for the team and I'm very happy with what we're doing,” Ng said. “We don't think about the 100 (wins) too much, we just tick along and try and get some more winners. Now, we can look for the next 100 maybe in the next two seasons.”

Posting his sixth course and distance victory, Taj Dragon (126lb) was ridden quietly by Wong, whose seven-pound claim proved decisive in staving off Atullibigeal (122lb) by a short head in 1m 21.56s.

“He (Taj Dragon) has won a few already this season and he got another one today, so it's just brilliant. We thought it would be like a trial for him and if the weather was like it was, I just told Ellis to be patient in the straight and build him up. Luckily, we got to the front and got the result,” Ng said.

“He always travels so well. He keeps winning more and more and hopefully he can win a few more for us this season.”

Pierre Ng continues to lead the Hong Kong trainers’ championship.
Pierre Ng continues to lead the Hong Kong trainers’ championship.
Ng will set Taj Dragon, who won three two-year-old races in England for Karl Burke as Taj Alriyadh, for the G3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (1600m).

Wong, 23, was delighted with the with the gelding’s latest win.

“It’s my first Class 1. He’s a pretty nice horse. There were only six horses in the race and he got cover and the pace was comfortable for him and I thought he could win the race and he sprinted really well,” Wong said. “He tries really hard and I’m really happy.”

Hugh Bowman took riding honours with a treble aboard The Winnabe, Sky Trust and Hong Kong International Sale graduate Patch Of Theta to snare his first three-timer since 3 March and take his season tally to 55 wins.

“I had a few nice rides. I thought a couple of my horses ran under par, but certainly the first starter (The Winnabe) was no surprise for him to do what he did, Patch Of Theta was no surprise either – I thought he was my best ride for the day – and Sky Trust has got scope for more in store,” Bowman said.

“I’m just delighted to have a few winners, I’ve been chipping away, going well but it’s my first multiple-win day for a while.”

The Winnabe makes an impressive debut.
The Winnabe makes an impressive debut.
Size-trained The Winnabe downed fellow first-starter Super Infinity to claim the Class 4 Racing Passion Handicap (1200m).

“Nice horse – very natural. He was aided by an advantageous draw (barrier two) today, but his trials have been good. He’s very sensible. We didn’t know what we were going to get when we asked for an effort but the response was very encouraging,” Bowman said.

Bowman made it a double with three-year-old Sky Trust’s victory for Caspar Fownes in the Class 4 Sha Tin Clubhouse Handicap (1400m) before closing the meeting in style with Patch Of Theta’s triumph in the Class 3 Beijing Clubhouse Handicap (1400m).

Derek Leung also had a fruitful afternoon, scoring aboard Jimmy Ting-trained Glory Elite in the Class 4 Racing Club Handicap (1200m) and Frankie Lor’s impressive Voyage Samurai, who continued an excellent season by winning the Class 3 Members Cup Handicap (1600m).

By Dissident, Voyage Samurai improved his career record to three wins and two seconds from five starts before Strathpeffer slotted his first win at his 19th start for Douglas Whyte by clinching the Class 4 Beas River Country Club Handicap (1400m) under Matthew Chadwick.

Full Credit continued to make strong progress for Mark Newnham by leading all the way under Lyle Hewitson in the Class 3 Levade Handicap (1200m) after Satirical Glory struck for David Hayes and Zac Purton in the Class 4 Hilltop In The Valley Handicap (1800m).

Mr Good Vibes provided David Hall’s stable with its fourth winner from 11 starts with breakthrough success under Karis Teetan in the Class 5 Ownership Pride Handicap (1200m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 May).

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