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Victor The Winner continues excellent debut season

April 18, 2023 at 3:02:22 AM

Consolidating status at the forefront of Hong Kong’s band of emerging young sprinters, Victor The Winner might have earned a tilt at Group 3 level after a courageous victory in the Class 2 Nurturing Talent Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (15 April).

Consolidating status at the forefront of Hong Kong’s band of emerging young sprinters, Victor The Winner might have earned a tilt at Group 3 level after a courageous victory in the Class 2 Nurturing Talent Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (15 April).

Trainer Danny Shum said the Toronado four-year-old could be aimed at the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on 4 June after slotting his fifth win from seven starts in a maiden campaign which has seen the gelding’s rating shoot from 52 to 93 before today’s triumph.

With an eye to the future, Shum’s first priority is to rejuvenate the lightly-built speedster before he returns.

“He needs more rest, actually. Not just four weeks, he needs seven or eight weeks this horse – he’s not a big horse. He needs more time to recover and to be more powerful. But he’s okay, he’s obviously got talent,” Shum said.

“He might have one more race in the Group 3 (in June). We will see how he recovers and we will decide what to do.”

Victor The Winner (128lb) continued a busy campaign with a courageous performance to hold off the talented Howdeepisyourlove (119lb) by half a length in 1m 08.80s, with Oriental Smoke (122lb) third, giving Shum his 38th win of the season and Purton a treble in a race crammed with talent.

With 119 wins for the term, Purton leads the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship by 56 from Vincent Ho (63) and the Australian was impressed with Victor The Winner’s application as Howdeepisyourlove charged late despite covering ground.

“Very good effort, obviously up in weight a little bit today but fortunately we were able to get away clean and control the race. We had a little bit of pressure put on me too far from home, so I was trying to cuddle him and, to be fair, he was out on his feet the last 50-75 metres,” Purton said.

“So, for him to back up as quickly as he as and to perform like that again, it’s good but we’ll now give him a bit more time until the next race.”

Shum last claimed the Sha Tin Vase with Lucky Year in 2017.

Purton also teamed with John Size and another promising young sprinter, Golden Express, impressive winner of the Class 3 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Trophy Handicap (1200m).

“He only had one race (winning a Maiden in Australia by five and a half lengths) before he got here, so I suppose he’s done pretty well. He looks like he’s better than Class 3, the heavy weight (135lb) didn’t impede his progress so we’ll just soldier on,” 11-time Hong Kong champion trainer Size said.

Purton produced a typically unflappable ride on Benno Yung-trained Hyper Dragon Ball to land the Class 3 Healthy Community Handicap (1400m) as Alfred Chan became the beneficiary of Jerry Chau’s illness when War Of Courage triumphed in the Class 4 Positive Ageing Handicap (1400m) for Manfred Man, who celebrated his 30th win of the campaign. Chau was sidelined on race morning because of a fever.

Bounced straight to the lead by Luke Ferraris, Apex Top benefited from a clever ride to win the first section of the Class 5 Racing For Charity Handicap (1400m) for Douglas Whyte.

“He’s improved substantially just being in a different environment,” Whyte said on notching his stable’s 30th win of the season. “He’s a happy horse and I’m just glad to get a win out of him for the owners, they’ve been very patient. I think the way he won today would suggest he could win another race. He’s a healthy horse and he’s really thriving on his new environment.”

Sporting the white, blue and yellow colours famed by Golden Sixty, Golden Samurai upstaged his rivals to land the Class 4 JC Volunteer Together Handicap (1200m) for Francis Lui and Vincent Ho.

Raced in the same interests as eight-time Group 1 victor Golden Sixty, Golden Samurai is by Pride Of Dubai out of Nazca, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro – the sire of Golden Sixty.

“I’m a little bit surprised,” Lui said. “He raced like he wanted further at his first start, but he did a good job,” Lui said.

Lui and Ho combined for a double when Forever Glorious outstayed Gold Tack to clinch the Class 4 Beijing Clubhouse Anniversary Cup Handicap (1800m).

“I am a bit surprised. I knew he had a chance. He had a light weight (119lb), a good pace and he was able to win,” Lui said, taking his tally to 37 wins for the term.

Hong Kong International Sale graduate Maximize Heart returned to the winners’ list for the first time March, 2022 with victory for Hugh Bowman in the second section of the Class 5 Caring Community Handicap (1400m) under Hugh Bowman.

Wide Blue Yonder erased David Hayes’ frustrations with a dogged win in the second section of the Class 4 Empowering Youth Handicap (1400m) under Lyle Hewitson.

“He hasn’t had much luck lately, but Lyle Hewitson took the luck out of it today,” Hayes said.
Ricky Yiu and Alexis Badel, the BMW Hong Kong Derby-winning partnership, combined with Powerful Wings to take out the Class 3 Advancing Sports & Culture Handicap (1600m).

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (19 April).

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