First Hong Kong success for Gold Land

Gold Land notched an overdue first Hong Kong win in Wednesday evening's Class 3 Residents’ Service Handicap (1650m) at Happy Valley. Tony Cruz’s charge arrived in Hong Kong from the UK with a Listed win under his belt but had shown little in eight starts since, most recently when last of 12 at the course and distance two weeks ago.

Gold Land (4) earns a first Hong Kong success under Sam Clipperton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

“It’s about time,” Cruz said as he watched a re-run of the 20/1 shot’s breakthrough score under Sam Clipperton. “I don’t have high expectations; he might be able to win in Class 2. The jockey gave him a perfect ride, just like I told him – sit handy on the rail and wait for the straight. It was a perfect ride.”

Nash Rawiller took his season’s tally to five wins with an early brace. The Australian ace took out the Class 5 opener, a 1000m dash, aboard the Danny Shum-trained Sparkling Talent (10/1), and landed the third, a 1200m Class 4 contest, for the Benno Yung stable atop the 3.3 favourite Love Chunghwa.

Dennis Yip, out of town at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale, snared a race-to-race double. Derek Leung delivered the handler’s Ho Ho Feel (6/1) to win the night’s fourth contest, the Class 3 Employees’ Service Handicap (1800m), by a neck. One race later, Eddy Lai produced the 19/1 shot Gentry (120lb) with a late rattle to pip Speedy Wally (127lb) by a head in the Class 4 International Passenger Service Handicap (1650m).

Derek Cruz has made a good start to the campaign. The handler has only 26 horses in his stable but notched his third and fourth wins of the term. Bottom-weight Happy Fiery Dragon (13/1) benefited from Dylan Mo’s 7lb allowance to take section one of the Class 4 Kwoon Chung Bipenggou Tourism Service Handicap (1200m). And in the last, another featherweight, Good Companion (9/1), dug deep in the stretch run to repel all-comers under 5lb claimer Jack Wong.

Hong Kong racing resumes at Sha Tin on Saturday, 14 October.

Jack Wong drives Good Companion to victory in the last to give trainer Derek Cruz a double, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club