One of Wednesday night’s more impressive performances came from Ricky Yiu’s debutant Speedy King, who won the Class 4 Our Pegasus Handicap (1000m) under jockey Neil Callan at Happy Valley in Hong Kong.
Before Speedy King, the last 52-rated galloper to win on debut over the Happy Valley 1000m was Mr Stunning in February 2016. Mr Stunning is now Hong Kong’s highest-rated horse after winning last Sunday’s G2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m).
Ricky Yiu’s first-starter Speedy King races to the lead in the shadows of the post to win the Class 4 Our Pegasus Handicap under Neil Callan.
“I don’t want to suggest he’ll go anywhere near those heights but he’s a professional,” Callan said. “His trials had suggested that he had a little bit of ability. He jumped a little slow, but I’d learnt from his trials that even when he wasn’t the best to begin, he mustered with plenty of natural speed. Tonight, he travelled up quite nicely behind the good speed and while it took him a while to get to the lead, I always thought he would get there.”
Two of Hong Kong’s former champion riders also earned plaudits. Douglas Whyte was at his front-running best aboard Cloud Nine in the Class 4 Very Well Handicap (1800m).
“That was vintage Whyte – that was the rider who won 13 championships,” Cloud Nine’s trainer Tony Millard said. “This horse is a Class 4 horse who just stays all day, but Dougie couldn’t have rated him much better – there were a couple of horses trying to apply pressure but he just gave them a lesson.”
Meanwhile, Zac Purton bookended the meeting, taking the Class 3 Billion Handicap (2200m) on Danny Shum-trained Happilababy before Yip’s Starlight made it four wins from his last five starts in the Class 3 Perfect Gear Handicap (1200m).
“Starlight’s racing well and it was a good win, but I felt he struggled to shoulder the weight tonight,” Purton said of the heavily-backed 1.8 favourite. “So it’s ideal that he won with enough in hand that he should go up in grade now, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him win at the bottom of Class 2 in his current form.”
Purton now sits on 21 wins for the season, three adrift of championship leader Joao Moreira.
Nash Rawiller took the night’s feature, the Class 4 Longines Cup Handicap (1200m), aboard Me Tsui-trained Look Eras, while David Hall declared Matthew Poon’s ride on Happy And Healthy “his ride of the season to date” after the Fastnet Rock seven-year-old won the Class 4 Flying Elite Handicap (1650m).
Racing returns to Happy Valley on Sunday for a rare day meeting at the city track, with the first scheduled for 1pm.