Packing Dragon may never have a record to match his half-brother, two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon, but trainer Ricky Yiu says that the grey is talented enough to be recognised in his own right after he recorded his fourth win for the 2016/17 term in the Class 2 Cornwall Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (10 May).
Chad Schofield punches out Ricky Yiu-trained Packing Dragon (inside) to win the Class 2 Cornwall Handicap
Packing Dragon won two Class 3 races over the Happy Valley 1800m and a Class 1 over the city track’s 1650m earlier in the season to take out the Happy Valley Million Challenge, stamping himself as a true track specialist at the urban course.
He stepped out at Sha Tin last time out, finishing seventh in the 2200m Class 2 handicap won by Beauty Generation that served as the primary lead-up to the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m). However, Yiu says that the return to Happy Valley was always going to be in his favour, despite Packing Dragon having to carry top weight of 132 pounds.
“He’s a better horse at the Valley, there’s no doubt,” Yiu said. “He’s a lovely horse though, he might be over 100 now but he’s deserved it. What a season he’s had.”
Jockey Chad Schofield settled the 6.5 third favourite Packing Dragon outside the leader What Else But You from gate 12. After engaging in a tremendous stretch duel with John Size-trained Big Bang Bong for much of the straight, favourite Friends Of Ka Ying emerged as a threat down the outside, but neither could pass Packing Dragon, with the tenacious Mastercraftsman gelding recording a neck victory.
Yiu said the switch back to Schofield was a big positive for the five-year-old.
“Chad, he knows him so well,” he said. “He only rode him once in a race but he won, and then in the trial they were first there too. There’s something about him that clicks with this horse. I thought with that weight, maybe I should put a claimer on, but I thought Chad was a better option and I booked him three weeks ago.
“I think that will be it for Packing Dragon for the year, he’s had a long and hard season. He’s exciting though, and I think that he might be even better again next season. He’s only a five-year-old. The whole stable, they love him, he’s their pin-up boy.”
Schofield’s win on Packing Dragon brought up a double for the rider. He earlier won a race for Ambitious Dragon’s former trainer Tony Millard, taking the second section of the Class 4 Lancashire Handicap (1200m) aboard Resplendent Glory.
Star Witness gelding Resplendent Glory (132lb) had won at his first start for Millard last month, cruising to a length and a half victory. On the back of that win, he was sent out a 2.1 favourite and he never looked in doubt, racing away to score by two and three-quarter lengths.
“I wasn’t as confident tonight, though,” Millard said. “It’s always difficult for horses to improve on their first run, but he did it. Maybe he was a little bit flattered, he got a nice trail behind a hot speed and burnt them off, but all you can do is win and he did that. It was a good ride by Chad.”