Trainer David Hall praised the consistency of hardy gallopers Super Turbo and Victory Boys after the pair won at Happy Valley on Wednesday night giving the handler his fourth double of the season and his first at the city track.
Super Turbo (123lb) landed the Class 2 France Galop Cup Handicap (1200m), the second of two trophy races on the Gallic-themed card, storming home off a strong tempo to score a length victory under Joao Moreira.
The four-year-old has now won three of his 12 starts in Hong Kong, all over the Happy Valley 1200m, since arriving from Ireland, where he raced as Snowy Scene. However, Hall lauded the grey’s reliability.
“What an honest horse he is,” Hall said about the grey. “He just keeps turning up, he loves this place. Everyone thought he needed it soft, he probably does too, but he’s been here long enough now, he’s toughened up, he’s adjusted to the tracks and he’s come out on a Good To Firm tonight and done that.”
Super Turbo was dropping back from 1650m to 1200m and relished the strong mid-race sectionals set by three-year-olds Premiere and Sea Jade. Moreira rode him in the second half of the field, swooping around the field on the turn and sprinting sharply to win his first race in Class 2.
“You can’t ride him for speed, you just have to let him settle where he’s comfortable,” Hall said. “He’s got a great turn of foot on him, and when he gets to display it, he’s something. It was a top ride from Joao.”
Earlier, Hall’s Victory Boys (122lb) stayed on strongly to take the Class 3 Longchamp Racecourse Handicap (1800m), giving Australian jockey Sam Clipperton his 35th win of the term.
Victory Boys took 10 starts and a drop into Class 5 before winning his first Hong Kong race in April last year. However, at his 10 runs since, he has not missed a placing with four wins, four seconds and two thirds at both courses, and over 1650m, 1800m and 2200m.
However, Hall believes that Victory Boys has shown obvious signs of maturity over the past 13 months.
“The term ‘model of consistency’ – it’s not just Super Turbo, it applies to Victory Boys as well,” Hall said. “It’s been a great season for him, he finished off last year really well and he seems to have matured mentally now. He used to get very hot in the paddock, he certainly still gets hot by the time he gets to the gates but he’s markedly better than he was.”
The trainer pointed to some strong form references for the Mastercraftsman five-year-old, including two horses with Group-class form now in the book.
“He keeps turning up, he’s run into some really good horses too,” Hall said. “He’s run second to Packing Dragon and Dinozzo this season, for example, and we’ve seen what they’ve gone on to achieve. He really deserved another win, so it was great to see him get that.”