Chris So pulled off an uncommon double when feather-weighted Catchmeifyoucan (109lb) won Happy Valley’s opening contest on Wednesday, three days after stable mate Top Beautiful carried off Sha Tin’s first race of the 2017/18 season.
Matthew Poon drives Catchmeifyoucan (10) to success for trainer Chris So in Happy Valley’s first race of 2017/18.
“There was no plan to win both races other than we went into both knowing the horses were fit enough and hoping we’d have some luck,” So said.
“If they come good, I’ll push, and if they’re not ready we’ll be patient – that’s my style – and this horse and the horse at Sha Tin on Sunday were both ready to go.”
Catchmeifyoucan, a 5.9 chance, showed little in nine races last season, his best previous effort being his last, a five-length seventh to Rewarding Flyer over 1400m at Sha Tin in June. That put him into tonight’s opener, the Class 5 Cheung Hong Handicap (1200m), on an official mark of 23, fully 29 points lower than his debut last November. And, with gun apprentice Matthew Poon claiming a further 7lb, the gelding’s stars aligned: Catchmeifyoucan kicked to the front in the home stretch and held runner-up Great Toplight (131lb) by a short-head.
“The horse is fit and healthy, and Matthew did a good job there from a decent draw (gate 6),” So said. “Catchmeifyoucan is limited, every time last season when I thought he had a chance, he was no good; but his last run last season was okay. This year, I said to the owner, maybe being a year older and stronger he might be better. He’s dropped in the ratings and he’s fit, he’s feeling good but he’s limited, he’s never shown us anything special, so time will tell.”
Trainer Ricky Yiu and jockey Sam Clipperton opened their accounts for the term when teaming with 14/1 shot Bo Duke to win the night’s second race, the Class 4 Hing Man Handicap (1650m).
Trainer Caspar Fownes and jockey Zac Purton got off the mark for the campaign when Speedy Wally defied top-weight of 133lb to win the Class 5 Hung Fuk Handicap (1650m).
Hong Kong racing resumes at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday, 10 September.