Packing Dragon (117lb) lifted last year’s Million Challenge trophy and on Wednesday night took his all-time Happy Valley record to eight wins from 17 starts at the city venue. The tough grey fought the length of the home stretch to edge out 1.9 favourite Winner’s Way by a neck in the evening’s other Class 1, the Shan Kwong Handicap (1650m).
Apprentice Matthew Poon did the driving atop Ricky Yiu’s charge, a 7/1 chance in the field of six, who took his career earnings close to the HK$10 million mark. The Valley specialist is still on track for the Macau Hong Kong Trophy at Taipa next week.
“He only cost 170 or 180,000 dollars, New Zealand,” Yiu said. “The mare threw Ambitious Dragon so he seemed a good buy at that price and he’s done well for the owner. We only entered him tonight because it looked like being a small field and we thought he could pick up prize money – he’ll go to Macau and even though the 1500 (metres) will be short, he’s tough so he has a chance.”
Poon opened the night with a front-running win on the Richard Gibson-trained Winfull Patrol in the Class 5 over 1000m.
Pierre-Charles Boudot signed off his winter stint in Hong Kong with a victory aboard the David Ferraris-trained nine-year-old Sharp Hunter in race three. France’s former champion heads back to Europe with a respectable five wins on the board.
Trainer Caspar Fownes and jockey Zac Purton teamed to land race four with Smart Declaration; the next went to the Tony Millard-trained Sichaun Boss under Tommy Berry; Nash Rawiller was on the mark for the Shum stable aboard Sharp Sailor in race seven.
Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday, 25 February.
Packing Dragon battles to another Happy Valley success, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club