Perfect Glory for Caspar Fownes
Trainer rates 17-1 shot as a horse with a decent future
Perfect Glory shrugged off a hefty barge close home in the Class 3 Citi Sprint Challenge Cup Handicap over 1,200m at Happy Valley on Wednesday night to maintain an exemplary record and help trainer Caspar Fownes to a treble.
The rare demotion of not one but two winners for interference at Sha Tin on Sunday meant that there was a herewe-go-again sigh from the crowd when a line of six contenders bunched and bumped inside the final 100 metres of the night’s trophy race.
This time, though, the winner was beyond reproach. Perfect Glory’s momentum powered him through the trouble to pass the post first under Chad Schofield.
“I established a run early in the straight and while I was in that run I got the interference —it actually twisted my horse’s hind quarters and directed me out,” said Schofield.
“Luckily, I was coming through that run at such a quick rate that I skipped on through and he ended up winning quite comfortably. He was very relaxed in the run and he was very strong the last 200m.”
It was a winning Hong Kong debut for 17/1 shot Perfect Glory, whose preimport record in Australia stands at three wins from three runs.
“It was a good effort first up, especially over a distance that’s a bit sharp for him,” said Fownes.
“We’re very happy, he’s a nice horse and he looks to have a decent future—he’ll take a lot of benefit from that first run.
“He’s got a big engine. He’s proved that today and, hopefully, we can keep going forward.”
Fownes teamed with his former apprentice Vincent Ho to bookend the card. Ho continued his fine form with an all-the-way win on the lightlyweighted Po Ching Treasure in the Class 4 opener, and made it seven wins for the campaign when The Judge nicked the finale by a nose.
“I felt he was going to get there until the last 100 (metres) — he wasn’t giving me the same feeling and it was hard but he got there,” said Ho of The Judge.
“I’m getting a lot of support from trainers — the boss, Francis (Lui), Me Tsui, Manfred (Man) and David Hall. That gives me confidence and every summer when I go to Europe I learn something else — I keep improving.”
It was a night of close calls with three races decided by a short head or less.
But in Hong Kong, dead-heats don’t come along too often, so when The Show’s muzzle dipped as Regency Honey’s rose in the final stride of the night’s second contest, the Valley crowd drew a collective gasp.
The slow-motion replay suggested a dead heat and the board confirmed it.
“It doesn’t get any tighter,” said Zac Purton, jockey of Regency Honey.
“I wasn’t sure if I won because we hit the line with our heads out of sync — his was coming down.”
Jockey Eddy Lai, jockey of The Show, said: “I thought I’d won but, after the finish, I asked Zac and he said he’d won, so then I waited to see.”
At the top end of the jockeys’ premiership, Purton maintained a three-win gap over Karis Teetan. The champion sealed a double aboard the Michael Chang-trained Saul’s Special in the Class 2 Verbena Handicap (1000m). — HKJC