Per­fect Glory for Cas­par Fownes

The New Paper - - RACING -

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

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