With his good friend Aldo Domeyer setting Kenilworth alight, fellow Cape rider Grant van Niekerk notched his 14th winner of the Hong Kong season at Sha Tin on Saturday.
He aided trainer Ricky Yiu’s blistering start to the season with a second treble for the conditioner in as many meetings.
The premiership leader’s Villa Fionn shifted wide on the track and rattled home from deep to win the Class 4 Chevalier E & M Engineering Handicap (1600m) under Matthew Chadwick.
Simple Elegant followed-up for Yiu in the Class 4 Chevalier Healthcare Investment Handicap (1400m), taking the handler’s running total to 19. Grant van Niekerk guided the gelding home..
Treble-scoring Vincent Ho drove home Yiu’s Preciousship in the Class 3 Chevalier Property Development & Operations Handicap (1600m).
Ho and Francis Lui make a fairly formidable team nowadays. The jockey and trainer combined for their eighth win together this season when the talented Golden Sixty took his haul to six wins from seventh starts with another impressive success.
The probable Four-Year-Old Classic Series contender was a length and a quarter too good for his 13 rivals despite shouldering top-weight in the Class 2 Chevalier Property Investment Handicap (1400m).
“He carried 133lb so it wasn’t as easy as before, he felt it today, but he ran a good time and he was relaxed enough, he didn’t use much early and I’m happy the way he raced,” Ho said.
“He definitely feels like a Classic Mile horse and we’re aiming that way.”
Ho will join Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan as Hong Kong’s representatives in the 2019 LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship on Wednesday 4 December, when 12 top class jockeys will clash at Happy Valley to battle for the title.
But back to Golden Sixty – Lui is considering running his gelding next in a Class 2 over the course and distance on 15 December.
“He has an option over 1400m here next month and that’s the only option at the distance on the grass, then we’d look to the Classic Mile,” he said.
In the same race, former SA Classic winner Lobo’s Legend finished over 5 lengths behind the winner and out of the money.
Ho and Lui bagged an earlier victory when Elite Patch drew clear for an easy four-length win in the Class 3 Chevalier Environmental Engineering Handicap (1200m) on the dirt.
Aquila was another smart winner on the dirt. Jimmy Ting’s charge took the Class 3 Chevalier Lifts & Escalators Handicap (1200m) by two and a quarter lengths under Chad Schofield.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 27 November.
- Hong Kong Jockey Club