A Happy First For Aussie Thompson!

Happy Valley action on Wednesday

Ben Thompson jubilated in his breakthrough Hong Kong success at Happy Valley on Wednesday, and described his win on Courier Magic as ‘an amazing result’ as the Australian’s patience and resolve was finally rewarded.

Undeterred after 48 fruitless previous outings, Thompson snared his first Hong Kong win aboard Jamie Richards’ charge, triumphing at 40/1 in the Class 5 Kwoon Chung Cross Boundary Service Handicap (1650m).

Ben Thompson celebrates his Hong Kong breakthrough (Pic – HKJC)

Adding to a career tally of 800 wins accumulated in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, Thompson was elated – and relieved – after the victory.

“It’s taken a couple of weeks to wait, but it’s extremely rewarding to ride a winner here, Thompson, 27, said. “It’s just nice to get the first winner out of the way – a big thanks to Jamie Richards, his team and connections.

“It’s very surreal. I’m sure it’s not going to sink in straight away, but a huge thrill – an amazing result for my career.

“They gave me a nice fit horse to ride and he draw well (3) and it worked out perfectly.

“Every jockey, wherever they go, let alone Hong Kong, wants to ride winners and I didn’t expect anything to be easier – nothing has surprised me – and it was just a matter of being patient and riding everything as well as I could and it’s great to finally get a winner.”

Richards slotted a double and Hugh Bowman added to last Sunday’s treble when Celestial Colours clinched the Class 3 Kwoon Chung Bus Cup Handicap (1200m) to earn a HK$1.5 million PP Bonus.

Ricky Yiu also posted a double, praising Luke Ferraris’ ride on Colonel after the veteran sprinter led all the way in the Class 5 Kwoon Chung Motors Handicap to claim his fourth win over the course and distance.

“The jockey loves to go the front, he’s a front-running jockey – he did a good job and the other advantage is the horse dropping to Class 5,” Yiu said.

Preparing to send stable star Voyage Bubble to Dubai for the Gr1 Dubai Turf on 30 March, Yiu confirmed the Gr1 Stewards’ Cup victor would be ridden at Meydan by Mickael Barzalona.

“Voyage Bubble is doing well, there’s every chance I will give him a trial before he leaves on the 19th and everything is on the right track,” Yiu said.

Yiu’s brace came with Solar Partner’s success in the Class 4 Kwoon Chung Inclusive & Accessible Service Handicap under Bowman. Like Colonel, Solar Partner had dropped in grade and was far too good for his rivals.

John Size extended a familiar mid-season surge with Amazing Teens’ success under Alexis Badel in the Class 4 Trans-Island Chinalink Handicap. The 12-time champion trainer now has 36 victories for the campaign to trail only Pierre Ng (49) and Francis Lui (37).

Red Hare King triumphs for Matthew Chadwick (Pic – HKJC)

Tony Cruz and Angus Chung combined for their eighth victory of the season when Colourful Emperor claimed a HK$1.5 million PP Bonus for winning the Class 3 Kwoon Chung Intercontinental Limousine Handicap.

Cruz also figured with Red Hare King, who sat three-wide under Matthew Chadwick, but was still too strong in the Class 3 New Lantao Bus Handicap.

“It was a tough win, but it was a race where everything was ridden upside down,” Chadwick said. “The pace wasn’t fast, to be honest, and he was comfortable and in a smooth rhythm.

“He had the consistent form and he was the best horse in the race. Hopefully he gets a kinder run next time.”

Zac Purton’s relentless pursuit of a seventh Hong Kong jockeys’ championship continued with victory aboard David Hayes-trained Strongest Boy in the Class 4 KC Smart Mobility Handicap. With six minor placings to his credit pre-race, the Spirit Of Boom gelding broke through at his 17th attempt.

Danny Shum and Keagan De Melo combined with Happy Soul to close the meeting in style with victory in the Class 4 Tai Fung Coach Handicap.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday with the running of the HK$13 million Gr1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup Handicap.

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