Caspar Fownes’ Happy Valley Milestone – Cruz, Chung Fire

Sha Tin is next on Saturday at 10h00

Caspar Fownes reached another towering Happy Valley milestone on Wednesday night with a record-extending 600th victory at the city circuit as Angus Chung bolstered hopes of clinching the Tony Cruz Award for the leading home-grown Hong Kong jockey with a double.

Four-time Hong Kong champion Fownes – revered as the ‘King of the Valley’ for his success at Happy Valley – clocked up his 600th win with Charming Steed’s win in the Class 5 Aster Handicap.

Well rated by apprentice Ellis Wong, the Hong Kong International Sale graduate slotted his second win from his past three attempts – at his 15th start of the season. Fownes, who has also saddled 510 wins at Sha Tin for a career haul of 1,110, was delighted at reaching the 600-win mark.

Caspar Fownes (Pic – HKJC)

“It’s massive, it’s such a big number and I’m going to keep on building on that over the next few years, hopefully, and I’m very happy,” Fownes said. “I’ve had a lot of support from my owners, my family and my stable staff. It’s wonderful.”

Fownes has saddled more winners at Happy Valley than other trainer since the advent of professional racing in Hong Kong in 1971/72, having previously eclipsed John Moore’s record of 530 wins at the track.

Chung and Cruz combined with a double with Flying Wrote and Outgate as Chung edged closer to clinching the Tony Cruz Award. The 27-year-old has 46 wins for the campaign, 12 more than Vincent Ho with only eight meetings left in the season.

“I’m looking for that (Tony Cruz Award) and hopefully I’m keeping the performance and at the end of the season I can still be leading the Tony Cruz Award,” Chung said after partnering Outgate to victory in the Class 2 EWO Challenge Trophy Handicap (1650m).

“Very happy (with the double). Outgate is in very good form. I expected the pace would be quicker but I trusted the horse and waited for the last part and the sprint and he did very well.”

A four-time winner in England before export to Hong Kong, Outgate took time to adjust to his new surroundings.

“He’s still quite lightly-raced and if you look back at his early days in Hong Kong he always had problems and health issues,” Cruz said.

Tony Cruz (Pic – HKJC)

“He was a horse who was always going to bloom late because he didn’t acclimatise straight away. Now he’s an improving horse and there’s still improvement to come – Group 3 maybe is the maximum for him.”

Cruz and Chung also scored with Flying Wrote in the Class 4 Dianthus Handicap (1200m) before Cruz moved into the third place in the 2023/24 Hong Kong trainers’ championship behind Pierre Ng (61) and Francis Lui (61) with 53 wins following Red Hare King’s success for Hugh Bowman in the Class 3 Chamomile Handicap (1650m).

Bowman also struck with Danny Shum-trained Comet Splendido in the Class 4 Bellflower Handicap to post his second course and distance victory before Lucky Archangel snared the Class 3 Thistle Handicap under Matthew Poon for Frankie Lor.

  • Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday 15 June with a twilight meeting starting at 10h00.

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