Matthew Chadwick joined one of Hong Kong racing’s most select racing groups with his 500th winner at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, emulating the feats of fellow home-grown jockeys Tony Cruz and Vincent Ho.
Power Koepp’s victory in the Class 3 Sauternes Cup Handicap (1200m) catapulted Chadwick into rarefied company along with six-time Hong Kong Champion Jockey Cruz, who rode 946 winners in a glorious career, and Ho, who has ridden 524 winners so far.
Plagued by injury throughout his career, 32-year-old Chadwick paid tribute to Cruz and Ho on reaching a mark which doubled as a triumph over adversity for the former prodigy who was Hong Kong’s Champion Apprentice in 2008/09.
“I had great grounding through the Hong Kong Jockey Club Apprentice Jockeys’ School and Tony Cruz gave me the foundation to the first years of my career and he still supports me now,” Chadwick said. “I could not have got back from my injuries without his support and the other trainers.
“Tony is a legend and he gave me such good support when I first started out and Vincent has been riding really well. He’s had a great association with a really good horse (Golden Sixty) the past few years, so it’s good to be kept in high esteem with the other two and I’ll just keep going now.
“I normally don’t think about numbers that much really but it’s a good milestone to have. It’s been ringing in my ears the last few meetings, I’ve just been trying to ride my horses to the best of my ability.
“I’ve had so many injuries, I was hoping to hit the mark sooner. I’ve had good support and I hope it can continue.”
Chadwick became the first home-grown jockey to win a Hong Kong International Races contest when California Memory snared the 2011 Gr1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m). Chadwick rates his association with the grey as the highlight of his career.
Chadwick also snared the Shergar Cup Silver Saddle at Ascot in 2012 and last season captured the Tony Cruz Award as the leading home-grown rider, displacing Ho – who added to his tally on Wednesday night when Sixth Generation clinched the Class 3 Broom Handicap (1650m) for Jamie Richards.
Zac Purton fired in a double with Gallant Hero and Splendid Living, whose surging victory in the Class 4 Kwai Sing Handicap (1650m) for Ricky Yiu presented the BMW Hong Kong Derby-winning trainer with his 50th victory of the season.
Yiu, the 2019/20 Hong Kong champion handler, also registered a double when Hugh Bowman piloted Solar Partner to success in the second section of the Class 4 Kwai Fong Handicap (1200m), while Meaningful Star managed the rise in grade with an impressive win in the Class 2 Briar Handicap (1800m) under Matthew Poon for Francis Lui.
Gallant Hero made it three wins in succession with a tough performance to fend off Super Hong Kong to land the Class 4 Min Fat Handicap (2200m) Zac Purton for David Hall.
“He’s always showed a bit of potential, mentally he’s improving with every run and it was a pretty good performance tonight,” Hall said. “It was his first time over 2200 (metres) and he showed plenty of fight after doing a bit of work – plenty of merit in the performance, I thought.
“I might put him away now because he might be able to win a few more next year, he’s come a long way and that was a tough win tonight.”
Tony Millard-trained Charizard returned to the winners’ circle for the first time since November, 2021 under a patient ride from Karis Teetan to claim the Class 5 Tsun Yuen Handicap (1650m) before Danny Shum’s veteran Goodluck Goodluck surged to a dashing win in the first section of the Class 4 Kwai Fong Handicap (1200m), leading almost the entire journey, to provide Teetan with a brace.
Super Axiom showed trademark blistering speed to lead throughout to win the Class 4 Hawthorn Handicap (1000m) for Me Tsui, clocking 56.51s under Angus Chung to post his first victory over the course and distance.
Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday 4 June with a twilight meeting starting at 4pm and the running of the Gr3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) and the Gr3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap.