David Hall’s BMW Hong Kong Derby Runner

Sunday wins just about guarantees he gets a run

David Hall plans to run Atullibigeal in the HK$24 million BMW Hong Kong Derby on 19 March after victory on Sunday afternoon under Hugh Bowman in the Class 3 TVB Midlife, Sing & Shine Handicap at Sha Tin.

Stepping up to a mile for the first time in his career, Atullibigeal raised the bar once more with flying colours to cap a sparkling day for Hall who reaped a four-timer, while Bowman collected a running treble to close out the 10-race fixture.

“Definitely, the Derby will be the aim. I think he’ll run the distance and he’s got enough points there – he’s a worthy runner.

Hugh Bowman drives Atullibigeal to victory in the finale (Pic-HKJC)

“I think today’s win will just about guarantee he gets a run (in the BMW Hong Kong Derby). He won’t run in the (Hong Kong) Classic Cup and what path we take to get there – I am not sure of yet,” Hall said.

Atullibigeal – rated 78 prior to this afternoon’s win – captured his second triumph in Hong Kong for Hall and Bowman after arriving as a two-time winner from New Zealand.

“He’s shown a lot at home – he’s loaded with raw ability and today it was a tricky draw and there was a fair bit of pressure early on which we didn’t quite expect.

“I had visions about riding a more positive race on him but that was taken out of my hands, so I just let him find his rhythm and he just came through his gears really well, I had a smooth passage and he let down really well,” Bowman said.

The improving son of Street Boss lugged 133lb to victory from gate 12 of 14 today, clocking a winning time of 1m 34.99s at odds of 9/1 ahead of a rapidly closing Amazing Victory with Prince Alex grabbing third.

“I think he’s up to better classes but he’s not quite the finished article yet but, my word, he’s taking his job really seriously and I’m really proud of him,” Bowman said.

The first of Bowman’s treble today came as Running Glory snatched the inaugural Class 2 TVB Cup Handicap (2000m) for trainer John Size.

Small in stature but big in heart, Running Glory (135lb) – who weighs in with a 980lb bodyweight – had his consistency rewarded as he weaved from last-to-first between runners under Bowman to overhaul a defiant Butterfield (134lb) and Five G Patch (120lb) in 2m 03.41s.

Running Glory salutes under Hugh Bowman (Pic – HKJC)

“He’s a nice horse, he’s very consistent – he had top weight to contend with and that was the biggest worry,” Bowman said. “There wasn’t much room on either side and I was waiting until I got close, I waited until the death to decide. I had the horse and I am very proud of him.”

The middle of Bowman’s trio came aboard Goko Win in the Class 3 TVB Wai Yin Association Special Handicap (1200m) at odds of 30/1 for trainer Dennis Yip.

Prince Of Porty extended his unbeaten record to two with a comfortable victory under Zac Purton – who also bagged a treble – in 1m 08.82s for Hall in the Class 4 TVB Tung Wah Charity Show Handicap (1200m).

“He had the right gate, just to lob into a spot where he was comfortable. The speed was quite solid, so he got into a nice rhythm and he was just able to do as he pleased – it was a good effort but he’s still learning,” Purton said.

Hall has no qualms regarding Prince Of Porty’s ability of being competitive in Class 3.

“I think the day he trialled against Campione at Happy Valley told us that he’s a little bit better than a Class 4 horse. It was a good trial that day and now he’s put it together – I think Class 3 is very achievable for him,” Hall said.

Purton earlier rode Flying Mojito to breakthrough victory for Hall in the Class 4 TVB Po Leung Kuk Gala Spectacular Handicap (1600m).

“We’ll continue to increase his distance and we stay in the class, it wasn’t a big margin today and hopefully there’s another win around the corner,” Hall said.

Purton kicked off his trio with victory for Jamie Richards in the Class 5 TVB Charity Fund Handicap (1400m) aboard Fortune Master.

Hall’s quartet came from seven runners with Beluga kicking off his stellar afternoon under Matthew Poon with victory in the Class 1 TVB Yan Oi Tong Charity Show Handicap (1400m) ahead of Beauty Joy by three quarters of a length in 1m 21.75s.

“He’s very honest, very consistent and this time in Class 1 he carried a light weight (113lb), so I thought he had a chance in this race,” Poon said. “We positioned him exactly where we expected and everything went quite smooth – he deserved this win.”

Fresh following victory in the QAT Gr1 H.H. The Amir Trophy (2400m) in Doha, Qatar with Russian Emperor – Douglas Whyte was out to savour a win on home soil and he did exactly that as Carroll Street denied a persistent Trillion Win by a short head in the Class 2 TVB Pok Oi Charity Show Handicap (1000m) in 55.85s.

“He stopped pretty quick there, Douglas warned me ‘if he hits the front, he will stop’. He hasn’t raced for eight months but he has been trialling well in the lead-up to this race and I sat as long as I could, until the 200 metre mark.

“His fitness will come on and it’s nice to have a win for Douglas – he’s on cloud nine now, so it’s wonderful,” Teetan said.

Matthew Chadwick savoured sweet victory this afternoon aboard the Tony Millard-trained Super Hong Kong in the Class 4 Tung Wah Celebrity Show Handicap (2000m).

The win kicked off a double for Chadwick, who later scored atop Flying High for trainer Chris So in the Class 4 TVB Yan Chai Charity Show Handicap (1000m).

“It’s just been a bit unfortunate. This fellow (Super Hong Kong) – he was very fit and healthy in the mornings, he got the right run and he came away nicely,” Chadwick said.

Given a superb ride by the 32-year-old, Super Hong Kong dug deep to give Chadwick his first win following injury and to also snap his trainer’s recent run of outs.

“I’d like to say a very special thank you to those loyal owners of mine, because those guys have been sitting there and supporting me – I thank them because it has not been easy, I can tell you, I was very happy just to win today,” Millard said.

“It’s been very tough this season – in 37 years of racing we have never ever had it like this. It’s just one of those things, our stable has been caught in the perfect storm – we had COVID and we didn’t buy (horses) and then we just lacked the young horses coming through,” Millard said. “I think that our luck has turned and we’re looking forward to a good end to the season – may we have many more winners.”

  • Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley this Wednesday 22 February.

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