Luke Ferraris Breaks Drought

Next meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday 19 May

Luke Ferraris showed some serious character as he snapped a 72-ride blank run with Mark Newnham-trained Setanta’s last-to-first triumph in the first section of the Class 4 Ciron Handicap to take his season haul to 22 wins at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

“Mark had him in superb condition and he needed to be from where he came from,” Ferraris said.

Luke Ferraris breaks the drought on Setanta (Pic – HKJC)

“We had a bit of a sticky draw (barrier eight) and I didn’t anticipate other horses from the outside digging up as hard as they did, so they put us in an awkward spot, but they ran a tempo to suit and he picked up accordingly.”

Ferraris, 22, amassed a career-high 35 wins in 2022/23 but has found this season challenging.

“The support dropped off terribly midway through the season,” the South African said.

“A few trainers I thought I would get a lot more rides for, I just haven’t had a ride for. Big thanks to Mark, he’s supported me for the whole season, it’s good to reward him.”

Image linked to weekly Sprint

Francis Lui’s relentless push for the 2023/24 Hong Kong trainers’ championship continued when Copartner Prance extended his winning streak to four with victory in the Class 3 Seine Handicap (1200m).

Ridden patiently by Zac Purton after an early speed battle, Copartner Partner nabbed pacemaker California Touch in the last few strides to boost Lui’s tally of wins for the campaign to 55 – only three shy of Pierre Ng’s 58 with 16 meetings left in the season.

“He’s a nice and honest horse. He chases and keeps going,” Lui said of Copartner Prance. “I thought he’d got beaten because he was carrying a big weight this time, but he’s a good horse. Maybe he can go to Sha Tin, but it all depends on the best programme for him.”

Purton, who also scored on Jamie Richards-trained To Infinity, was impressed by Copartner Prance’s effort to carry 132lb in edging out California Touch (120lb).

“Very brave to carry the weight, the pace was on all of the way which actually helped him a little bit,” Purton said. “He couldn’t sprint quickly under the weight tonight, he needed to build up and the fast speed with the leader taking off allowed him to get through his gears and get out after him and chase him.

“It took him all of the way but he got there on the line – the horse has done a good job.”

  • Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday 19 May.

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