Paul O’Sullivan struck early, not once but twice at Sha Tin on Saturday. The New Zealander has endured a sluggish campaign but things have picked up in recent weeks and wins in the afternoon’s first two races took his tally to 19.
“There is still plenty to come in the next six weeks with a few of the new horses like Chicken Dance, so we should win a couple more races, then we have a holiday and start again,” O’Sullivan said.
“The good thing about next season is Conghua – I can ship the early ones up there. I think last season was too good – too many of them won too many races and got too high in the handicap for the quality of horse they were. Hopefully some of these new ones can come through.
“It’s a reset… hit the redial button!”
Karis Teetan kicked off the handler’s brace on Fortune Patrol in the Class 5 Lotus Bridge Handicap (1800m); Joao Moreira followed that with a cool victory on Never Better in the Class 5 Sai Van Bridge Handicap (1400m).
“Joao knows him really well – the horse has got a run on him as short as from here to that fence,” O’Sullivan gestured, “so he sat, sat, sat – it was a clever ride.”
Moreira took the third on the David Hall-trained Intrepic. The 36/1 longshot sauntered to a three-length win in section two of the Class 4 Friendship Bridge Handicap (1400m).
And the three-time Hong Kong champion jockey was on the mark in section one of the Class 4 Macau-Taipa Bridge Handicap (1200m) thanks to the flaxen-maned, white-flashed chestnut Beauty Applause from the Size stable.
Speedy King (113lb) made the stands’ side rail count when holding Refined Treasure (118lb) by a nose in the Class 2 Macau Handicap (1000m). Ricky Yiu’s charge scored under Matthew Chadwick.
Trainer Chris So and jockey Chad Schofield partnered for double success. The duo took the Class 3 Taipa Handicap (1200m) with top-weight Team Spirit working hard for the lead and then boxing on to a half-length win.
And the pair grabbed the finale, the Class 3 Coloane Handicap (1400m) when Schofield drew a surging late drive from Guy Dragon that denied the Purton-ridden and O’Sullivan-trained 2.1 favourite Band Of Brothers. The margin was a neck.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday 15 May.
Never Better and Joao Moreira, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club