Overshadowed by Hong Kong’s sprinting elite, Lucky Patch has emerged as a legitimate G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) contender after steaming to success in the G2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) for Francis Lui and Jerry Chau at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Ridden perfectly by 21-year-old Chau, Lucky Patch descended late to overtake leaders Computer Patch (fourth) and Courier Wonder (fifth) before thwarting the desperate efforts of Naboo Attack and Sky Field to snare successive G2 spoils.
The El Roca gelding was heavily backed late despite Lui’s concerns over the five-year-old jumping from the outside gate in a field of 10 and duly justified the support, triumphing by three quarters of a length in 1m 07.98s.
Jerry Chau celebrates the victory with Lucky Patch, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Last-start winner of the G2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m) under Zac Purton, Lucky Patch improved his overall record to five wins and six minor placings from 15 starts for prizemoney of HK$13.909 million.
“Honestly, I couldn’t say I was confident when I looked at the draw because I was concerned with the draw but he (Chau) rode him very well. I told him to study how Zac rode him last start. The pace was good and the horse has improved,” Lui said.
“Jerry did a great job and the horse is going very well.”
The typically reserved Lui, who also triumphed with Golden Sixty on a pivotal Bank Of China (Hong Kong) Race Day, was content to deflect to Chau, who is very much regarded as the future of Hong Kong’s riding ranks.
“It’s my best win in Hong Kong. We were lucky, they went fast early and I had a chance to get in and get cover,” Chau said. “It’s very exciting. I’ve won on this horse before but last start Mr Lui gave Zac the horse to ride and he won the race and I was a bit disappointed.
“I didn’t think I would get the chance to ride him again. But luckily Zac chose (Naboo Attack) and Mr Lui gave me the opportunity again. Big thanks to him and the owner. It’s meaningful – I’ll need to have a big celebration.
“I’ve only just finished my apprenticeship and I’m getting some nice opportunities and I’m trying to ride them to the best of my ability.”
Lui indicated Purton, who leads the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship, would be offered the ride on Lucky Patch in the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint on 12 December.
Lucky Patch’s success came as G1 winners Wellington and Hot King Prawn and finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
Courier Wonder, who stalked Computer Patch before striking the front, raced erratically under Joao Moreira over the closing stages to finish two and a quarter lengths fifth from the winner.
Hong Kong racing continues on Wednesday night.