Cheerful Days’ rise as one of Hong Kong’s most stable performers surged at Sha Tin on Thursday (February 3) as underestimation facilitated Francis Lui and Alexis Badel China New Year’s Cup Handicap 1st Class (1400m) win.
Pictured as a 1650m pro in Happy Valley after four of his first five wins were posted at the City Circuit, Happy Days (113lb) outstrips more achievement rivals Californiadeepshot (123lb) and Lucky Express (131lb) to record a fifth win from his previous six starts.
Given a book by Badel, the 86 racer drove hard to his most significant success to date and joined the Hong Kong Classic Mile winner, the undefeated Romance Warrior, as the winner. are the only horses to win five races in Hong Kong this season.
“Fantastic win from the horse, we know he has improved a lot. He’s very settled in Happy Valley and we’re back a shorter ride from where he won, so today was a big challenge,” said Badel.
“The bottom weight helped the horse and it fought really hard over the fence. It was a sure win. He is a good horse. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t continue to improve.”
Next, Lui will target the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge Finals at Happy Valley on February 23, when Smart Missile gelding will return to his most successful course and distance in search of a part of the HK$1 million bonus offered in a lucrative series of events.
Currently in second place with 45 points behind Fa Fa (60), Cheerful Days will add 15 points with a fifth 1650m win on February 23 to potentially end the series.
Lui was surprised by the five-year-old’s latest achievement on Thursday.
“I think he plays well at Happy Valley because he keeps winning there. Now, he can handle Sha Tin again – I’m surprised. We will now focus on Happy Valley at the end of the month (DBS x Manulife Million Challenge Finale),” he said.
Badel doubled his bets instantly when John Size’s Country Boy landed in the second part of the Class 4 Prosperity Handicap (1400m) as the Cordyceps Six continued its surprising rise with huge success in the Round. 3rd Place Good Fortune (1000m) for Richard Gibson and Blake Shinn.
Victory was the son of the fourth Star Turn on the five-time straight course.
“You have to remember that he is only three years old and I think it was a very impressive performance today. We expected him to win and I think he won by style,” Gibson said.
“He is only three years old and he can only get better with age. He’s in really good form and he’s a pleasure to coach. ”
Winning 11 coach titles, Size rose to the top of the 2021/22 championship with a treble that included Beauty Fit’s success in the first part of the 3rd Kung Hei Handicap (1400m) for Joao Moreira.
“He was amazing,” said Moreira of Beauty Fit, who won three races in Hong Kong after winning twice in Australia while being named Barocha.
Running Glory (Joao Moreira) sealed Size’s treble, giving the Australian a 44-42 lead over Frankie Lor after 42 of 88 scheduled matches.
Attending the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) in Sha Tin on March 20, Running Glory overcame hurdle number 12 to provide Moreira with a three-hour watch.
“He had to do a very wide run for him but the pace of the race was good enough for him to do it and he had a lot of back ground on the circle. When it comes down to the side, he feels comfortable,” says Size.
“He’s a good horse – he’s just a little bit small, but his heart is in the right place. He was a determined racehorse, as you saw today. “
The Galaxy Witness coached by Caspar Fownes helped Moreira to his three-hour return leg, striding with Kut Cheong Handicap (1200m) in 4th place to remain unbeaten after two legs.
“Galaxy Witness is doing what we expect him to do. He’s still very green, he’s still doing a lot of things wrong, but obviously, he’s got a lot of potential. He won with a lot of authority,” Moreira said.
David Hall’s talented ace remains undefeated after three starts with a win in the 3rd Big Profit Handicap (1200m) at the hands of Matthew Poon.
“He has three starts for three wins, so how high he reaches, let’s wait and see and how far he can run is probably another question – will we is it possible to increase him to 1400m-1600m?” Hall said.
“The horses of the steed (Swiss Ace) can run 1600m, no problem. So it’s interesting that we have some options – we’ve been to Happy Valley, Sha Tin and it looks like we can increase his distance. Looks like he has some more to give. “
Poon finished the race double as Danny Shum’s charity race took the 2nd Fat Choi handicap (1800m).
Manfred Man was honored to share the first winner of the Year of the Tiger with Derek Leung, who successfully steered Nice Beauty in the Grade 5 Yue Yee Handicap (1200m).
“He failed in class, he drew barrier one, so what can you expect?” The man laughed after posting the stable team’s 16th win of the season.
Maximize Heart became the latest winning Hong Kong International Sales graduate by performing in the first installment of the Class 4 Prosperity Handicap (1400m) for Dennis Yip and Vagner Borges.
Tony Millard teamed up with familiar teammate Karis Teetan to win 4th place Red Packet Handicap (2000m) with Super Hong Kong.
“He’s very fit and he’s done a good job,” Millard said.
The Hong Kong race continues to take place at Happy Valley on Sunday (February 6).
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