Danny Shum leads the series with Chill Chibi. Photo by HKJC.

Danny Shum will press for a fourth DBS x Manulife Million Challenge triumph

HJKC Staff

HKJC Staff Member

20/02/2024

By Leo Schlink, for the HKJC

 

Danny Shum will bid for a fourth victory in the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (21 February) when six horses could potentially claim the series.

While Shum leads the series with Chill Chibi (49 points) from Pierre Ng’s Humble Star (46) – who are not running tomorrow night – five other horses remain in contention to clinch the series: Shum’s Copartner Ambition (45), Douglas Whyte’s Majestic Knight (42), Benno Yung’s Son Pak Fu (39) and Tourbillon Prince (37) and David Hayes’ Tomodachi Kokoroe (36).

The DBS x Manulife Million Challenge is for horses competing in Class 3 and above with the overall champion decided on a format where 15 points are awarded for first, six for second, four for third and three for fourth placings in races at Happy Valley between September and February.

The overall winner of the series will earn HK$1 million, with HK$350,000 for second and HK$150,000 for third.

Of the leading contenders tomorrow night, Majestic Knight, Son Pak Fu and Tomodachi Kokoroe clash in the Class 1 Singapore Pools Handicap (1200m), Tourbillon Prince runs in the Class 3 Village Handicap (1650m) and Copartner Ambition contests the Class 3 Sing Woo Handicap (1200m).

 

Copartner Ambition boasts three Class 3 wins at Happy Valley win this season.
Copartner Ambition boasts three Class 3 wins at Happy Valley win this season.

 

With four wins – including three in Class 3 – at the city circuit this season, Copartner Ambition is best-placed to overtake stablemate Chill Chibi as Shum bids to match his previous series wins with Speedy Longwah (2015/16), Charity Glory (2017/18) and Grateful Heart (2020/21).

If successful, Shum would match the feat of Caspar Fownes, who has scored with Socrates – who tied with Easy in 2006/07 – Ocean Wide (2008/09), Twin Delight (2014/15) and Nearly Fine (2022/23).

Andrea Atzeni takes the ride on Copartner Ambition and the pair will start from barrier three.

“It’s nice to get back on him, I’ve won on him before earlier in the season and I was actually unlucky on him one day,” Atzeni said. “He’s an improving horse and he’s obviously got a great draw (gate three), which helps, and he seems in good form.

“He likes the track, which is obviously a big plus, he’s going up in grade but he’s doing everything right.”

Jerry Chau hopes to add to his Sunday (18 February) double when he reunites with Son Pak Fu after his fourth to Victor The Winner in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin on 28 January.

“I think Happy Valley suits him more because of the fast pace and he likes to chase,” Chau said. “After the last day, I feel like he’s improved again. I’m looking forward to him running a good race again.’

Lucky Sweynesse finished second this morning in a 1200m trial on Sha Tin’s dirt as the champion sprinter readies for the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on 10 March.

Ridden by Matthew Poon, the world’s top-rated sprinter cruised to the line under a firm hold to finish half a length behind Michael Chang’s Solar Up in a time of 1m 10.83s.

Manfred Man has engaged James McDonald to ride the four-time Group 1 winner in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup as a replacement for Zac Purton, who has been aboard in 11 of the gelding’s 15 wins.

Happy Valley’s nine-race card on Wednesday night (21 February) starts with the Class 4 Wang Tak Handicap (1200m) at 6.40pm.

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