Majestic Knight scores his fourth win of the season. Photo by HKJC.

Majestic Knight shines as Whyte, Yiu, Bowman and Ferraris log doubles

HJKC Staff

HKJC Staff Member

05/07/2024

By Leo Schlink, for the HKJC

 

Majestic Knight reclaimed top form to crown an ascendant season with his fourth win of a fine campaign with victory in the Class 2 Briar Handicap (1000m) as trainer Douglas Whyte celebrated a double at Happy Valley on Thursday night (4 July).

The highest-rated horse in Whyte’s stable following the retirement of dual Hong Kong Champion Stayer and multiple Group 1-winner Russian Emperor, Majestic Knight defied six rivals under top weight of 135lb, clocking a slick 56.56s.

Whyte was delighted with Majestic Knight’s return to form under Hugh Bowman after the gelding finished second last at Happy Valley on 22 May – a rare blemish on an otherwise productive 11-start campaign.

“He was disappointing last time, but he was a victim of circumstances. He was caught wide and had a really tough trip. I decided to freshen him up and give him a break and his trial 10 days ago was very good in Conghua,” Whyte said.

“He’s bounced back. He’s done a good job so far. He’s creeping up in the ratings now (98), but as I said, he’s a model of consistency. Hugh gave him a brilliant ride – from a wide gate he hugged the rail, he saved all the ground and he got the splits. It helped him carry the weight (135lb) and that was the difference in the end.”

Bowman posted a race-to-race double when John Size’s Grand Nova prevailed in the Class 4 Hawthorn Handicap (1000m) while Whyte also sealed a brace when Zoom Boom scored strongly for Harry Bentley in the Class 3 Cheong Ming Handicap (1650m).

“He (Zoom Boom) has really come a long way from a horse that had an injury and looked in trouble, to the most consistent horse for my stable this season,” Whyte said. “He’s been a model of consistency and he probably should have won another race with a bit of luck. But tonight, he had the draw (gate three), he had all favours and carried out a very good race. He definitely let down well and he’s held his form.

“He looks very tactical as you saw tonight. He can race from on the speed and when the speed’s on and he has to come from further back, he’s got a very good turn of foot. He’s very consistent and very tactical, which makes it easier for a jockey and myself.”

 

Watch Buddy (yellow cap) steams to his fourth victory this season.
Watch Buddy (yellow cap) steams to his fourth victory this season.

 

Luke Ferraris and Ricky Yiu bookended the meeting, striking in the opening race aboard Little Fairy with success in the Class 5 Tsun Yuen Handicap (1650m) before combining with Watch Buddy in the finale – the Class 3 Broom Handicap (1200m).

“It’s great to ride winners for Ricky. I think we’ve got a pretty good strike rate together and hopefully the winners can keep coming,” Ferraris said.

Northern Beast made it three wins from his past five starts for David Hall when the Maurice gelding triumphed in a photo-finish in the Class 4 Min Fat Handicap (1650m). Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, Northern Beast downed Double Win by a nose.

Vincent Ho combined with Caspar Fownes-trained Joy Of Spring to clinch the Class 4 Shing Ping Handicap (1800m) before Dennis Yip’s Travel Golf finished stoutly to snare the second section of the Class 4 Kwai Fong Handicap (1200m).

Spicy Gold, who was promoted into the field with the scratching of California Cible, clinched the first section of the Class 4 Kwai Fong Handicap (1200m) for Mark Newnham. Ridden by Alexis Badel, the So You Think four-year-old prevailed at his ninth start.

“He’s been a difficult horse for a horse that has quite a bit of talent,” Newnham said.

“His first start at Sha Tin he came from last to finish fourth and I thought we’ve got a decent horse. But he does a lot wrong, he gets very hot in the parade.

“Even though he didn’t get cover tonight I think he was more comfortable. When he’s been back inside horses, he’s found it hard to travel. It’s just a matter of racing until he gets it right and for a big horse with an awkward action he gets around Happy Valley really well.

“It was good to get a win on the board with him and he’ll keep improving because he’s got natural ability.”

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Saturday (6 July).

 

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