Jenny - Clean


ARGUABLY the best-contested domestic race in recent memory threw up the biggest-priced Group race result for many years as Packing Winner stole the Mission Hills Sha Tin Trophy (G.3, 1600m) at odds of almost 160-1.

In a race where the attention was fixed on the Group 1 stars of last season such as Viva Pataca, Good Ba Ba, Collection and Thumbs Up, trainer Peter Ho upstaged his peers by training the quinella with Mr Medici finishing second.

Just one race earlier, John Moore landed a stable one-two of his own in the Premier Bowl (HKGr.3-1200m) when apprentice-ridden Inspiration packed too many guns for his stable companion One World.

First, though, to Packing Winner and his pillar-to-post triumph under Brett Doyle, his first victory since landing the Citi Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup (HKGr.1-2400m) exactly 17 months earlier.

"It looked beforehand that there might not be much speed in the race so the plan was to go out and make the running. He relaxed pretty well and at the 600m I gave him a dig and he really quickened up and stole a break on the rest of the field. I had never been on the horse before and I was surprised at how quick he was for a stayer," said Doyle who only days earlier celebrated his marriage to longtime partner Yvonne O'Dwyer.

"He never seemed like getting tired from that point on and I always felt we were going to hang on. Credit to Peter, it was a big training effort to have the horse as forward as that first up and I'm looking forward to getting back on him in the Cup Trial next month," the winning rider added.

The big guns of Thumbs Up, Viva Pataca, Collection and Good Ba Ba finished third, fourth, fifth and seventh respectively with Viva Pataca, the reigning Horse of the Year, unleashing the fastest run-home split of 21.31 seconds from near the tail of the field compared to the victor's final sectional of 22.0 seconds.

"When a good horse like Packing Winner is allowed to dictate like that in front, it's just not possible to pick them up. Collection's run died about 100m out and Viva Pataca got tired inside the last 50m, but as regards pipe openers for the season, I couldn't be happier with how both horses ran," Moore asked.

"As regards our next step, it's possible that they both might meet each other again in the Cup Trial. It was originally the idea to run Collection in the Mile Trial and 'Viva' in the Cup Trial but I will have to have a chat with Darren [Beadman, jockey] on how best to tackle the trials," he continued.

Meanwhile, Moore's grip on Hong Kong's major sprint races shows no sign of abating.

He prepared the first two past the post in the Premier Bowl and it's conceivable that another horse who did not take part today – Happy Zero – is another big chance for the stable once the world's best sprint rolls around on 13 December.

Coolly ridden from midfield by high-flying apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun, Inspiration stormed to the lead at the furlong pole and established a break of three-quarters of a length from fast-finishing stable companion One World at the wire. Tuscan Spirit and Yellow Diamond ran third and fourth.

Such major victories have become routine for Moore, but for 7lbs claimer Leung, indentured to the stable of Paul O'Sullivan, the victory was the biggest of his fledgling career and it again helped underline how talented the latest crop of local young riders is and how valuable their allowances are in the local handicap system.

"These apprentices are worth their weight in gold and Derek Leung rode the horse very well. He has good hands and he got him settled and used the turn of foot the horse can always produce. Inspiration might not be the best sprinter in the world but he has proven that he is world class. Give him a good ride from a good gate and he's capable of anything and he has proven this time and again," Moore observed.


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