By Graham Cunningham
Paul O’Sullivan was all smiles after becoming the last of Hong Kong’s 22 trainers to get off the mark for the season when Willie Way landed Race 2 to give Teetan his second winner of the day and promptly hinted at a change in policy designed to leave the blocks more quickly in future.
We retired a lot of horses last season, including good servants like Archippus, and I knew we’d start slowly this year,” he said.
“But having Conghua to prepare horses is going to be absolutely outstanding,” he added. “A facility like that gives you the opportunity to finish a horse in May then trial him in the summer and come down here ready to roll when the season starts.”
Tony Millard continued his flying start to the season and notched his tenth success from just 52 starters in Race 1 when Strathallan (121lb) saluted at the fourth attempt, showing speed throughout and battling on well for Teetan to beat promising newcomer Hainan Star (120lb) by a neck.
Millard felt Strathallan’s previous experience proved crucial and, with Nassa, Singapore Sling and South African G1 winner Northern Superstar (formerly Edict Of Nantes) waiting in the wings, he kept things short and sweet when asked about his wealth of emerging talent.
“Strathallan is a nice horse who can improve over 1200m,’ he said. “And this is the best string of young horses I’ve ever had.”
Recent Sha Tin scorer Super Star is one of those horses and Happy Tour – another son of Snitzel sourced at the HKIS in March – looked promising when making all for Danny Shum and Chad Schofield in Race 6.
Shum said: “His first run was good and he’s improved so we will stick to 1200m at Sha Tin for now.”