Hong Kong Diary

The stars were out in force at Sha Tin on Sunday – with Beauty Generation and Exultant continuing their winning sprees – and Silvestre de Sousa is keen to continue his winning spree for a little while longer yet.

  • Tuesday 19 February
  • Blog
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Silvestre in the Know as he ponders HK extension

Silvestre de Sousa has confirmed that he wants to extend his Hong Kong stay until the end of March and is hoping All You Know can continue his hot streak in the Tsuen Wan Handicap (2.50) at Happy Valley this Wednesday.

The Brazilian has blitzed his way to 33 wins since November – with his mounts collecting well over 5m sterling in prize money - and his stay looks like going on for a little while longer.

“I want to extend my (three-month) licence for another month, to the end of March,” de Sousa confirmed on Tuesday morning.

That extension needs formal approval but the firm expectation is that Britain’s three-time champion jockey will continue to tear up Sha Tin and Happy Valley for a while yet.

“It has been a dream come true and I’ve managed to get a Group 2 and a Group 1 so I’m very pleased with all of the support I’ve had - I couldn’t do it without that,” he said.

“I hope to get a few more winners: I’d love to get to 40; that would be my target.”

All You Know is in fine form after finishing second at the Valley under Joao Moreira from stall 11 on his latest start. “It was a fantastic run,” de Sousa observed. “Maybe the race wasn’t run to suit him. He finished very strongly and if he puts the same performance in it should be the time for him to win.”

The beat goes on for Beauty G and Exultant

Hong Kong’s latest G1 Sunday at Sha Tin cemented two star reputations and also cast some valuable light on the Derby picture.

Beauty Generation was his usual clinical self in winning a second Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, brushing aside the reliable runner-up Beat The Clock much more easily than last year, and it seems he will now be given a break until the Champions Mile on April 28th.

Exultant confirmed himself king of the middle-distance division with an emphatic success in the Hong Kong Gold Cup and will now be put on layaway until the QEII Cup on the same day, but the leading Derby contenders have less than four weeks until their big day on 17th March.

Furore still firmly on Derby trail despite Classic Cup defeat

Various local judges seem to think the race is wide open but that doesn’t quite square with a persuasive trend relating to the rating needed to land the Classic.

A potential Derby winner needs the stamina to last 2000m and the speed to hold his place in a 14-runner field – but he also needs to go into the race rated at least 100 or more.

All the last ten Derby winners did so, as did four of the previous five, and this year there are only four horses who have hit the required level.

Frankie Lor’s Mission Tycoon is up to 102 after springing a 91-1 surprise in Sunday’s Classic Cup over 1800m – which is the key Derby trial most years – but whether he will be so effective over 2000m without a soft lead remains to be seen.

Stablemate Dark Dream remains on 104 after finishing a solid second in the Classic Cup. He will be well suited by a stiffer stamina test as will Lor’s third contender Furore, who ran the most notable Derby trial of all by coming home strongly after being left well back from a wide draw.

It’s clear Lor is heading into the big race with a very powerful hand but HK’s newest star handler will be well aware that the man who was his boss before he started training last season supplies a potent threat in the shape of Sunday’s impressive winner Waikuku.

Former Oxx winner Waikuku joins HK Hundred Club

It must have taken a fair offer to persuade John Oxx and owner Thomas Breen to sell Waikuku after his win in a Leopardstown maiden last summer but it looks money well spent after the Harbour Watch gelding completed a hat trick in highly encouraging fashion.

Waikuku’s new handler John Size is no stranger to plotting an unconventional course to Derby glory as he missed the Classic Cup with 2015 hero Luger and last year’s winner Ping Hai Star.

All Waikuku’s HK wins have been over 1400m, as was his Leopardstown success, but Ping Hai Star jumped from 1400m to 2000m with no trouble twelve months ago and a 7lb hike means the champion trainer’s latest Derby hope creeps into this year’s Derby Hundred Club right on the bubble.

Hong Kong Diary
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