Richard Gibson praises mafoo as Wellington makes triumphant return, while Joao Moreira dominates with a four-timer
As has become customary, Joao Moreira was the headline act with a Boxing Day quartet but, in Richard Gibson’s eyes, mafoo (stable assistant) Josephine Kwok deserved acclaim as the unsung heroine at Sha Tin on Sunday (26 December) following Wellington’s stunning win in the Class 3 Long Ke Handicap (1000m).
Posting his fourth win from five starts, Wellington vindicated Gibson’s faith by powering to victory in 56.51s under Zac Purton as the gelding returned from an eight-month lay-off.
But it was the behind-the-scenes contribution of Kwok – known as ‘KK’ – Gibson repeatedly highlighted on a day when Moreira stretched his lead in the jockeys’ premiership to 19 over Purton.
Gibson said Wellington was unlikely to target the Four-Year-Old Classic Series in preference for sprint contests.
Almost inevitably, Moreira dominated the 11-race program with four winners – Above, Green Envy, Sight Success, and Double Take.
Sight Success made a striking impression on debut for John Size as the son of Magnus sat wide with cover before posting an emphatic win in the Class 4 Pak Tam Chung Handicap (1200m).
While Purton fired back with a double aboard Clear Choice and Wellington, Jerry Chau was also among those to disturb Moreira’s reign, continuing a fruitful association with Paul O’Sullivan’s Casimiro, winner of Class 4 Tai Long Au Handicap (1600m).
Since taking over on the 6YO, Chau has used his seven-pound claim to telling effect, winning twice from three attempts on the chestnut.
Flying Quest continued to defy age and market expectations with a brilliant win in Class 2 Cheung Sheung Handicap (2000m), delivering a belated Christmas present for David Hall and Matthew Poon.
The win was Flying Quest’s seventh in Hong Kong, but his first at Sha Tin.
Frankie Lor will consider his options – more likely at home than abroad – with Glorious Artist, winner of the Class 2 Chek Keng Handicap (1650m).
Given a beautiful ride by Derek Leung, the son of Zoffany registered his fifth victory on the All-Weather surface.