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Lucky Year takes the Chief Executive��s Cup as luckless Blizzard storms late

03/09/2016

by David Morgan

Lucky Year gave another heavy hint that his is a career destined for loftier peaks when posting a smart victory in this afternoon’s (3 September) Class 1 Chief Executive’s Cup (Handicap) at Sha Tin Racecourse, a performance that left trainer Danny Shum considering Group 1 challenges.

“We’ll look ahead to the Hong Kong Sprint here in December now and our plans will lead into that,” said Shum, who had even considered an overseas test for his charge. “The Sprinters Stakes in Japan would have been a good race for him; if there was a supplementary stage to that we’d look at it. He would be good enough to run first three in a race like that. I think he will improve two lengths off that run today.”

And yet, despite Lucky Year’s classy win and talk of an imminent leap to Group 1, it was Blizzard, vanquished but unbowed in third that emerged from Hong Kong’s season opening feature with perhaps the greater kudos.

Only the churlish would crab Lucky Year’s driving three-quarter-length triumph under champion jockey Joao Moreira. The talented five-year-old made it seven wins from 12 Hong Kong starts as he justified 2.8 favouritism; clocking a time of 1m 08.19s for the 1200m. And Moreira, like Shum, is sure there is more to come.

 “Earlier in the week I said I didn’t think he had climbed to his peak yet and we are only starting the season right now, so he’s certainly going to improve much more,” said the Brazilian, who was registering his first win of the campaign.

“It’s hard to predict but I don't think that’s it with him, I think he can win a couple more races, maybe some Cup races, and the way he did that today he has given me confidence that he can do that.”

Blizzard, too, has better days ahead of him, it would seem. Jockey Karis Teetan was clearly frustrated as he walked back to scale. The Ricky Yiu-trained chestnut, third in both the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile and HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) last term, overcame significant interference entering the turn to rally down the stretch for a gutsy third, a length behind the victor.

The five-year-old closed off through the final 400m in 21.95s to finish a head behind the strong-finishing second, Key Witness (21.88s).

“I think he could have won,” said Yiu, referring to the incident at around the 800m mark that saw the Dylan Mo-ridden stablemate Amber Sky cross in front of the field and cause tightening behind. Blizzard was checked sharply from fourth, upsides the winner, back to ninth of 11 turning in.

“He made up a lot of ground after the incident. It looked like one of those things that happens on the turn,” said Yiu, immediately after the race.

“I’m not sure yet which race he’ll go to next,” he continued. “If we stay at 1200 metres we’ll probably meet Francis’s (Lui) horse, Lucky Bubbles, and I don't know if we would beat him, so we’ll see, but it would be 1200 or 1400 (metres) with him.”

The trainer was delighted with the run of fifth-placed Packing Pins who, if all goes to plan, will surely be taking his place in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile in December. Last season’s G1 Champions Mile third kept on for fifth under his 133lb burden, a length and three-quarters behind the winner.

“Packing Pins ran well there, he’s just lost that good turn of foot over 1200 metres, even 1400, compared to last season. He really needs a mile now,” said Yiu.

The Shum stable struck a double when Run Forrest took the fifth race under Nash Rawiller, which gave the rider his own brace following an earlier success in race two atop Red Peony.

Two of Hong Kong’s apprentice riders were also on the score sheet on day one: Jack Wong prevailed aboard Adventurer in race seven and Flying Moochi in the last, and Kei Chiong struck in the eighth in tandem with Multimax.

Trainer Me Tsui saddled a treble thanks to Red Peony, Adventurer and Flying Moochi.

A crowd of 63,963 turned out for Hong Kong’s season opener and turnover rose to the highest for an opening day fixture in at least two decades.

HKJC Chief Executuive Officer, Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: “Today’s turnover is a new record for a season opening at HK$1.214 billion, up 5.8% from last year. We also enjoyed a dramatic increase in our commingling turnover from last year’s season opening, up 41.2%. This is a remarkable testament to both our loyal and dedicated fans and the growing interest on our product from overseas markets.”

Photo 1, 2, 3<br>
Danny Shum-trained Lucky Year (No. 6), ridden by Joao Moreira, wins the HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse today.
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Photo 1:
Photo 1, 2, 3
Danny Shum-trained Lucky Year (No. 6), ridden by Joao Moreira, wins the HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse today. nt>


Photo 2


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Connections of Lucky Year celebrate their victory after the race.
Photo 4:
Connections of Lucky Year celebrate their victory after the race.

Photo 5, 6, 7, 8<br>
Mrs Leung, the wife of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR presents the HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup and silver dish to Lucky Year��s owner representatives, and souvenirs to trainer Danny Shum and jockey Joao Moreira, at the trophy presentation ceremony.
ttp://racing.hkjc.com/image/201609/news_201609031610_05-W180.jpg
Photo 5:
Photo 5, 6, 7, 8
Mrs Leung, the wife of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR presents the HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup and silver dish to Lucky Year��s owner representatives, and souvenirs to trainer Danny Shum and jockey Joao Moreira, at the trophy presentation ceremony. /span>


Photo 6


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Photo 8

Mrs Leung, the wife of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, the Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR, Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip, Club Stewards, CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, and connections of HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup winner Lucky Year, smile for the cameras at the presentation ceremony.
Photo 9:
Mrs Leung, the wife of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, the Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR, Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip, Club Stewards, CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, and connections of HKSAR Chief Executive��s Cup winner Lucky Year, smile for the cameras at the presentation ceremony.

 

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