By Andrew Hawkins
Resplendent Glory has been one of the finds of the late-season period in Hong Kong, and jockey Chad Schofield believes the Tony Millard-trained chestnut is capable of making it three wins in a row when he tackles the second section of the Violet Hill Handicap (1200m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (7 June).
“I think he is up to Class 3,” Schofield said at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning (6 June). “The horse is in very good form, he couldn’t have done much more at his last two wins. I think his latest win was even better than his first one, so he’s on the way up and I wouldn’t swap him for any other horse. He’s still on fresh legs, he’s only had two runs this season and his wins have been soft so I’m looking forward to riding him again.”
Resplendent Glory (120lb) had not raced in 10 months when he stepped out for Millard for the first time in April, having previously finished midfield in two starts for Francis Lui last season.
The Star Witness four-year-old won by a length and a half on his return, before scoring a facile two and three-quarter length success at his last start. Both wins came over the Happy Valley 1200m, the same course and distance he tackles on Wednesday night.
“His previous two wins in Class 4, he was gifted a good gate and just camped behind the speed and showed his customary turn of foot, which is very strong,” Schofield said. “He’s drawn a little awkwardly tomorrow night. He’s a horse that has very good gate speed but he does have a very good turn of foot if he’s ridden accordingly so I will have to go through the race and figure out the best way to ride him.
“There’s a lot of speed inside too, so if we press forward, there’s a good chance we’ll be caught off the track. At the same time, we don’t want to be too far off them and out of reach, so we’ll come up with the right game plan.”
Schofield has had at least one winner at each of the past six meetings at which he has ridden, and the 23-year-old feels he has finally got into his rhythm after a stop-start season interrupted by suspensions.
“I feel I’m riding nicely, I’ve had a good run of late through May and now into June,” he said. “It was good to get another winner on the weekend. It’s all about momentum, I’ll look to keep the ball rolling and hopefully everything takes care of itself. Horses like Resplendent Glory do help, though.”
Among Resplendent Glory’s main rivals in Wednesday night’s seventh race are Lui-trained Amazing (125lb), stepping out for his fourth start, and Manfred Man’s consistent Healthy Luck (125lb). Also creating interest is Dr Listening (128lb), who has his first start for David Hall after leaving the John Size yard.
The second section of the Violet Hill Handicap is scheduled to jump at 10:15pm.
Purton hoping for trilogy with Litterateur
Also belonging to the “late-season find” category is Richard Gibson’s Litterateur, who came to life with two Class 3 wins over the Happy Valley 1650m in May. He steps up to 1800m in the Class 3 Cricket Club Valley Stakes Handicap on Wednesday night as he chases a hat-trick of his own.
“I think the extra furlong is not a problem, he definitely feels that he should run it,” said jockey Zac Purton, who has ridden the Lope De Vega gelding at his last two starts and who jumps aboard again on Wednesday night. “Obviously, with him, he needs to relax in the run so he’s going to need them to roll along a little bit and if that happens, hopefully we get that turn of foot out of him again.”
Litterateur produced a barnstorming win from the tail of the field two starts ago before grinding to victory from a closer spot in running last time out. Purton believes the French import is more likely to be ridden colder this time from gate 10.
“He was certainly impressive two starts back, it was a great effort,” Purton said. “Last start, he was a little more plain but the track that night, it was very hard to make up ground so I had to let him settle a little bit closer than what is probably ideal for him. I think barrier 10 will probably force our hand a little bit and hopefully he will show what he did two starts back. If he reproduces that run, even with the extra weight on his back, I think he will be a good chance again.”
Litterateur (133lb) heads a 12-runner field that includes two Gibson-trained stablemates, Happy Contender (125lb) and King Of Mongolia (116lb), as well as last-start Class 4 winner King’s Man (116lb) and course and distance victors Rickfield (129lb) and Easy Hedge (117lb).
The Cricket Club Valley Stakes is slated to begin at 9:15pm, with the opener, the Class 5 Mount Cameron Handicap (1650m), set for 7:15pm.
Resplendent Glory remains unbeaten this season after winning at this course and distance last month.
Litterateur lands back-to-back wins in the Sauternes Cup last start.