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Horse Of Fortune Wins Macau-HongKong Trophy

Horse Of Fortune, under a perfect ride from Brazilian jockey Silvestre de Sousa, denied Tony Cruz’s Romantic Touch a third straight win in the Macau–Hong Kong Trophy over 1500 metres at Tapia on Sunday.
It was 1-2 finish for Hong Kong with Horse Of Fortune under strong riding from De Sousa holding off the late charge from the old warrior Romantic Touch (Joao Moreira) to win by half a length.
Macau’s Pearl Green (Manoel Nunes) was another half length away in third. Litterateur another Hong visitor ridden by Matthew Chadwick was a neck away in fourth spot.
Prepared by former champion Hong Kong trainer Dennis Yip, Horse Of Fortune was given a brilliant ride by De Sousa when he used his inside draw to full advantage by riding vigorously in the first 1 f to make both Litterateur and Pearl Green work hard to cross him.
From then he sat box seated until the top of the straight, then had to ride hard as Manoel Nunes on Pearl Green tried to hold him in behind Litterateur who was still running freely.
Once into space de Sousa switched hands with the whip and sent the eight year old straight to the line to give the Brazilian jockey his first win on the Macau track.
In his prime Horse Of Fortune when prepared by Tony Millard was a two time Group 3 winner in Hong Kong. His previous win before Sunday had been the Premier Plate back in June 2017 when he defeated Romantic Touch.
Dennis Yip only took over the preparation of the South African bred son of Stronghold last September, and said in a post race interview that he had set the gelding especially for this race.
It was Yips third victory in the Macau-Hong Kong Trophy having won the race initially in 2009 with Joyful Winner under Eric Saint-Martin, and again in 2015 with Guru’s Dream ridden by Olivier Doleuze.
Romantic Dream was gallant in defeat with Joao Moreira commenting after that there were no excuses to offer
Heavy rain early on race morning resulted in what was a perfect track being downgraded to soft, and with the new ground toward the inside it played hot to those on the speed and the rail.
Sacred Capital tightened his grip on the Derby with another dazzling all the way win in the days other feature the MJC 30th Anniversary Cup over 1500 metres.
Prepared by Joe Lau and ridden by regular rider Peter Sacred Capital made light of his wide draw out in gate ten when he strode to the front after 1 f and from then on was never in doubt beating Éclair Lightning (Shogo Nakano), with Lover Paradise (Matthew Chadwick) in third.
The outstanding looking son of O’Reilly was being eased down at the line in clocking 1.32.5 just .05 outside of Horse Of Fortunes time in the Macau-HK Trophy.
Whilst the Macau Derby over 1 1⁄8 m in July is the gelding’s prime target, trainer Joe Lau was his usual laid back self after the race and stated has no plans set in concrete leading up to the Derby.
“I’ll just wait and see how he pulls up after this run. There’s no rush I’ll let the horse tell me,” Lau said.
“There’s a lot of races on offer like the Derby Trial, the Guineas and even the Director’s Cup; but you don’t have to run in those races. I’ll just wait and see how he does but it looks like exciting times ahead.”
Sacred Capital has won three of his four starts in the enclave, his only defeat being a close second to Lover Paradise over an unsuitable 6 f after being used up from gate
“He doesn’t necessarily have to lead he proved that in his first win when he sat off the speed; but we’ve had no luck with the draws the last three runs so we’ve had no real option but to go forward. Also now we know he can handle any track is a plus as well.” Lau said.
Lau won his first Derby in 2015 with The Alfonso and then picked up his second with Sacred Man in 2017. Sacred Capital like The Alfonso and Sacred Man is raced by Dato KS Yap and Chen Ching Lung.
Mister Kaopu prevailed in a nail biting finish to take out the 27th running of the Group 1 Chairman’s Challenge Cup over 1200 metres.
In a deceiving head bobbing finish it appeared at first that the rank outsider Smart Win at odds of 80/1 under Oscar Chavez, had dived late on the rails and edged out Ruan Maia on Mister Kaopu.
On closer scrutiny of the freeze frame it was clear that Smart Win got his head up slightly as they hit wire, and Mister Kaopu had stretched his head down. The judge’s verdict was a nose margin in Mister Kaopu’s favor.
Mister Kaopu is an Australian import by Redoute’s Choice who was initially an $A600,000 purchase at the Sydney Easter sales in 2014.
Prepared in Australia by Gerald Ryan where he raced as Intrusion, in his 11 runs there he disappointed only winning a 1350 maiden at Newcastle.
After being gelded the handsome looking brown was sold to Macau where he was an instant success, winning four of his first eight starts and placing on another three.
Sunday’s win takes him to just under $HK2.6 million prize money.
Macau’s seven race card on Sunday was simulcast into Hong Kong once again with betting well up even with the rain affected track.
Hong Kong punters outlaid a total of $HK261 million on the program, well up from the $HK237 million last year.

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