Ting hits the board after slow start to the season: ‘that feels better’
Jimmy Ting Koon-ho became the final trainer to get off the mark for the 2023-24 season thanks to the victory of Alloy King at a wet and dreary Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Ting was all smiles after saluting with his 28th runner of the term and is hopeful his breakthrough at the 11th meeting of the campaign is a sign of greener pastures ahead.
“That feels better. This season, a lot of the horses, their form is not so good, their rating is too high, and I’ve always been getting bad draws,” Ting said.
“That’s why it’s been so bad, but I hope that later, it will be better. I hope the new horses can help make things better.”
Following a last-start 10th at Sha Tin, Alloy King was stringing together a second successive victory at the course and distance and his fifth win overall from 36 career starts.
After settling midfield from gate four in the Class Five Success Handicap (1,200m), Alloy King finished strongest under Harry Bentley to beat home runner-up Happily Friends by two lengths.
“He’s an honest horse. When his form is good and the barrier is good, then he will give you something,” Ting said of the seven-year-old.
Matthew Poon Ming-fai snapped his own drought in the next race, hitting the board for the season thanks to his victory on Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s Diamond Soars in the Class Four Swifty Handicap (1,000m).
Bentley went on to land a double aboard Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s Healthy Healthy in the Class Four Longines Cup (1,200m), pushing through the pain of the fractured finger he suffered in a race tumble on Sunday.
“The hand is a bit sore, but I’ve been having a bit of rehab the last couple of days. I’ve got it well strapped up, and hopefully, it’s not affecting me in my riding,” Bentley said.
“It’s a fracture, and I dislocated it on Sunday, but under race conditions, when the adrenaline is running, I’m feeling good. It’s good to get a double on the day and win with a nice progressive horse.”
Healthy Healthy’s victory also completed a brace for Ng after the knockout success of $74 chance Tattenham.
Rank outsider Tattenham seemed to appreciate the good-to-yielding track conditions on his way to becoming the longest-priced winner of the season and Ng’s young training career.
A winner on soft ground at Cranbourne in Australia pre-import, the Antoine Hamelin-ridden Tattenham put a run of poor efforts behind him to nab victory by a nose from Happy Trio.
“He’s been quite disappointing all the way, but after the last run, we just managed to get him back to Conghua and get his gear off, and we gave him a trial. Today, the track definitely helped, and that’s what we want to see,” said Ng, who has 11 wins for the season and sits equal first in the premiership.
“Definitely, it was our plan from the stable – the whole staff – to make a good start, and the team has worked very well to prepare for these two months, and hopefully, we can achieve more.
“We’re just looking for better results – there is no target, no number – if we do better than last season, I’ll be happy.”
Also among the doubles was trainer David Hall, with wins to Yee Cheong Warrior and Never Too Soon handing the Australian handler his second consecutive brace.
Bowman’s win aboard Yee Cheong Warrior was his third from as many rides for Hall after they combined with Kyrus Unicorn and Summit Cheers on Sunday.
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