Premiere (124lb) dashed to an exhilarating victory in the Class 2 Kwoon Chung Bus Cup Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
“I don’t think I’ve ridden a horse as fast as that, he’s so quick,” jockey Karis Teetan declared after the John Size-trained galloper had clocked a bullet 56.67s, the fastest at the course and distance since December, 2014.
Last season’s Champion Griffin burst from gate six in the night’s penultimate contest, snared the lead and was never headed. The Dylan Thomas gelding upped the ante at the top of the stretch, forging on to tow home runner-up Born In China (129lb) by a comfortable three quarters of a length.
“He’s stronger now as a four-year-old but he won’t be aimed at the internationals,” Size said, referencing December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m). “He’s limited to five furlongs – the 1200 is too far, so he’ll go for the next 1000-metre race at Sha Tin.”
International Races or not, Teetan believes the New Zealand-bred Premiere has more to give.
“I rode him last season and he’s grown up now, the summer break has helped him,” the Mauritian rider said of the 2.3 favourite. “Going forward, he has a nice future in front of him. The thing about him today was that he showed so much speed but then he was still able to quicken. When I pressed him he responded.
“I was being soft on him at the end, he was going easy. He kept going and he felt like if something came up to him he would have kicked again, he still had so much in the tank. He wasn’t the champion griffin for nothing, he has the ability.”
The win was Premiere’s fifth from 14 Hong Kong starts and made it two from two this campaign.
Hong Kong racing resumes at Sha Tin on Saturday, 14 October.