Racing

283-1 shock by Top Military

It's the longest-priced win at Happy Valley since 1971

Top Military delivered a bazooka of a shock at Happy Valley on Wednesday night to help jockey Ben So to his first double since November 2016.

The six-year-old became the longest-priced winner at Happy Valley since Hong Kong racing turned professional in 1971.

He rattled home at odds of 283-1 under So to pip the 1.6 favourite Sky Show in section two of the Class 4 Staunton Handicap over 1,200m.

"Unbelievable,"said So. "If you see the record of the horse, you couldn't expect he'd run that well."

Top Military won a couple of races on wet tracks in New Zealand in 2017 but had gone eight races without success in his injury-hit Hong Kong career.

The Benno Yung-trained gelding, who finished last of 12 over 1,650m a month ago, had previously raced around at odds of 434-1 and 374-1.

"I think the first-time blinkers must have changed the horse," said So, who will retire at this season's end.

"He was flying home. I'm very happy anyway."

Top Military outdid the Andy Leung-trained Kimberley Mine, who set a then-record - post-1971 - Happy Valley dividend of 196-1 on March 15, 2006.

Winning Associates holds the overall professional era Hong Kong record with his 317-1 win at Sha Tin in 2001 but, back in the amateur days of 1968, a 356-1 shot prevailed at the Valley.

Digging back even further, in 1939, before thoroughbreds took over the circuit, a "pony" named Starlet paid HK$3,711.10 (S$670) for a win in the Nil Desperandum Stakes over a mile, although the record is unclear about whether that was for a HK$10 or a HK$5 stake.

So followed up aboard the 52-1 chance Divine Unicorn in the Class 3 Lyndhurst Handicap over 1,650m. The Chris So-trained six-year-old broke his local maiden at start 15 to give his rider a fourth win for the campaign. - HKJC

HORSE RACING