5YO virtually books his place with Sunday's win
Enrichment all but booked his BMW Hong Kong Derby berth with a solid victory in the Class 2 Daffodil Handicap over the 2,000m Derby trip at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The John Size-trained gelding had shown up well in three starts over a mile (1,600m) this term and relished Sunday afternoon's longer trip.
Jockey Joao Moreira rated the Australian import at the head of the main pack, biding his time as Packing Warrior cut out the running from Charity Go.
Charity Go took the lead from the fading front-runner with 350m to race but Enrichment galloped past both of those fellow Derby wannabes to win by 11/2 lengths in 2min 01.27sec.
The five-year-old Savvy Six stayed on to mug Charity Go for second.
"Enrichment does have the quality and he should get in the Derby, he deserves that," said Moreira.
"He's the kind of horse that likes a good, strong tempo. He's a proper stayer.
"The 2,000m, for him, is probably the shortest that he would like and I think he'd appreciate a bit farther."
Another Derby hope, Tigre Du Terre, was scratched from the race when he reached the start.
Trainer Jimmy Ting took the opener when apprentice Dylan Mo made all on Richcity Fortune, and another local rider, Keith Yeung, drove the Benno Yung-trained Chiu Chow Kid to victory in Race 5.
Mo nailed a brace when the Peter Ho-trained I Am Power was a cosy winner of the 1,000m Class 3, from the Douglas Whyte-ridden Seven Heavens. It was Whyte's final day of riding in Hong Kong.
The early part of the card brought a good debut for the Dennis Yip-trained four-year-old Prince Of Gems, who took the Class 4 Cineraria Handicap over 1,200m by 11/4 lengths under Zac Purton.
Race 4 saw the three-year-old Coby Oppa live up to his American-dirt pedigree to win the Class 4 Daisy Handicap over 1,200m under Karis Teetan.
Trainer Frankie Lor's charge was having his second outing and his first on the all-weather track.
Trainer Tony Millard was at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in Australia but that didn't stop his Hong Kong International Sale Graduate (ISG) Super Star improving his record to two wins from four starts in the Class 4 Orchid Handicap over 1,400m.
Silvestre de Sousa was in the plate for that success and the in-form Brazilian wrapped up a treble for himself and Lor when another ISG, the six-year-old Noble De Love, won the Class 3 Peony Handicap over 1,200m on the dirt, followed by Right Choice in the finale, the Class 3 Rose Handicap over 1,400m.
That last race saw Whyte deliver the John Moore-trained debutant Uncle Steve on a well-judged run to place fourth, despite breaking from Gate 14.
It may have been a defeat but the ride reminded the Sha Tin faithful exactly what they will be missing, now that one of the sport's finest tactical minds has hung up his saddle.
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley tomorrow with a nine-race card, featuring the Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge finale.
The first race starts at 6.45pm. - HKJC