Great treble booster for Casper Fownes
Three-time Hong Kong champion ends dismal month with a flourish
Caspar Fownes wrapped up November's action at Happy Valley Racecourse with a rousing hat-trick on Wednesday night that lifted an otherwise dismal month for the trainer.
"I never panic," said the three-time champion.
"I've been here long enough and everyone else is panicking, but not me. But, at the same time, you like to get the winners rolling."
When Premium Champion snatched Race 3 with a timely nod of his chestnut head, it gave Fownes only his second win for November.
He snared the evening's fourth contest with Haymaker, and, by the time Cheerfuljet took Race 5 easing down, Fownes had rediscovered his swagger.
"Hong Kong's a funny place - everyone judges you on how you are performing currently. What you've done in the past is forgotten, but we've given everyone a little reminder tonight that the Fownes stable is alive and well," he said.
Jockey Zac Purton guided Cheerfuljet to a smooth maiden win at start No. 5 in the second section of the Class 4 Kowloon City Handicap over 1,200m.
The Darci Brahma four-year-old was an easy two-and-a-half lengths clear of runner-up Starlot passing the winning arch.
"He's another nice young horse," said Fownes.
I never panic. I've been here long enough and everyone else is panicking, but not me. But, at the same time, you like to get the winners rolling.Trainer Caspar Fownes on ending his dismal month of November with a bang
"He's just a little bit immature and he's needed to learn how to race the right way.
"He's got good gate speed and gives himself a chance to get into the race.
"The third horse, Peace On Earth, went out quickly in front, we sat behind it and it was a nice, strong effort to go past him.
"He's the sort of horse that can go on and win a few races for us this season."
That win followed Haymaker's three-quarter-length score at odds of 9-1 under Vincent Ho in the Class 5 San Po Kong Handicap over 1,200m.
The result sealed a double for the rider, who earlier stole a march in the 1,650m Class 5 opener atop Francis Lui's 22-rated Golden Cannon, a 12-1 shot.
Ho, like his old boss, has endured a lean November, his most recent score before Wednesday night being aboard Dr Win Win at the Valley on Oct 25.
"It's good for Vincent, he always puts the work in. He comes to stables and rides out in the mornings," said Fownes.
"Haymaker is a horse that's been a little unlucky this season, he's drawn bad gates and the like, and he was very deserving of a win."
Also deserving of victory was Fownes' Premium Champion.
The Norse Dancer six-year-old produced a relentless, grinding drive under Joao Moreira to collar runner-up Rule Thee at the wire.
The nose verdict gave the 7.9 chance a second career success over the Valley's 2,200m.
"That was a good ride from Joao, the run has just kept coming for him," said Fownes.
"There are many times that I've been beaten by a tiny margin so it's nice when one goes your way." - HKJC