Hail Happy Valley king trainer Caspar Fownes
Explosive Witness gives three-time HK champion his 500th winner at the city track
Explosive Witness ensured Caspar Fownes' moniker as the "King of the Valley" rang true at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, as the handler brought up a significant milestone with his 500th win at the city circuit in the Class 2 Chai Wan Kok Handicap over 1,000m.
A race earlier, he saddled Royal Racer to win.
Fownes has the most wins at the Valley - his heroics at the course include six wins in a day.
He has 17 wins under the Happy Valley lights - the most of any handler this term.
"I love this track. It's been really good to me," said Fownes. "I'm pretty good at placing my horses here and you need a lot of luck when you come here as well."
The trainer was first licensed for the 2003/04 season. He landed the first of three champion trainer titles not long after - in the 2006/07 season.
With 916 Hong Kong wins in total, he has forged a brilliant career, presenting heroes of the turf like Lucky Nine, The Duke, Super Satin, Green Birdie and Southern Legend.
"This is what the game is about, whether it's Class 5 or Group 1 - I just love it. I'm passionate, I always give it everything," he said.
The championship-leading trainer takes his season's tally to 28 wins, as he stamps his bid for a fourth title with a midweek double.
"I said to my boys at the start of the season that I'm going for it this year," he said.
" I think we've got the horses spread across the classes and I'm just going to put the foot down and see what happens. If I win, I win and, if I don't, at least I gave it my best shot."
A late rally from Explosive Witness sealed Fownes' double.
The galloper made it three wins in succession, following an injury-plagued first three years in Hong Kong.
"That horse is special to me. We bought him from one run, he had a hefty price tag on him and he came here and he just drove me nuts - it broke your heart," said Fownes.
The Australian import won on debut at Moonee Valley in March 2017, but had to wait three years to break his duck in Hong Kong.
"Every time you'd get him prepared for a race it'd just go by the wayside and you'd just have to build him up again," Fownes said. "He missed well over a year. It was well documented and I just knew he had so much talent.
"It's so nice to now see that when owners are patient and now he's on his way to paying them back and he's won his last three. He can certainly close off with a massive sectional here." - HKJC