Sports Legend BMW HK Derby Marker for Danny Shum

March 20, 2024

Sports Legend bolts in for Angus Chung. (HKJC/Alex Evers)

Leo Schlink

In the midst of a stunning season, Danny Shum set the tone for another potentially momentous weekend – highlighted by a dual tilt at the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin and Victor The Winner’s G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) bid in Tokyo on Sunday (24 March) – with Sports Legend’s blistering win at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (20 March).

Aiming to add to the season’s bulging haul of Group 1 features – Romantic Warrior’s triumphs in the W. S. Cox Plate (2040m), LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) and Victor The Winner’s Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) – Shum’s Derby hopes rest with Chill Chibi and Helene Feeling.

“It’s a busy week,” Shum said. “No doubt (it’s a big weekend). I’ll just focus on the races. “He (Sports Legend) got a good draw (barrier three) and he had the benefit of Angus’ five-pound claim, so everything worked out. The owner gave me the mission to win a (PP) bonus (of HK$1.5 million) in Class 3, so this win gives me confidence to win in Class 3.”

By Deep Field, Sports Legend won twice in Sydney when trained by Les Bridge before export to Hong Kong. Chung continued an excellent season by sealing a double aboard Tony Cruz’s Colourful Emperor in the Class 3 Tin Lok Handicap (1200m).

Chung’s brace elevated the apprentice into fourth place in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with 34 wins behind Zac Purton (80), Karis Teetan (54) and Hugh Bowman (41).

Shum’s hopes of a second BMW Hong Kong Derby victory are mirrored by those of David Hayes, who scored a double with Red Majesty and Samarkand. The dual Hong Kong champion trainer combined with Karis Teetan to land the first section of the Class 4 Percival Handicap (1650m) with veteran Red Majesty.

Hayes and Teetan will team with Star Mac in the BMW Hong Kong Derby.

Jumping from barrier 12, Red Majesty was given a superb ride by Teetan, who had the horse off the fence before the field left the straight, before the evergreen galloped notched a remarkable ninth victory over the course and distance.

David Hayes celebrates a double. (HKJC/Alex Evers)
David Hayes celebrates a double. (HKJC/Alex Evers)

Hayes followed up with Samarkand, who claimed honours in a tight finish to the Class 3 Russell Handicap (1650m) under Jerry Chau.

Benno Yung also struck with a double with Dragon Pride and High Percentage. Yung teamed with Alexis Badel for the pair’s first win of the season when Dragon Pride finished stoutly to land the Class 5 Bowrington Handicap (1800m) before six-time Hong Kong champion Purton piloted High Percentage to an emphatic win in the first section of the Class 4 Wong Nai Chung Handicap (1200m).

Having spent the bulk of the season on Sha Tin’s dirt, Douglas Whyte’s Colourful Prince blasted to a four and a quarter length victory in the Class 4 Canal Handicap (1000m) under Luke Ferraris, clocking a slick 56.68s.

“He felt fantastic today – credit to Douglas and his team,” Ferraris said. “He was in tip-top shape and showed it.

“He’s always been in races where there have been one or two quicker horses like Super Axiom, who’s ridiculously quick, so today when he could get to the fence and have a breather and get into a rhythm – that definitely helped today.”

Ben Thompson slotted his second Hong Kong win when Courier Magic overpowered Strongest Boy to clinch the second section of the Class 4 Percival Handicap (1650m) for Jamie Richards after Viva A La notched the second win of a busy campaign with victory in the Class 5 Leighton Handicap (1200m) under Matthew Poon. Contesting his 12th race of the season, the Showcasing gelding slotted his second win over the course and distance.

Hong Kong racing continues on Sunday (24 March) with the HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin.

@Jonathanstettin Very well written article. The sport will be missed by many...The time is now

Kirkrobinson @OaklawnLover View testimonials

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