Manfred Man blames typhoons as Victor The Winner rains on Lucky Sweynesse’s parade | HK Racing

Manfred Man Ka-leung attributed Lucky Sweynesse’s loss in Sunday’s Class One HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin to Super Typhoon Saola and the Typhoon Haikui-influenced record rainstorm.

Man raised many eyebrows with his decision to run the world’s highest-rated sprinter outside Group company for the first time since he carried 115 pounds to victory in last season’s opening-day feature.

Punters backed Lucky Sweynesse to lug 135 pounds – 20 more than each of his five rivals – and become the event’s first multiple champion, but the $1.20 favourite settled second last from the outside gate and despite looming in Victor The Winner’s mirrors at the top of the straight, he failed to accelerate past Danny Shum Chap-shing’s front runner.

Zac Purton put away his whip 100m out when it became clear Lucky Sweynesse could not reel in Victor The Winner and jockey Karis Teetan. Last year’s Hong Kong Speed Series hero finished the two-and-half-length runner-up and suffered the joint widest losing margin of his career – the same as his luckless 2022 Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) sixth behind Wellington.

“I said before the race he had only a chance,” Man said. “With the weight difference, the work we missed because of the typhoon and the heavy rain, it was always going to be hard to win. Also, I don’t think he handled the going with the big weight.”

Purton agreed with Man that Lucky Sweynesse was a victim of unfortunate circumstances on his return.

“It’s not easy,” Purton said. “He had one trial coming into this race, had to give 20 pounds away on a soft track and the poorest run of his career previously was on a soft track, so he had all that against him. Then with the slow sectionals early, it wasn’t his day, but I thought he ran very well.”

Lucky Sweynesse gave 20 pounds and an arrogant one-and-a-quarter-length beating to Victor The Winner in June’s Group Three Sha Tin Vase (1,200m), but that contest occurred on a good-to-firm surface on a dry evening, not a yielding track on a wet afternoon.

Teetan concurred with Man and Purton that Hong Kong’s wild weather contributed to Victor The Winner turning the tables on Lucky Sweynesse.

“With the weather playing up a bit lately, some horses have missed work, but we had two trials,” Teetan said. “I thought my horse, in his last trial, showed me he’d improved a lot since last season.

“After I saw the rain today, I thought it’s going to make it hard for [Lucky Sweynesse] with that weight and the way the track is. I thought we took our chance, and it worked out pretty well.

“The race worked out as we wanted. We studied the tempo. We wanted a very good jump and to get to the front. I think I won the race in the first 400m when he got his own way, and he was really comfortable.

“Into the straight, when I picked him up, he really gave me a kick. I think he’s improving. I thought his last run was a really good run. Of course, he’s going to have to run with the big boys now, but I think he’s going to build his confidence, and he’s going to put his name out there and compete at that level.”

December’s HK$26 million Hong Kong Sprint is Shum’s primary objective for Victor The Winner, who has competed exclusively over Sha Tin’s 1,200m journey for six victories from nine starts.

“He’s a good horse,” Shum said. “With a light weight, a wet track and the pace – Karis held the pace fantastic – he was able to win. Hopefully, he can go to Group races. December’s sprint race is the aim.”

Victor The Winner was the first leg of a treble for Shum. Champion Method won the Class Four Lin Fa Shan Handicap (1,000m) to make a triumphant debut and get Purton off the mark this season, and the champion jockey steered Supreme Lucky to success in the Class Three Lantau Peak Handicap (1,200m).

Purton notched a Sha Tin treble of his own, riding Francis Lui Kin-wai’s All Is Good to victory in the Class Three Sunset Peak Handicap (1,400m) as well.




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