Stunned by an Easter Monday miracle, Jimmy Ting is unlikely to tempt fate twice by aiming blowout G2 Sprint Cup (1200m) winner Amazing Star at the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on FWD Champions Day on 25 April.
Struggling to comprehend the fact Amazing Star – a 178/1 bolter – had temporarily laid waste to 2.8 favourite Wellington’s standing as Hong Kong’s sprint heir apparent, Ting jubilated in one of the jurisdiction’s greatest upsets in a feature race.
Easily held in five previous outings, finishing no closer than fourth, the son of Darci Brahma enjoyed a perfect trail behind the speed under Vagner Borges before striking the lead and then withstanding a searing late surge from Stronger.
Beauty Applause was third, ahead of Wishful Thinker, while Wellington crossed in fifth place, two and a half lengths behind the winner.
“I still do not believe it,” said Ting, celebrating the most important win of his training career since being granted a full licence in 2018/19.
“Maybe the pace was a bit fast and it was suitable for him and it was a comfortable race. We had a lot of luck.
“After the start, I didn’t think we could win. Over the last 200 metres, I thought he had a chance – only then.
“At the beginning of the race, I didn’t think he could win. I was hoping he could run a place.
“This is the biggest win for me. Hopefully, there’s some more.”
Asked if a tilt at crack Japanese sprinter Danon Smash in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize was feasible – along with a HK$180,000 supplementary entry fee – Ting was non-committal.
“At this stage, I don’t know. The horse’s fitness is everything. He suffers from back problems, so I don’t know,” he said.
“He is an amazing horse – his name is Amazing Star.”
A four-time champion jockey in Brazil, 28-year-old Borges exalted in the biggest pay-day of his career after annexing the HK$4.5 million contest aboard a galloper who had never won at Sha Tin, posting five previous successes at Happy Valley.
“I’m very happy, it’s my first Group win in Hong Kong, I’m delighted – I have no words to describe how happy I am,” Borges said.
“As the race started, the horse jumped well and there was good pace, so I just sat there. When I asked the horse for a response, he responded really well and I was able to get the job done.”
The success was Borges’ 19th in Hong Kong this term.
“I’ve had to adapt to both racecourses since I based myself here and I know how competitive it is, but day by day I keep getting better and from now on, hopefully I can get some more support,” he said.
-Leo Schlink, The Hong Kong Jockey Club