Chancheng Glory puts Four-Year-Old Classic Series hopes to test at Sha Tin

January 12th, 2024

Edited press release from Hong Kong Jockey Club

On the cusp of riding his 100th Hong Kong winner, Lyle Hewitson hopes Chancheng Glory can advance growing Four-Year-Old Classic Series claims when the gelding contests the Class 3 (restricted) Tin Shui Wai H. (1600 meters) at Sha Tin on Saturday (starting late Friday night stateside).

Rated 79, Chancheng Glory has been a revelation for Francis Lui since blinkers and a crossed nose band were added to the American-bred galloper’s gear, resulting in four consecutive 1600-meter wins – two for Hewitson and twice for Harry Bentley – to emerge as a likely contender for the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Mile on Feb. 4.

Drawn in barrier 7, Chancheng Glory will carry 131 pounds against solely four-year-old opposition in what shapes as a sighter for the HK$52 million Four-Year-Old Series, which also features the HK$13 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800 meters) on March 3 and the HK$26 million Hong Kong Derby (2000 meters) on March 24.

“He (Chancheng Glory) has been an absolute soldier throughout his career pretty much,” Hewitson said, “but this season he’s taken it to new heights and hopefully he can do that again – which he will need to because he’s going to be giving away weight to his rivals and that makes it a lot tougher, but he’s in such good form but he keeps improving and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that he’ll get better with the extra ground. However, that has to be seen to be believed, so at this stage he’s been enjoying it (the mile), and hopefully he continues his fruitful ways.”

With 19 wins this season, Hewitson sits seventh in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship behind Zac Purton (50), Karis Teetan (35), Hugh Bowman (26), Angus Chung (21), Vincent Ho (21), and Andrea Atzeni (20).

The South African has a full book of 10 rides Saturday and hopes to reach the 100-victory landmark before Chancheng Glory contests the penultimate race on the card (ninth race at 4:10 a.m. ET).

“That (reaching the 100-win milestone) would be fantastic but I wouldn’t mind getting on the board earlier in the day, too. It’s a tough card but we’ll be working through it,” he said.

With Purton returning from approved leave of absence to take nine rides, including Four-Year-Old Classic Series aspirants Beauty Crescent (10th race) and Simple Hedge (ninth race), Teetan hopes Pierre Ng-trained Galaxy Patch can successfully bridge a rise in grade when he contests the Class 2 Pok Oi Cup H. (1200 meters) (seventh race at 3:05 a.m. ET).

“He (Galaxy Patch) has got a good record this season, he’s done well so far,” Teetan said. “Everything that’s been asked of him, he’s produced, so I’m looking forward to riding him again.

“He’s kept getting stronger with his wins. Last time, with the heavy weight (135 pounds), he got a nice run through, but just the way he quickened up and put them to sleep was really good. It is a big step (going to Class 2), but when they show improvement like that in Class 3 then, of course, they can hold their form in Class 2. If he gets a good run, he should be competitive.”

The winner of his only Australian start at Morphettville when known as Gulinga Spirit and trained by Will Clarken and Niki O’Shea in January 2023, Galaxy Patch has posted three wins from four starts in Hong Kong.

Saturday’s 10-race card starts with the Class 5 Hung Shui Kiu H. (1400 meters) at midnight Friday night ET.