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Captain Sweet

Captain Sweet (near) narrowly denies Noble Alpha at Sha Tin on Sunday

  PICTURE: Wallace Yeung  

Captain clings on for Panasonic Cup victory

Report: Hong Kong, Sunday

Sha Tin: The Panasonic Cup (Class 1,7f)

CAPTAIN SWEET (John Moore/Darren Beadman) looks a force to contend with come the Mercedes-Benz Classic series of races for four-year-olds in the New Year judged on the strength of his determined victory in the Panasonic Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Trainer Moore islikely to have an embarrassment of riches to choose from in the forthcoming trio of Group 1 races reserved for four-year-olds - Admiration and Smart Giant are already highly regarded Derby contenders not to mention the likes of British recruits Dominant and Rave who have yet to race locally - but he will no doubt also find a slot for Captain Sweet in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile at the end of January.

Australian-bred from the first crop of leading young stallion Fastnet Rock, Captain Sweet is a graduate of the now disbanded Subscription Griffin scheme whereby some Hong Kong owners picked up their horses by ballot for a fixed fee.

Owner Wong Chin-leung certainly fared best of his peers in being allocated Captain Sweet, a gelding who has won six of his ten starts and has yet to finish out of the first three.

His latest victory came the hard way, too, under top weight from a wide gate and he was left in front plenty long enough for useful German import Noble Alpha to gun him down in the straight, but Captain Sweet clung on gamely to scrape in by a short-head.

Richard Gibson - Trainer

Richard Gibson: struck at Sha Tin

  PICTURE: HKJC  

Trainer Danny Shum and jockey Zac Purton starred elsewhere on programme with both bagging trebles and special mention should be made of Shum's feat as he also prepared two minor placegetters from the team of five runners he sent on the short walk to the track.

Shum, who now shares the lead at the head of the trainers' table with John Size on 14 winners, engaged Purton to good effect on newcomer Fionn's Treasure and particularly Scarlet Camellia as the latter took out his third race from four starts and could end up being a Derby candidate in March as stamina does appear to be his forte.

Lucky Follow Me (Gerald Mosse) provided Shum with his other winner while the Frenchman capped a fine weekend - he also won the Zipping Classic in Melbourne on Americain on Saturday - when making every yard of the running on the well-backed British import Bullish Champion (Tony Cruz) in the finale, a Class 2 sprint.

In his former guise, Bullish Champion raced as Crown Prosecutor for Brian Meehan and chased home Approve in last year's Gimcrack Stakes at York and was shedding his Hong Kong maiden status at the third time of asking. The race was also notable for the first defeat suffered by the uneasy favourite Longwah Supreme.

Finally, with his firstfour winners in Hong Kong having being confined to lower rungs of the local handicap system, Richard Gibson welcomed his first Class 3 success when Winning Edge (Olivier Doleuze) finished strongest of all at the end of his 7fjourney.

 

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