If there was a highlight to the races at Happy Valley last night, it was Matty Chadwick’s daring ride on Little Rainforest.
Having once led all the way over course and distance for the same rider a few months ago, the Danny Shum-trained Little Rainforest found itself at the back of the field. Chadwick then made the decision to make a lightning fast Japanese Bullet Train move and took the galloper where it likes to be- in front and in charge. Like Charles In Charge.
And when many thought, it would be a matter of time before being overhauled, pummeled and having its ear bitten off by the sudden arrival of Mike Tyson, Chadwick kept, pushing, urging and then threw the kitchen sink at Little Rainforest along with some Amazonian beans and got it home at over 55 to 1.
The other runners? Who was watching? Most of us were gobsmacked by the ride and the win- and the payout which wiped out all Triple Trios and Six Up Bonuses.
After being banged up by a horse a few weeks ago and then being hit in the face by a pound of dirt during a race on Sunday, Matty Chadwick was changing his fung shui.
When we did catch our breath and watch the replay of the race, well, it was Matty Chadwick and “the others” including 2 to 1 favorite Golden Addiction. It was spooky shit.
Like King Haradasun, another John Size runner in the previous race- also well in the market- and also ridden by Karis Teetan, Golden Addiction just plodded to the line and was extremely disappointing.
In Race 7, Douglas Whyte on another Size runner well in the market, was another huge disappointment as we almost wanted the caterwauling band onstage to perform Tears Of A Clown.
Chadwick, however, didn’t disappoint and won the next race with a front-running ride very reminiscent of the brilliant Felix Coetzee and also his mentor and former champion Hong Kong jockey Tony “Hello, Mars?” Cruz.
This was when Chadwick got Regency Champion off to a flier when the barriers opened, never ever reached for his whip and took out the Centenary Bowl for the connections and now-trainer Tony “Ground Control To Major Tom” Cruz, who can give anyone within earshot a very knowledgable lesson on how to ride the idiosyncratic Happy Valley track.
Elsewhere, it was good to see popular young Italian jockey Umberto Rispoli get off the mark towards the start of his latest stint in Hong Kong- this kid had a huge local fan club made up of squealing females at the Beer Garden cheering him on- when he won on the Richard “Squawky” Gibson-trained Great Charm.
The riding ranks in Hong Kong are bulging more than our tight jeans.
Then in the last race, for a very tall jockey, Tye Angland found a very tight opening- hmmm- on the aptly-named Little Dreams and racked up a double and took out The Jockeys Challenge.
With a turnover of over HK$1 BILLION for an average eight race card, it’s all building up nicely towards International Week.
Jockeys are peaking along with the horses that will strut their stuff- though the Sean Woods runner Autumn Gold- it came in last on the weekend- running in the Vase is cause for consternation, trepidation and perhaps even some levitation.
Yes, some things in life and racing are stranger than fiction.