Aaron Kwok's Dancing Fighter has all the moves, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Aaron Kwok's Dancing Fighter has all the moves

Hong Kong celebrity's newcomer scores on debut

Caspar Fownes, no stranger to training for celebrity owners, could have been forgiven for feeling tense ahead of Dancing Fighter's debut in the Lee On Handicap over 1,000m at Sha Tin on Saturday.

The unraced three-year-old was a first runner for star sire Zoustar in Hong Kong and, sporting the colours of Hong Kong celebrity Aaron Kwok, was a well-backed 2.6 favourite to confirm the promise of a trial win.

It wasn't plain sailing as Eptiwins challenged strongly, but Dancing Fighter found just enough under champion jockey Zac Purton to prompt elation from Kwok and his fan club.

A dashing gold hairstyle made Kwok easy to spot despite being swarmed by photographers and Fownes was thrilled to score again for an owner he describes as "a gentleman and one of the boys".

He added: "It's great for a guy like Aaron to be involved. He has had success with me before but he loves his racing and it's awesome to see everyone buzzing."

Meanwhile, trainer Tony Millard achieved a notable milestone on Saturday - namely 600 Hong Kong winners - when Pearl Champion forged clear in the Chun Shek Handicap over 1,400m.

The South African handler had spent five weeks hovering on 599 since World Record scored on Nov 25. But the former Michael Freedman galloper was sent off a strong favourite and made no mistake under a strong drive from Silvestre de Sousa.

Time will tell what 2019 brings for de Sousa but 2018 could hardly have ended more strongly and the Brazilian matched his previous best Hong Kong total of 16 winners earlier when Dennis Yip's M Reborn responded to blinkers by landing the Wo Che Handicap over 1,200m with authority.

Only Purton has ridden more winners than de Sousa since he arrived back in Hong Kong in early November and, with two months of his current contract still to run, some interesting choices lie ahead in 2019.

The lure of a fourth UK title will be strong, especially with a third child due in the spring, but de Sousa is thriving in his new role and some good judges firmly believe he is a potential Hong Kong champion if he decides to commit for the longer term. - HKJC