Duke Wai scores for outgoing HK trainer
HONG KONG - With just two weeks left to his departure from Hong Kong, trainer Paul O’Sullivan struck with Duke Wai and Jerry Chau to land the Class 1 25th Anniversary Hong Kong Reunification Cup Handicap over 1,200m at a rain-drenched Sha Tin on Friday.
The 62-year-old New Zealander will leave at the end of the season after 18 years. Having forged an excellent reputation as a Derby-winning trainer, he has amassed 515 winners, including a string at the highest level.
Surprised by Duke Wai’s narrow triumph over Winning Dreamer and Blaze Warrior on yielding to soft ground, O’Sullivan boosted his season’s haul to 22 wins. His satisfaction at winning the HK$3.15 million (S$560,000) feature with his six-year-old gelding was palpable.
“Well, he’s always been very honest and I think the track conditions were in his favour,” said O’Sullivan. “I’ve had him since he was three and he’s been a wonderful old horse for us.
“I think he has got an unflappable temperament and he’s a kind horse in the box. When he’s in a race, he gives 100 per cent.
“He has been a marvellous horse – who knows, he might come back to New Zealand and live in a paddock on the farm?
“It’s wonderful to win for the owners. It’s fabulous, it’s terrific – particularly with this old horse.”
Duke Wai improved his record to eight wins from 34 starts for prize money of HK$14.5 million.
His victory also carried significance for Chau, who took his Hong Kong career wins to 95. He will have his 3lb (1.36kg) claim trimmed to 2lb from Wednesday’s Happy Valley meeting.
“This is the next step and, hopefully, I can keep it up,” said the 22-year-old. - HKJC