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A Hong Kong Season review
The 2011/12 Hong Kong racing season drew to a close a couple of days ago as a crowd of over 74,000 gathered at Sha Tin for the Season Finale and to celebrate the champions for the season and a host of other achievements.
First and foremost it was Ambitious Dragon who was crowned Horse of the Year for the second year in a row - after as fierce a competition as has there has ever been for the Hong Kong racehorse’s premierships, the five-year-old son of Pins also claimed, for the second successive year, the title of Champion Middle-distance Horse and added the Champion Miler title.
Trained by Tony Millard he landed the first and second legs of the Triple Crown series – the Stewards’ Cup (HK G1-1600M) and the Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup (HK G1-2000M).
Other horses of note to earn accolades were Little Bridge who was acclaimed as the Champion Sprinter after finding success overseas in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, trained by Danny Shum; he was also crowned the most Popular Horse of the Year in a vote by members of the public.
The Champion Stayer title went to the David Ferraris-trained Liberator. The four-year-old son of Encosta de Lago defeated Ambitious Dragon to win the Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup (HK G1-2400M), the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Improving horses are always ones to take on board and to note and that accolade this year went to the John Size-trained Glorious Days, who defied racing betting odds last term.
In his first season’s racing in Hong Kong the gelded son of Hussonet raced on seven occasions and was victorious on four occasions with all his other starts resulting in a runner-up spot.
The only race during the season in which he was out of the first two was the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo racecourse, his first overseas attempt, on 3 June, what was more remarkable was that his rating rose fifty-seven points throughout the season.
That deals with the majority of the highest accolades and prizes on the equine side, on the human side it was John Size who defied online bets and predictions and took the training honours, winning the title for Champion Trainer for the seventh time with a total of 70 wins.
Douglas Whyte collected the jockeys' premiership for the twelfth consecutive year with 107 wins and he was also elected Most Popular Jockey of the Year for the seventh time, whilst Ben So became the Champion Apprentice Jockey with 22 wins.