Every mid-table trainer in Hong Kong racing dreams of the breakout horse that will separate them from the rest and elevate them to the top end of the standings.
In his fifth season as trainer, Benno Yung hopes Pingwu Spark (Mastercraftsman) is that horse.
The Windsor Park Stud and Graham & Helen-Gaye Bax-bred grey showed a blistering turn of foot to capture his fifth win from eight starts yesterday at Sha Tin racecourse and announce himself as one of Hong Kong’s most exciting young gallopers.
“He’s the horse I’ve been waiting for,” he said. “He’s a horse every trainer wants.”
Pingwu Spark’s sharp turn of foot over the closing stages put away a Class Two field and provided a thrilling end to Sunday’s meeting at Sha Tin.
It also meant the big galloper’s rating will hit triple figures when he is reassessed this week.
Even though the big races are edging ever closer for Pingwu Spark, Yung maintains the 1,362 pound (618kg) galloper still needs more time to show his best.
“I think he can continue to improve and so I want to be patient with him,” he said.
After sitting box seat in the run, jockey Derek Leung kept his cool in the straight when a run didn’t eventuate straight away.
“I couldn’t go anywhere, I just had to wait. I thought his chance had gone,” said Leung.
Yung said. “He’s such a big horse, he needs time to wind up. You can’t just expect him to sprint. I was very worried, but luckily it opened up.”
That sharpness to explode through the gap was perhaps the most surprising aspect of Pingwu Spark’s victory, but once in front, Leung said the big engine started to idle.
“My horse showed more dash than before but he is still improving. When he hit the front he was waiting for other horses to go past him. He put in two big strides and just put them away.”
For many trainers, the Group Three Chinese Challenge Cup (1,400m) on January 1st, over Pingwu Spark’s pet course and distance, would prove irresistible but the patient Yung will wait for a Class One on January 21.
“I think the Group Three race on January 1 is too soon,” Yung said. “I want to make sure that he doesn’t get to the Group races too quickly, I want to step him up gradually.”
Pingwu Spark was purchased from the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling sale for $125,000 and raced as Masterhorseman in New Zealand, winning his second start for Cambridge trainer Alex Oliveira prior to his departure to Hong Kong.
Windsor Park Stud will offer a half sister (Lot 571) to Pingwu Spark by exciting second season sire ShamExpress (O’Reilly) at next month’s New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sales at Karaka.