Click above to watch Fay Fay winning the Hong Kong Derby (G1)…
(Image : RacingB : Footage : HKJC)
MERCEDES-BENZ HONG KONG DERBY (Group 1)
Sha Tin, Turf, 2000m
18 March 2012
Hong Kong’s perennial leading jockey Dougie Whyte, trainer John Size and owner Alexander Wong were handed a near death sentence with the 14 hole at Thursday’s barrier draw, but the ‘Durban Demon’ pulled a rabbit out of the hat to land the Derby for the second year in a row (Ambitious Dragon in 2011).
Fay Fay was a handy winner of Class 2 handicaps December 11 and January 1, earning him a quote of 1-2 for the Hong Kong Classic Mile January 25. He came to win that race following a three-wide trip, but was run down late by the upstart Sweet Orange (USA) (War Front). The bay had some traffic trouble in the middle stages of the Hong Kong Classic Cup Febraury 19, but was essentially excuse-free from there and settled for fourth, two lengths adrift of Zaidan (USA) (Street Cry). That somewhat subpar effort sprinkled with a wide alley, left Fay Fay without a friend in the overnight betting for the Derby, but he firmed to be the third choice at post time.
Away well enough, Whyte pushed the button early and allowed his mount to go up to be a forward factor as Bullish Champion (Ire) (Exceed and Excel) tried to put them to sleep up front. With his chief rivals further behind and with the race being run at a moderate tempo, Fay Fay was always going to get first crack and did so while three wide at the head of the lane. Zaidan, also fairly handy in the running, edged to the front with about a furlong to race, but Fay Fay engaged him soon after and stayed on, as Same World (GB) (Hawk Wing) lunged late. Sweet Orange found himself with plenty of work to do on the turn, was in very tight in the stretch and may have won the race had the wire come a few strides later.
“It’s always nice to win a big race and in Hong Kong the big race to win is the Derby,” said Size, winning the event for the first time. “Fay Fay won a race very early as a 2-year-old, which is probably a bit unusual for a Derby winner. Through injury, he had more than 12 months off the track through his 3-year-old year, but that has probably stood him in good stead as I’ve been able to step him up at his leisure and he made steady progress to the point that he got into the Group 1 races.”
The winner could go next in the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup over this track and distance April 29.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News