Hong Kong – Rejuvenated trainer Tony Millard lauded his promising batch of up-and-coming horses as “the best” he has ever had, following the win of Strathallan on Saturday at Sha Tin.
South African Millard took the lead in the Hong Kong trainers’ championship race with the victory in the three-year-old Chung On Handicap (1000m).
Strathallan – who had the advantage of two prior race starts over an opposition that included a number of first timers – hunted down odds-on favourite Big Party to win with jockey Karis Teetan on board.
With the likes of the lightly raced Singapore Sling and Nassa in his stable already, Millard said he was very happy with his horses and his early season form, but was not one to look at winning records this early in the year.
“We’re not worried about that, we are worried about today only,” he said.
The extent of Millard’s form turnaround with 10 winners in the season to date is shown by the fact that he was able to train just 34 last season at a strike rate of 12%.
He is currently striking at almost 20%.
Despite winning strongly up the Sha Tin straight over 1000m, Millard said he expects Strathallan to improve even further when he stretches out over 1200m.
“He’s a nice horse and I think he can improve. I think what got him over the line today in the end was that he had more experience than the others,” he said.
Teetan agreed that there is plenty more to come for the three-year-old.
“He’s always shown us lots of speed but I think he was just a baby and could not finish off the race,” said Teetan. “The break at the end of last season helped him.” – www.scmp.com