Red-hot jockey Silvestre de Sousa has added another big race to his growing collection, taking out the Macau Hong Kong Trophy (1,500m) with Horse Of Fortune on Sunday.
The Brazilian has enjoyed a golden run during his short-term Hong Kong stint, and teamed up with Dennis Yip Chor-hong to deny legendary trainer Tony Cruz a third straight title at the Taipa track.
De Sousa gave Horse Of Fortune a gun rails run on the rain-soaked track that had favoured on-speed horses all day, but admits he was riding for luck when he elected to sneak up the inside instead of attempting to push out around the leaders.
“When you’re on the inside, you always pray for luck a little bit, but it paid off,” he said.
“The horse is very tough and he really tried hard in that race, he didn’t win by a huge margin, but it was enough to make sure it was a win.”
For Yip, the win was extra sweet, marking his third win in the event in its 16-year history.
It was also Hong Kong’s eighth win in the race, which will have a return leg at Sha Tin later this season.
Red-hot Silvestre de Sousa warns his best may be yet to come.
Yip received the eight-year-old gelding from rival trainer Tony Millard at the start of the term and said he brushed aside suggestions of retirement to set the horse for this race.
“For an old horse, he has done so well, he joined my stable at the start of this season not getting any younger and his rating was very high,” he said.
“So I let him race to drop his handicap a little bit to target this race and it has paid off now.
“There are too many good horses in Hong Kong, it is not easy with an old horse there.”
After pulling off the plan, Yip said he will now consider retirement for the 42-start veteran.
Note: It was confirmed on Monday that Horse Of Fortune has been retired. He is by Stronghold, and out of Lammerskraal mare Sweet Virginia, making him a half brother to current July and Queens Plate champion Do It Again.
He was known as Strongman locally, winning his first three starts for Glen Puller, including the Listed Sophomore Sprint.
The gelding scored another seven wins after being sold and exported to Hong Kong, including two at Grade 3 level, amassing well over R20 million in stakes.