Qian Gua is Mandarin for, "To worry about," and connections would have had some concerns prior to the race about the confirmed mud lark measuring up to the rise in class, and the firmer track. There was no doubt mid race their worst fears were looking all so true, when the six-year-old was tailed off a distant last in the small field of seven, and in fact lost more ground from the 900 to the 700-metre point. Still a distant last on the home turn, Qian Gua unleashed an amazing finishing burst to storm right over the top of the dead heaters Treasurelakebuddy (Eric Cheung), and the $1.5 race favorite Hostwin Epanoui (Fausto Henrique), winning by a neck on the line.
Qian Gua was originally a $130,000 NZD purchase at the 2016 NZB Ready to Run Bloodstock Sale, for Mr. Hon Shu Ping and the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry.
The gelding won two of his first three runs, both at Matamata for co trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, and placed a further five times before his form tapered off. Relocated to Macau the gelding had his first run in the enclave in February last year, when he ran last beaten 16 lengths over 1050 metres on the sand. Second up the bay led throughout and donkey licked a good field of Class 2 gallopers over 1800 metres on a heavy track, and then repeated that two runs later with another massive eight lengths win in Class 2 again at the 1800 metres on a very heavy track.
After finding himself a bit too highly rated and a lack of wet tracks, trainer K H Leong opted to try him on the sand with mixed results, before Qian Gua found another wet track last month where he easily scored his third victory over 1800 metres in Class 3.
In his 16 runs in New Zealand Qian Gua earned $25,475 NZD in prize money. His four-wins in Macau have raked in $838,000 HKD, and there is obviously plenty more to come, with the gelding having found a new lease of life judging by Saturday's performance.
Fully Realised is another New Zealand import that scored on Saturday when he picked up his second victory in the enclave, with a good win in the Class 5 & 6 (Division 2) over 1200 metres under Japanese rider Masa Tanaka.
Prepared by Stephen Chow, Fully Realised had to wait 21 runs before he broke his maiden status at his most recent start on February 27. It's full marks to owner Mr. Yeung Kam Wing for his perseverance with the six-year-old son of Fully Fledged (NZ); and whilst it was only a lowly class race, the gelding not only won impressively, but ran faster time than the Class 3 & 4 won by Hostwin Achilles.
Fully Realised two wins and five placed efforts in Macau have yielded his owner $362,000 HKD in prize money. Not bad for a horse that cost a mere $6000 NZD at the 2016 NZB South Island Sale.
Nick Moore's perseverance and patience has finally paid off with Hostwin Achilles, who finally broke through for a nice win in the Class 3 & 4 over 1200 metres, to give Brazilian jockey Fausto Henrique a double for the afternoon.
Hostwin Achilles the race favorite, enjoyed the run of the race before darting through on the inside of Roaring Fans (Eric Cheung), to go home too strongly to win by a half a length, with Pursuing Eagle (Peter Ho) a neck away in third.
Hostwin Achilles is a very high-strung nervy type that at times has run his race before the gates open. Moore has been putting plenty of time into the good-looking chestnut son of Deep Field (Aus), to try and get him to relax raceday.
"It's more about training his mind than his ability," Moore said in a pre-race interview.
"He has been getting himself very anxious on raceday and it's been affecting his performance. I've been spending a lot of time with him in the afternoons with long relaxing walks and in different surroundings, and it has helped him relax and settle into the place a lot better.'
"I actually thought he was entitled to win better than he did, given the soft run he had, but at least it's a start. I'll try and stretch him up to 1500 metres with the Guineas in mind."
Hostwin Achilles raced in Australia as Devan, where after being passed in at the 2018 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale for A$160,000. The gelding kicked off his career in the city with Team Snowden before being banished to the bush, where Gosford trainer Adam Duggan won two straight with gelding at Quirindi and Taree.
Peter Ho and Fausto Henrique shared riding honors for the afternoon with a double each.
Henrique won the first of the day for trainer Stanley Chin with Chak Chak who came with a mighty finishing burst to win the 45-0 Special Conditions Handicap, and then picked up his second win later in the day on Hostwin Achilles.
Ho won the final two races on the card with Sport General getting up in the last stride over Sheng Li Superstar (Luis Corrales), to break his maiden status after 12 starts in the 1st Division of the Class 5 & 6 over 1200 metres.
It has been a frustrating time for trainer Ricky Choi and The Shining Star Racing Syndicate with the son of Toronado (Ire) with six placed efforts. However, there are still better things to come for the four-year-old, as his winning time of 1.09.1 was the fastest 1200 metres run all day.
The Patrick Lee trained Ronson was the second of Ho's winner when he came right over the top of his rivals late to win the Class 4 over 1500 metres.
Ronson who initially looked very average in his first seven starts, has now won three races in the enclave; all with Ho in the saddle.