Kamaruddin takes out apprentice challenge
Joe Kamaruddin was in red-hot form at New Plymouth on Thursday when taking out the apprentice jockeys challenge.
He opened his account with a win aboard the Robbie Patterson-trained Swiss Kitty in the 1200m maiden before going on to win aboard stablemate Dame Vera in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m).
He closed his account with victory in the last race on the card aboard the Darrell Hollinshead-trained Lord Valentine, giving Kamaruddin a treble and the apprentice challenge title.
Kamaruddin now sits on 28 wins for the season and he was pleased with his success on Thursday.
"I have to thank all the trainers and owners who have supported me today," he said. "I was able to ride some nice horses and it was a lucky day today."
It was also a special day for fellow apprentice jockey Jeetesh Mudhoo who recorded his first win from his first raceday ride when victorious aboard Jane O' in the Dave Brophy Memorial Maiden (1600m).
Kiwi-breds impress at Happy Valley
New Zealand-bred horses brought up an early double at Happy Valley on Wednesday, winning the first two races on the card.
Karis Teetan's victory on the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Gem in the opener underlined his soaring confidence as the gelding blitzed his rivals with a two-length win in the Class 5 Yan Chau Tong Handicap (2200m) in class record time of 2m 15.87s.
Starting from gate 12, Teetan unleashed Sky Gem near the 1000m mark with a decisive mid-race move, taking the lead leaving the back straight before careering away.
"We discussed those tactics before the race and they worked out perfectly," Fownes said of the son of Niagara. "He was the best stayer in the race but he needed to be ridden that way. He did something similar last year with Vincent (Ho)."
Sky Gem was a $50,000 purchase by Magus Equine out of The Oak Stud's 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale yearling draft.
In the following race, Packing Victory impressed on debut winning his 1200m contest by 2-1/2 lengths.
Trainer Danny Shum hopes Packing Victory can measure up as a Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Classic Series contender next season after the New Zealand import overcame inexperience and older rivals to post the eye-catching victory.
Expertly handled by jockey Zac Purton, the Reliable Man gelding justified favouritism to prevail despite racing greenly in the latter stages, prompting Shum to declare the three-year-old a prospective candidate for the Classic Series, a triple-header which culminates in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) next March.
"Yeah, hopefully. We will see - he's got potential," Shum said, referring to the Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m), Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) and the Hong Kong Derby (2000m).
"He's a nice horse, he's got ability," Shum said. "He'll get further distances as he gets older – 1400, 1600 and 1800m, no problem at all."
Later in the evening Red Majesty brought up a winning hattrick when successful in the Class 4 Silver Mine Bay Handicap (1650m), with Everyone's Delight posted a win in the following event bringing the winning tally of horses carrying the NZ suffix to four.