Dances With Dragon (NZ), a son of Savabeel who raced as Hall Of Fame in New Zealand, demolished his rivals in the Gr.3 Premier Plate Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin on Sunday to give jockey Keith Yeung a much-needed boost.
The rider, champion apprentice in 2009/10, nailed his first career Group race win to take his season’s tally to seven wins. That prompted buoyant scenes, with trainer Caspar Fownes lifting Yeung off his feet in a bear-hugging celebration.
“I’m very happy, mostly for Keith, he needed this winner,” Fownes said. “I’m glad that I stuck with him and gave him the chance to do that.”
Dances With Dragon had previously been trained by Chris So and then Peter Ho and won two races for the latter.
Since joining Fownes, he has won four of six starts and improved his rating from 83 to 110.
“He got a good spot and just sprinted away from them,” Fownes said.
“It doesn’t matter what he does now, he’s proven that he’s up to that level. He’s done his job as far as I’m concerned – his first win was in Class 3 and now he’s got a Group Three at his fourth win for me so I’m very happy.”
The Savabeel six-year-old did his early racing from the Te Akau Racing operation in Matamata after being purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $230,000 from the Lyndhurst Farm draft during the 2015 Ready To Run Sale at Karaka.
Racing as Hall Of Fame, he won five of his twelve starts for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards including the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham after earlier winning the Listed Zacinto Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton.
Sold to Hong Kong interests in 2017, Dances With Dragon is one of 99 stakes winners for champion sire Savabeel and was bred by Michael O’Keeffe from the Galileo mare Around The Clock.
Earlier on the card Savabeel three-year-old Regency Master caught the eye when he dashed away from his rivals over the concluding stages of a solidly run 1600m Class 4.
Bred by Waikato Stud, Regency Master was purchased for $500,000 from their 2018 Ready To Run Sale draft by Cambridge bloodstock agent Stuart Hale.
The flashy brown gelding is out of Gr.3 Tauranga Stakes winner (1600m) Lady Chaparral and comes from an extended family that includes Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner Bramble Rose.
The progressive three-year-old won a trial for Brendon Hawtin in New Zealand last year before joining the Danny Shum stable.