Hong Kong’s first overseas raid in more than three years proved fruitless in Korea on Sunday afternoon, with Computer Patch and Kings Shield falling short on Seoul’s testing sand track.
The city’s Covid-19 measures meant that before Sunday, the last time a Hong Kong horse raced overseas was when Southern Legend was victorious in Singapore’s Kranji Mile in May 2019.
Computer Patch and Kings Shield competing abroad was a big step forward in itself and hopefully a sign of things to come but the pair won’t be returning home winners.
Computer Patch finished almost eight lengths behind victorious local galloper Eoma Eoma in the Group Three Korea Sprint (1,200m), failing to join Tony Millard’s Super Jockey as Hong Kong-trained winners of the race.
Computer Patch’s connections still pocketed more than HK$230,000 for their troubles but trainer Jimmy Ting Koon-ho said it was clear the six-year-old wasn’t completely comfortable in his first race-day appearance on anything other than turf.
“He didn’t handle the surface because it was a bit deep for him. He jumped out well and was in a good position, but the Japanese horse [Raptus] crossed him and he then got kickback and he didn’t like it. He was then chasing all the way,” Ting said.
“In the straight, when he had a clear run, he was able to keep going – then he was fine. The horse has come through the race fine. At least he’s got some prize money. I think he ran well but he couldn’t handle the surface.”
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained Kings Shield finished well back in ninth in the Group Three Korea Cup (1,800m), with Winner’s Man completing a feature-race double for the home side.
Unlike Computer Patch, Kings Shield travelled to Korea armed with proven Hong Kong dirt form but the seven-year-old does his best work from the front, with Lor lamenting the fact jockey Matthew Chadwick was unable to assume the lead from gate one and was instead forced to take a trail.
“I said to Matthew to lead if he could but, if not, to try and get away from behind the leader to avoid the kickback,” Lor said. “You could see him trying to do that, but he was unable to do so. The horse doesn’t like kickback and you could see that.”
Computer Patch and Kings Shield will now turn their attention to assignments back on home soil. Chadwick and Ting will miss Sunday’s season opener at Sha Tin after travelling to Korea, while Lor remained in Hong Kong to ensure he is ready to hit the ground running locally.
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