The David Hall-trained Ho Ho Khan advertised his potential for top-grade races next season with a fine victory in the Gr.3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup Handicap (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Hall suggested the son of Makfi would not press on to the Gr.1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) at the end of this month, with the Hong Kong International Races in December a probable long-range target for the improving four-year-old.
“My intention would be to put him away now and hopefully he can mature a bit more and we might have a horse for December,” Hall said.
Jockey Vincent Ho had Ho Ho Khan mid-pack on the rail in the nine-runner feature before the rider switched out at the top of the straight and wound up his mount to accelerate past front-runner Helene Leadingstar 250m out.
The New Zealand-bred colt stretched two and a half lengths clear of runner-up Savvy Six on his first attempt at the distance.
“I knew he would handle the distance and as long as I balanced him up and had a nice, relaxed, smooth run he’d be a good chance. He did it very well,” Ho said.
But neither trainer nor jockey was advancing the notion that the compact son of Makfi is a mile and a half specialist in the making.
“He might just not be an out-and-out 2400m horse,” Hall said. “At the 2000m he was still a bit immature. He hasn’t even had a set of blinkers on yet so he still might be sharp enough for 2000.”
Raced under the name Mulanchi in New Zealand when trained by Tony Pike at Cambridge, Ho Ho Khan won one of four starts in his homeland and was sold as a private purchase through Queensland bloodstock agent John Foote. – NZ Racing Desk