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O'Sullivan signs off on landmark Hong Kong season
11 Jul 2016

Paul O’Sullivan made an early start to his mid-year New Zealand sojourn and can now reflect on a rewarding Hong Kong season, which ended yesterday with a personal best of 50 wins.

The 11-time champion New Zealand trainer arrived home last week for some time out with family, even though two meetings remained on the 2015-16 schedule. Last Wednesday at Happy Valley O’Sullivan reached his goal of a half-century of wins when Moment Of Power won a class three sprint on the inner-city track.

“I plan to be back there by the start of August to give me a full month to get to work and be ready for the start of the new season, so I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to get home early,” O’Sullivan told as he reflected on his big season.

“All the work had been done on the handful of runners I had left, so for the past week there was nothing else I could have done.

“As it turned out I got the win I wanted to reach my target of 50 wins. It’s only a number I know, but it still sounds better than 49. It means a lot in Hong Kong to reach that mark.”

O’Sullivan’s tally headed by another Group One win by stable star Aerovelocity earned a total of HK$48.5 million, which converts to around NZ$8.8 million. His 50 wins placed him equal fourth on the premiership, 18 behind Australian expat John Size who took his championship tally to eight.

“After the season got off to a good start I did the numbers and thought that’s what I should be winning,” O’Sullivan added. “So yes, it was very satisfying for everyone involved in my operation to get there.”

O’Sullivan’s final winner, Moments Of Power, had another local connection through being ridden at Happy Valley by former New Plymouth apprentice Kei Chiong, who completed her stupendous season with a double at Sha Tin yesterday.

Chiong’s 37 wins established a raft of benchmarks as the first female jockey to be licensed in Hong Kong for 15 years. She not only secured the apprentice and leading local rider titles, but the ultimate accolade was yesterday's announcement that she also claimed the most popular jockey award as the result of a public vote.

Chiong, who surpassed dominant champion Joao Moreira in the eyes of avid Hong Kong racegoers, is set to make the most of the local off-season by spending the next month with leading South Australian trainer Philip Stokes.

The Informant