Healthy Happy, who previously raced in Australia for Peter and Paul Snowden under the name Leviathan, enhanced his prospects for the BMW Hong Kong Derby with a win in the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The son of Zoustar dictated events from the front and jockey Alexis Badel’s judgement proved to be spot on as Happy Healthy prevailed by a neck from Russian Emperor who nosed out Shadow Hero for second place. This was Healthy Happy’s first run beyond 1600m.
“I think the horse had a chance, but I wasn’t sure he could win because it was the first time at 1800m,” said Trainer Frankie Lor. “But I think the jockey is really smart, he didn’t go that fast, so I can say I ‘steal’ the race.”
In Australia, as Leviathan, the horse never finished out of the placings in five starts, binging home two wins in the process. One of those wins was in his last run in his home country on 28 December 2019. He was the sold to Honk Kong interests and arrived there on May 4, 2020.
In Hong Kong, as Healthy Happy, the horse has now also raced five times for three progressive wins which have come over 1200m (on debut in Hong Kong), 1400m an 1800m … taking his overall race record to a smart five wins from only ten starts.
“I had the horse for this tactic to lead and going into the gate, the horse was so relaxed. I was very happy if no-one wanted to lead. I was very happy to do so and this just happened like a dream,” said Badel.
Both trainer and jockey confirmed that, in their opinion, the 2000m race distance of the Hong Kong Derby on 21 March should not trouble Healthy Happy at all.