Nordic Warrior first victory in Conghua Racecourse
23rd March 2019 (photos and article from HKJC)
Trainer Richard Gibson combined with jockey Matthew Chadwick to record a historic first race win at the inaugural Hong Kong Jockey Club race meeting at Conghua Racecourse today (Saturday, 23 March), marking a new era of horseracing in the Greater Bay Area.
They won the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy (1200m), with the Edmond Yue Kwok Yin-owned Nordic Warrior, which opened the five-race card at the first meeting conducted in the Mainland under the Jockey Club’s jurisdiction in collaboration with the Conghua District Government.
Gibson was delighted to be first on the training winner’s list at Conghua and said the victory fulfilled a prophecy he’d made when he first arrived in Hong Kong for the 2011-2012 season.
“Absolutely this is a very big buzz and big career moment to win the first race here in Conghua and Matthew gave the horse a wonderful ride and we’re delighted. From the moment this race came on our radar we targeted this horse for the race. We expected the pace to be very strong, we know our good horse is a good finisher and Matthew gave him a wonderfully cool, calculated ride.
“I did say when I got the job in Hong Kong I wanted to be the first winner in Conghua. If you look back at the press conference, I said that in quite a loud voice. I’m looking forward to training here, our horses are doing great here and it’s great to be part of history today and to get the Cup from [HKSAR Chief Executive] Mrs Carrie Lam is obviously an extra privilege for us as well,” Gibson said.
Chadwick, a graduate of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Apprentice Jockeys’ School, was similarly pleased to have his name in the record books.
“It couldn’t have gone better, it was basically a text book ride and he was too good on the day. It’s first time up here for a meeting like this and I’m very happy to be part of it,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick described the track as being in perfect condition. “The track is beautiful. The bit of rain probably helped. The rain made it nice, perfect, beautiful.”
Nordic Warrior runs in the Yue family colours and Gibson made a point of noting the family’s contribution to Hong Kong racing.
“Sometimes I don’t think the owners get the recognition they deserve and this owner Mr Yue is one of the long standing and most respected owners in Hong Kong. It’s a wonderful, special tribute to him to come up here in his 80’s today and see his colours perform and he was terribly excited before the race. It’s a huge Hong Kong proud moment for him as well and a great credit to him and a special tribute to a man who’s been a wonderful owner in Hong Kong,” the handler said.