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One For All returns as DBS x Manulife Million Challenge kicks off

By: Declan Schuster   September 12 , 2023

Aiming to build on his first 50-win season in Hong Kong, jockey Lyle Hewitson heads into Wednesday`s (13 September) eight-race card primed to reunite with One For All in a cracking Class 3 Mui Wo Handicap (1200m).

Happy Valley`s first fixture of the season marks the start of the DBS x Manulife Million Challenge, which runs until 21 February, 2024. The competition is for horses racing in Class 3 and above, with points awarded for first, second, third and fourth place finishes.

A first-up win for One For All (117lb) would secure 15 points in the HK$1.5 million competition.

“Hopefully we can get a bit of beginner`s luck and get Mark (Newnham) off to a great start. He`s a lovely horse and he has stepped up in grade now, but with the weight relief that should be in his favour,” Hewitson said.

One For All is trainer Mark Newnham`s first runner in Hong Kong. The on-pacer nailed a hat-trick of wins last term, but faces a stiff test tomorrow night against Reward Smile (135lb), Superb Capitalist (133lb), Allgreektome (121lb), Packing Bole (116lb) and more.

“That`s the unfortunate thing (possible fast pace), to start off in this sort of field makes it a bit more difficult. He`s a horse that`s shown good gate speed and a lot of speed, so the plan will still be to pop out and press on for the first half furlong.

“I think we`re going to have to be wise about the situation, there`s three or four other noted frontrunners, so it does make it a bit more difficult but he is a horse that`s doing well, so hopefully he has a few more tricks up his sleeve,” Hewitson said.

Hewitson has seven mounts, also partnering Goodmanship, Durham Star, Snowalot, High Percentage, Eighteen Palms and G One Excellent at the city circuit.

“Eighteen Palms is also in good form and he will have come on with the season under his belt. That actually looks like a very competitive race with three or four others that are in good form at the moment but he`d be a livewire. I think Snowalot just continues a good vein of form,” Hewitson said.

The lightly-raced Pachisi returns for trainer Jamie Richards in the Class 4 Sha Lo Wan Handicap (1000m) earlier, drawing barrier 11 with jockey Zac Purton engaged.

“Because of his size, you have to be a little bit careful with him and he`s not the greatest of eaters, so he doesn`t make it easy for himself. He trialled up pretty well at Conghua the other day, he`s had the benefit of a summer break and he heads into the race in good order, albeit very difficult from the outside barrier.

“We`re going to need a bit of luck and I`m expecting him to find the line well but when you struggle to draw a gate it makes it very tough for him,” Richards said.

The bay is the lightest runner in the race with a body weight of 995lb. He has previously had setbacks, being found to be a roarer before pulling up with mucus last season.

“There`s lots of pace in the race, so it might set it up for something to come from off them a little bit first time back at Happy Valley on the ‘A` course – it`ll certainly be a challenge for Zac,” Richards said.

Pachisi is yet to win, while Richards closed out a stellar first campaign last season with 35 Hong Kong wins.

“We rested a few of the horses at the end of the season with a view to trying to get them going a little bit earlier than we did last season. Unfortunately we`ve just had a few little hold ups, things haven`t gone our way, the typhoon and the rainstorm has made it difficult for everybody,” he said.

Wednesday`s (13 September) eight-race card at Happy Valley kicks off at 7.10pm with the Class 5 Yi O Handicap (1200m).

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