David Hall’s Atullibigeal treads path less travelled to Hong Kong Derby
For the second successive season, Australian trainer David Hall has a member of the BMW Hong Kong Derby field in a Class Two 1,400m contest at Sha Tin only eight days out from the HK$24 million feature.
The similarities between Captain Win and Atullibigeal do not end there because both gallopers ran in the same Class Three 1,600m event four weeks before that year’s Derby, with Captain Win finishing fifth in the 2022 Werther Handicap and Atullibigeal leaving, among many others, Captain Win trailing in dominating the 2023 TVB Midlife, Sing & Shine Handicap.
But whereas Captain Win bypassed the Derby following his second placing in the 2022 Pat Sin Leng Handicap – Hall decided not to proceed because the runner-up, again, travelled keenly – the handler’s plan is to use Saturday’s Lung Kong Handicap as Atullibigeal’s stepping stone to Hong Kong’s most prestigious race.
Hugh Bowman has ridden Atullibigeal on each of his past four appearances, of which they have won two as a partnership, but the Australian jockey has not ridden below 123 pounds this term and the Kiwi import’s allocated weight is 120 pounds.