Be There a Blessing in a Win

Be There a Blessing in a Win


photography by Tony Wong
words by Leonard Marlborough & Tony Wong


Blessing Win won the Pottinger Peak Handicap over 1650 metres under Vincent Ho. - Tony Wong.

Never had it appeared possible. Failure be thy name.  

Blessing Win (Vincent Ho) strives to be first home as he draws up to Gorgeous Ruler (blinkers - Ben So) - with Olivier Doleuze relegated to 3rd on M’s Magic.

From nine starts across two seasons of racing, Blessing Win appeared cursed by name. Not once had the simple blessing of good fortune been granted - the Win of his naming nothing more than a tease, a taunt; a chimera.

The patient combination of trainer Manfred Man - and owner Law Hing Cheung - kept faith with the bay son of Dehere from inauspicious debut when 5th (beaten 4 lengths) in January of 2012, through start upon compounding start of unrelenting defeat.

So uninspiring had been his career of nine starts that it had produced just one (third) placing - and a career average losing margin of 6 lengths. While Blessing Win’s two starts into the current season had resulted in 14th and 11th place finishes - with a combined losing margin of 19 lengths.

If possible, Blessing Win appeared to be going backwards.

Lining up for his 10th start, on the all-weather-track at Sha Tin, trainer Manfred Man opted to stretch Blessing Win out to 1650 metres in the Pottinger Peak Handicap - and a jockey change saw Vincent Ho riding for the first time. And quite remarkably - quite unexpectedly - Blessing Win finally found success.

Right on the line. A win to be had with just a touch more effort. The desire for success and the flight from failure. Just a bob. Just a nose. Just enough.

But the script for Blessing Win was never going to be a simple case of underdog made good. This was not to be the first instalment of a Hong Kong tale to match that of the celebrated Australian horse Reckless, who would go down in Australian folklore as a true champion - a horse who failed thirty-three times before finding success at his thirty-fourth start, and thereafter re-writing the record books as he went ever so close to winning all four major Cups run in Australia in a single year.

Though Blessing Win may have been a reckless name, reckless (the success of) was not to be his nature.

Upon finishing the race Vincent Ho quickly dismounted. This win no blessing. This win coming with a cost: Blessing Win was found to be severely lame in the right foreleg.

After 10 starts Blessing Win will grace the racetrack no more. Blessing Win: retired (a winner).