Derby 1976-01-17_5 CORVETTE

Pink Cruise Blue Riband


The 2nd filly winning the Derby after professionalized Hong Kong racing




1976-01-17 was a sunny Derby Day running on a fast track.

The main event, Race 5 Hongkong Derby, was contended by a field of seven.

Pint-sized CORVETTE landed the trophy by underlining each weakness of the latest batch of Australian horses.

Her better fancied opponents, including stablemate WIN FIRST, all bit the dust.

The three-year-old filly, always saddled by Peter Supple but booted for the first time that day by French jockey Philippe Paquet.

Started 6-1, she was just too good and fully deserved the victory.





1975-01-01_5, CORVETTE finally had reeled, though an third place objection being over-ruled, pulled her way out of the winners’ stall in the Kukri Stakes.

Before the race general opinion was that she would not see out the distance of the Derby.

She finished second in the three-year-old lead-up race but few believed that she would settle down in 2230 metres and have anything left at the finish.

Then, Philippe Paquet stepped into the picture.

On Thursday morning after riding the filly at track work, France’s number 2 jockey then said he thought his prospects were good.

Explaining that he hoped to settle the filly in last position the Frenchman added: “She has a good heart and plenty of acceleration.”

His plan was executed perfectly two days later.





1976-01-17_5 the 99th Hong Kong Derby, a race that was a tactical battle right from the start.

WIN FIRST, trained by P Supple and ridden by W Hartack, was pulling hard in the early stages.

With SILVER KING striding to the lead soon after the start most racegoers were expecting him to take up his usual role as pacemaker.

Surprisingly his new jockey, K. Y. Tse, had other ideas and once he did take up the running the jockey attempted to settle his mount down.

Tse appeared to have great difficulty in controlling SILVER KING.

The horse was racing with his head on the side and with his mouth wide open.

It wasn’t until the pace was increased at the 1000 metres mark that he started to stride out.

LONDON BRIDGE strode past him and took the lead.

Horses run at a dawdling pace until the field turned out of the home straight the first time.

Paquet had the filly in last place down the straight after the first bend and she traveled very well.


Approaching the home turn there were a great number of chances.

NUCLEAR WORLD attempting a third win for John Brown in the griffin classic, was still there on the inside.

SILVER KING had something left and COMMENDATION was poised behind them looking a big threat.

Philippe Paquet said the only anxious moments he had during the race were when he was forced to straighten CORVETTE in the home straight.

“She started to race badly when I hit her once with the whip in the left hand, so then I switched the whip to my right hand and she raced away.” the Frenchman said.

At the 250 metres mark, CORVETTE, with Paquet riding hard, put in her claim right down the outside.

The filly burst to the lead and went away to win by a half-length.


NUCLEAR WORLD’s trainer John Brown said he had expected his horse to run well.

At the 200 metres mark it looked as though the trainer would take off his third Derby in the space of four years.

But CORVETTE‘s fast finish put an end to the dream.


Another three-year-old colt LONDON BRIDGE (16-I) hung on grimly for second place.

He battled on gamely and ensured a good-sized quinella dividend of $467.

LONDON BRIDGE had every chance and jockey Geoff Lane said :

“There are no excuses. His run was an improvement on his performance in the Centurion. I was pleased that he did run on but he just wasn’t good enough to win.”

CHIC CHIC (12-I), another youngster ridden by B Burnett struck trouble as he had been blocked for a run in the final, finishing third.

COMMENDATION (3-1 favorite) was swamped in the home straight and plodded on to take fourth place.

SILVER KING (5-1), ridden by K Y Tse, was pulling hung throughout.

The other fancied horses in the race WIN FIRST (4-1) and LONDON BRIDGE (7-1) were all relegated out of the money.





In winning, CORVETTE also put paid to the other theory that she wouldn’t stretch out on a rock hard track.

Her previous performances in heavy going and on the sand track had been exceptional before she disappointed slightly on a firm surface.


After the race, Peter Supple revealed that he had preferred the chances of WIN FIRST essentially.

He slightly doubted CORVETTE‘s ability to get the distance and settle in the early part of the race.

“Things really played into her hands a bit,” Supple said after the race. “The slow pace early helped her and she ran home well.”

The trainer added that he was very disappointed with the run of WIN FIRST (4-1) whose run he described ” too bad to be true.”

”Before the race I thought he would run out the distance better than CORVETTE but he was very disappointing.” Supple said.


Three year olds made a clean-sweep of the Derby placing’s pushing the older brigade out of the picture.





More than the glory, Philippe Paquet elated with the Derby win on the eve of his wedding.

2015-03-02, S T Wong recalled that as the assistant trainer of Supple Stable, he told Mr Swaine on the eve of Derby at the Furama Revolving Restaurant that CORVETTE should be the sure winner if ridden by Paquet.

It was because among all those jockeys eligible for the run, only Philippe could have the ability and willingness to execute all the tactic and instructions.





Derby 1947-01-14_3 NORSE QUEEN – 《RacingMemories.HK》

Derby 1966-05-21_3 TENDER HEART – 《RacingMemories.HK》

ELEGANT FASHION (C190) – 《RacingMemories.HK》

Derby, The Hong Kong Racing Tradition – 《RacingMemories.HK》


Acknowledgment to Mr Peter Yuen for providing data.

Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering record.





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