Michael Chang’s Rich Tapestry – A globetrotting Hong Kong hero
Michael Chang’s own journey from son of a mafoo in Happy Valley to trainer was amazing enough, but the unlikely sprint star Rich Tapestry then took him around the world.
Michael Chang grew up hearing the horses’ hooves click on Shan Kwong Road outside his bedroom window as they walked down the hill for trackwork at Happy Valley early each morning. Chang’s father Joe was a ‘mafoo’, a humble and hard-working Jockey Club stablehand. The youngster peering out of the family apartment window at those horses grew up to be a jockey and eventually a trainer in Hong Kong.
Chang’s dream was an unlikely one: to win a race in the United States and send a horse to the Breeders’ Cup, and when Rich Tapestry walked into his stable it looked even less likely this would be the horse that could deliver that dream.
Rich Tapestry’s only win in four starts for Dermot Weld was a Dundalk maiden over a mile and at his last start he had finished unplaced, beaten nearly nine lengths, in the mile-and-a-quarter Irish Derby Trial.
“He was bought for the Hong Kong Derby,” Chang told Asian Racing Report. “We kept putting him in mile and 1800m races but he just couldn’t stay. He had speed, but he would just stop quickly. I thought, ‘this horse is a sprinter’, but I never imagined he would be as good as he was.”
Brought back to shorter trips, Rich Tapestry’s rating was soon rocketing towards triple figures, but he was also on a collision course with a sprint division loaded with talent.