David Jolly finished a frustrating 2022 on a winning note as Hongbao ended a metro drought of almost three months at Morphettville on Saturday.

It has been a period of transition for the Group 1-winning stable with the retirement of banner horse Behemoth a couple of months ago, the focus turning to the next generation.

It means Jolly has had to endure a barren run far beyond his usual high standards, suffering nine metro placings between Declared’s win on October 8 and Hongbao on New Year’s Eve.

After starting his career in Victoria, Hongbao looks a good addition to the team and it seems like he’s got some more wins in store, suggesting 2023 could be a more fruitful one for the astute Goolwa trainer.

“It looked the right race for him but when you’ve had as many placings as we have recently, you want to see them do it and it was great that he got there,” Jolly said.

“He was a bit unlucky first-up and now he’s been able to reel off two wins.

“He’s been a good get, the (owners, the) Roll The Dice boys know the right sort of horse to send over.

“They picked him out after he won his maiden (at Geelong) and thought he could do well over here.

“He’s a lazy little horse but he’ll keep improving.”

Reigning premiership-winner Barend Vorster was the man in the saddle for Hongbao, celebrating his 46th birthday in style with his family celebrating from the grandstand.

“It’s nice to be riding winners on my birthday,” Vorster said.

“I was a bit concerned from barrier one, thinking he needed a bit of space but I was happy when the pace was nice and solid and I was able track up behind the leader,”

“He’s nice and honest and David has kept him nice and sharp.”

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