Flying Colours floors punters again
Flying Colours has a habit of causing a boilover in the last race on a Wednesday night, the surprise was that this time it was on Sha Tin's all-weather circuit, as the 76-1 bolter continued the recent trend of longshots and led home a Derek Cruz-trained quinella.
Cruz's so-called 'second stringer' beat a host of surface specialists in the final event on the all-dirt card, including stablemate and runner-up Cerise Cherry.
It was the fourth time Flying Colours had scored in race eight of a midweek fixture this season, but the previous wins were at Happy Valley and this upset was the third time he has stung punters, with earlier efforts at 30-1 and 23-1.
'I actually tipped the quinella, but not in that order,' said Cruz, who said that an administrative error was the reason behind Howard Cheng Yue-tin replacing Flying Colours' regular rider Tye Angland, who rode the runner-up.
'I thought Cerise Cherry was the better choice, because he had form on the dirt, but this horse did come close to winning an all-weather race earlier in his career.
'Flying Colours is a bit of a Happy Valley specialist, but he has really done his job this season. Both horses are very consistent, Cerise Cherry might have some good dirt performances left in him too after he went sour for a while there.' Fresh off training a 161-1 winner last weekend, David Hall continued his late-season momentum with a double.
Hall's produced the longest-priced winner of the season with Gold Tartini on Sunday, but last night's victories were far more predictable - the consistency of Terrega and El Grande finally reaping first-placed cheques.
After starting the season slowly, Hall now has 20 wins for the term and both of the trainer's Class Four victors should win again, even though the slow-rated track probably helped El Grande's cause.
'His action is a little bit restricted and perhaps he liked the softer dirt,' Hall said.
'He has performed pretty consistently at the track and distance all season, he hasn't had a lot of luck with bad draws and going back.
El Grande's swooping win, coming at his 16th start, was jockey Willie Pike's first success of his current tenure, but the Australian could face suspension on Saturday after a hearing into his wayward riding in the straight was adjourned. Tarrega had paid the penalty for his dependable form, creeping to near the top of Class Four through three placings from five starts. Even though there was plenty of merit in the four-year-old's tough win, Brett Prebble getting the most out of the horse to edge New Asia Rising by a nose on the line, the gelding's physical fragility means he may be put away for next term.
'He is another one who has been running consistently without winning,' said Hall. 'He is a horse that doesn't hold his condition well, so I haven't been able to work him as much as I would like. I think he is progressing slowly and he might be quite capable of winning in Class Three.
'He is the sort of horse that will just get that bit better next season.'
Douglas Whyte's relentless march to a 12th straight Jockey Championship continued with a double, bringing him to 94 wins with 15 meetings remaining in the term, but a two-day suspension may have dashed his hopes of breaking his own single season mark of 114.
Whyte was given two days and fined HK$40,000 for his ride on New Asia Rising. Manfred Man Ka-leung was praising Whyte's 'perfect ride' aboard Sparkling, who won the opening event despite being stuck three-deep throughout. Tony Cruz is in Singapore with California Memory, but he still found some success at home, Felarof (Matthew Chadwick) benefitting from a good draw to score in Class Four with a low weight.