Riding change suits Doleuze as Chinchon scores
Hong Kong-based Olivier Doleuze had the last laugh in the HK$18.5 million Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji last night, adding the Lion City's biggest racing event to his resume with Chinchon at the expense of his regular ride, John Moore-trained Zaidan.
Doleuze had won the Classic Cup on Zaidan in February and finished fourth in both the Derby and QE II Cup for him, but Moore had booked New Zealand whiz kid James McDonald to ride Xtension in the Singapore race and stuck with the booking for Zaidan when the Singapore Turf Club allowed the trainer to switch runners at the last minute.
That allowed Doleuze to link with Chinchon in the race and add the Cup to Singapore's other major feature, the KrisFlyer Sprint, which he won on Iron Mask in 2001.
Doleuze gave Chinchon a brilliant ride from the rear to swamp Zaidan in the final 150m in the absence of winning trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, who had flown home to Europe only hours before due to the death of his father.
Moore said he was proud of the effort from Zaidan to finish second, especially in light of the rain that fell earlier in the meeting to reduce the already rain-softened track to a shifty, slippery surface that came against many of the runners and was a major concern to Moore pre-race.
'We know that this kind of surface was not a hundred per cent to his liking so that's a fantastic effort,' Moore said, while jockey McDonald was equally thrilled after giving the four-year-old a perfect ride.
'I think six months from now he is going to be mixing it with the best around,' McDonald said.
The story did not have as happy an ending for the two better-fancied Hong Kong runners, Tony Cruz-trained California Memory (Felix Coetzee) and Thumbs Up (Brett Prebble), who finished well down the track after failing to issue a challenge of any kind.
'The horse had heavy track form in New Zealand and I didn't mind when the rain came but it made the top of the track really slippery and Thumbs Up just couldn't quicken on it,' said trainer Caspar Fownes.
'It's disappointing because you look at the finish of the race and Thumbs Up beat Zaidan and Chinchon easily in the QE II Cup last time.'
Cruz also said that California Memory had not been seen at his best under the prevailing track conditions.
'We know how he can accelerate on firm going but on this ground, he just couldn't finish the same way,' he said.
Local stayer Flax took third ahead of race favourite Zazou, and the local horses enjoyed a big night in the KrisFlyer Sprint earlier, with Patrick Shaw-trained Ato (Barend Vorster) giving the trainer successive KrisFlyers after winning last time with Rocket Man, who had been scratched this week from the 2012 renewal with an injury.
Singapore claimed the quinella with Mr Big running second for Michael Freedman, while UK-trained Secret Asset grabbed third.
The odds-on favourite, Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Krypton Factor, was never in it, settling at the rear and finishing well beaten.