Biancone-trained galloper shows shape of things to come with impressive
THERE'S no substitute for sheer class as Deauville, the horse that no one wanted, yesterday splashed his way to victory through the sodden Sha Tin sandmesh and on to the Derby shortlist.
The French-bred, racing for only the fifth time in his career and the first time this season, won on raw ability rather than fitness when holding Timah's determined challenge by three-quarters of a length in the feature Ladies' Purse, the pair pulling clear of Seattle Pride who just held stablemate Wang Tak Supreme for third.
Master trainer Patrick Biancone has Deauville in the International Cup but is almost certain to set the son of Groom Dancer specifically for the Derby instead.
'I want to give him a Bumper Star-style preparation,' explained Biancone with reference to his prolific last season acquisition who won six races on his way from the middle of Class Three to the top of Class One.
'I will take it as slowly as possible with this horse and try to dodge the real stars for a little while as I want him to learn and get experience and improve naturally.
'That's why he is almost certain not to take up his engagement in the International Cup even if he is high enough in the ratings by December to get selected.
'I don't want to take on the older, seasoned horses at that level at this stage of his career. There is always next season.' It was only a piece of quick thinking by Biancone that brought Deauville to the territory in the first place as the good-looking three-year-old, who is still a colt, was led out unsold as a yearling at the Deauville sales.
'He was the very first lot of the sale and as so often happens with the early lots he didn't make his reserve and I was able to snap him up in a private deal after the auction,' said Biancone. 'Now I've got another Groom Dancer, from the same female line, arriving in similar circumstances and the signs are that he can run a bit as well.' Whatever Deauville accomplished yesterday, the win spoke volumes for his future career in the territory.
He'd never been beyond a mile before and here he was tackling 1,900 metres first time out without having been given a hard preparation whatsoever.
'Look, my view is that while Timah is a very honest horse and very good in these handicaps, there is no way that Deauville beat a strong field today,' said Biancone trying to keep the performance in perspective.
'But he hadn't been squeezed at all to do so and we are all hoping that he will improve for the run. It looks that way.
'I also think that if it had been 1,800 metres he may even have been beaten as the tempo is so much stronger in those races.' Yesterday Eric Legrix kept Deauville tucked in behind the speed set by Bounty.
Legrix, putting in another faultless display with wonderful balance, those kind hands and yet that iron determination, produced him at the top of the straight and only asked him to do enough to win. Timah ran home stoutly from the back of the field while Wang Tak Supreme would probably have been third had he not got a little lost under his apprentice as they cornered for home.
Amza Glory stuck on for fifth but didn't handle the wet track, according to jockey Piere Strydom.
There were welcome wins for local riders Victor C. F. Chan and Vickie C. W. Choi when the mud-loving Fortune Ride took the last from the favourite Super Freighter and another swimmer, Prince Emilio, benefitted from a soft lead to take the fifth. Super Freighter was taken on the whole way in the last and jockey Tony Cruz reported that his mount was dossing in the straight and would benefit from the application of blinkers.
Basil Marcus conjured a great late burst from Easy Champ to get Chris Cheung off the mark for the season in the sixth in which Gold Venture was unlucky and Grand Way ran really well, having blown the start.
Red Wine continued Andy Leung's bright start to his training career in the fourth. He also compensated winning jockey Rambo Tse for a three-meeting ban imposed earlier for careless riding on the mega-plunge horse, Merry Maple, in the second.
Apprentice Martin C. K. Tsang received a similar ban for starting the chain reaction which led to Galaxy losing his position on the fence shortly after the start in the fifth.