Mighty Quinn gets the dirt on Red Jeans
DIRT racing ended with a sensational public gamble coming good on Red Jeans in the last race at Sha Tin last night.
The Wong Tang-ping-trained four-year-old drifted marginally from 14-1 to 15-1 immediately after the weighed in from the sixth event yet was then thumped into 6.1-1 by the general public by the time they were going into the gates. That price was further shortened to 5.5-1 when Captive Trick was withdrawn.
According to those who monitor the tote professionally, the money came from all corners of the territory and not just in a few very large bets, pointing to this being a public coup rather than an 'inside job'.
Red Jeans' many supporters would not have been on very good terms with themselves until the final 100 metres as he was soon back to the rear of the field in this Class Three, 1,150-metre contest. Jockey Richard Quinn even had to give him a crack with the whip in his left hand as they swung for home.
But Red Jeans has always done his best work close home and as Dragon's Pal's tough run up on the speed began to take its toll, Quinn and Red Jeans swept past to win going away by 21/4 lengths.
Quinn was completing a double which had been initiated by New Airport's tenacious defeat of Crown Commander in the third event.
In doing so he was also completing a double for Ping who sent out the heavily backed Walk Big to take the fifth and achieving the goal he set himself when arriving in the territory for his three-month Club Jockey stint.
After racing, the highly rated Quinn beamed: 'When I came here I set myself an aim of 10 winners for the three months. Tonight's double takes me to 11 and I couldn't be happier with the way things have gone.
'To achieve my goal with a month to spare is a real bonus but there's no way I'll be resting on my laurels. This is not a town for complacency. There's another meeting on Saturday and I'll be just as fired up for that.' Quinn and New Airport looked as if they might have to settle for second when Crown Commander swooped at the top of the straight in the third event.
But the Alex Wong Siu-tan eight-year-old stays all day and he gradually wore down Crown Commander to prevail by a head under a vigorous ride from Quinn.
For the in-form Wong, fresh from buying nine yearlings for the best part of $8 million at the recent Karaka Sales in New Zealand, it was win number 12 in a cracking season which sees him with the highest win-to-runner ratio in the training ranks. Fractionally under 14 per cent of his 82 runners have won.
The second event had earlier seen Wong's stable all but land a betting plunge on Omnipotence who is by Take Your Partner, the same sire as Neville Begg's former International Bowl hero Winning Partners.
The Darryll Holland-ridden Omnipotence, supported from 10-1 to 6-1 after a much better run last time, cruised up to Winning Vincent halfway down the home straight but that man Basil Marcus so often keeps something up his sleeve.
That was how it proved as he kicked again on Winning Vincent to prevail by 11/4 lengths.
Marcus repeated those tactics on Peter Ng Bik-kuen's Trustwell in the sixth. The South African made all and had enough in reserve when Win Tack loomed up dangerously to repel that challenge. For Marcus it was win number 38 as he races away with his fourth championship. If he stopped now he'd be virtually impossible to catch.
Ng was also in double form as he took the opening event with Over The Blues who is finally coming good as a six-year-old, having shown plenty of promise when a three and four-year-old. Holland, out of luck on Omnipotence, did the job well for Ping on Walk Big to end a surprising run of 46 mounts without a winner.