Valley win makes it five wins on the trot for Success Partners
Nothing succeeds like Success Partners and at last night's rain-lashed Happy Valley meeting the Ivan Allan-trained four-year-old made it five wins on the bounce when leading all the way in the final event.
The son of Last Tycoon, whose winning run started with a six-length dismissal of Va Vite back in November and down in Class Five, battled on bravely to hold Super Freighter.
In the process Success Partners was giving Basil Marcus his first winner back from a three-meeting careless riding suspension as the South African continues on his inexorable path to a fourth championship.
Allan was delighted with Success Partners' victory, smiling through the driving rain which intensified as the night wore on.
'This was a real test of his ability as he's come up a long way, and while he won well in Class Two last time there is a world of difference between Class Two and Class One,' said Allan.
'It is not just a question of 10 or 12 points in the ratings scale, there is a different level of competition involved which is hard to quantify.
'So it was very pleasing to see him do it tonight, though he did have a nice run in front under Basil.
'Mind you, I did tell everyone he would win again after his last victory as I'd mistakenly underdone him and he was blowing hard after the race.' Allan has now sent out 33 winners and is just one behind Patrick Biancone - who didn't declare any runners last night - in the race for training honours.
Replacement Club jockey Eric Saint-Martin stamped his class on the meeting with his second double in two race days.
He rode a perfect waiting race on John Moore's Moon Dancer in the fifth, coming home late to catch Woods Venture who was then knocked off by Amazing Grace for second.
Earlier, Saint-Martin had ridden Jacko up on the pace to take the third event and continue Alex Wong Siu-tan's tremendous season.
The long-serving local handler has now sent out 15 winners for the campaign. In the process, his stable has grown to 37 horses and he has many more new ones coming in next season including nine beautifully bred youngsters bought for HK$8 million in New Zealand.
English riding star Darryll Holland underlined just what a huge talent he is when giving the heavily backed and appropriately named Money Horse a copybook ride to victory in the sixth.
It takes a heap of money to shorten anything from 9.7-1 to 6.2-1 on the local tote and with that sort of gamble it is all too tempting for a rider to go too early.
Not only did Holland bide his time, he also had the good sense to keep his mount out wide and in the better ground as Plentiful Harvest took them along at a suicidal tempo.
Money Horse was still at the back turning for home but he had the momentum building and Holland wound him up to win going away by 11/4 lengths from the improving Divine Express who can be followed, especially over farther than this 1,650-metre trip.
Mick Kinane's natural brilliance saw Mazal take the feature Manawatu Racing Club Trophy by a yawning 43/4 lengths after the David Oughton-trained mudlark benefited from a suicidal pace set by Rambo and the favourite Pride And Joy.
Good Choice was a welcome winner for Chris Cheung in the opener but had to survive an objection from fourth-placed Precious Bobo who was badly checked at the start as Winners' Star shied away from Good Choice.
'I needed that,' said a very relieved Cheung who has had a quiet season.