Derby dream evaporates as Tres Vite bubble bursts
Tres Vite's Derby hopes all but disappeared with defeat at last night's Happy Valley meeting. The last fixture in the Year of the Rat saw doubles for former multiple champion trainer John Moore and the 10-time Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane. The unbeaten Tres Vite, seeking his fourth success victory, was sent to the Valley by his handler, Patrick Biancone, in attempt to win his way into the Derby after he'd been unable to obtain a run in the Classic Trial. The son of Miswaki adapted well to racing under lights at the idiosyncratic city venue but he couldn't cope with the more experienced handicappers, Winning Lad and Royal Attire. Tres Vite had every chance turning for home but the top English jockey Kevin Darley had given Winning Lad a copybook ride and he kicked clear for a half length success.
Darley, who is dashing back to England during the Lunar New Year break to sort out his riding arrangements for this summer, said after racing: 'I've got to know this horse quite well. He's a bit one paced and needs to be ridden handy and then kicked to the front and let the others try and get him. 'He may only have that one pace but he's a relentless galloper and he really puts it all in.' Winning Lad was Darley's fourth winner of his three-month Club Jockey stint. Moore, Winning Lad's trainer, completed his double when his improving son of Bellotto, Pinky Long Legs, justified huge support in the fifth.
The last start winner was supported down to 2.6-1 favouritism and won courtesy of Kinane's determination to get a run halfway down the home straight. Kinane had plenty of horse under him and he had a gap when Sherie Kong edged out on the long-time leader New Asia Sage Kong then edged back in, just as Kinane dashed for the gap and Pinky Long Legs was sandwiched for a number of strides between New Asia Sage and Shaxi Treasure. But Kinane had too much horse and he was able to bustle his way through and go on to prevail by 13/4 lengths and a head from the fast finishing William's Tact and Shaxi Treasure.
Kinane registered his double with an amazing recovery act in the sixth on Classa Speed for retaining trainer David Oughton. Classa Speed was checked 11/2 lengths and sent to the back of his field as Proud of You raced erratically swinging into the top bend. Ellen's Romance was also hampered at this juncture. Kinane then had to steady another half length at the top of the straight and maneuvre right to outside of the field to get a run - he then had to go even wider as Mission Sealed hung out under the whip. But the ground appeared faster out wide and Classa Speed flew to the line in the closing stages to win by a neck, looking value for two lengths.
Oughton said: 'He hadn't done lots of work since his last run a few weeks ago but he's only a small horse and at this stage of the season was fit enough. He's also gone well at Happy Valley before.' Biancone, out of luck with Tres Vite, had taken the night's opening local riders' event with Highland Laddie who improved for the step up to 2,200 metres, despite not having the stoutest of pedigrees, and the removal of the blinkers. The Lawrie Fownes' Trademark showed he is going the right way when taking the Class Five 1,000-metre dash in emphatic fashion.