Fownes firmly on course for record-breaking year
Trainer Lawrie Fownes is heading for his best season in his 17 years here following the emphatic victory of up- and-coming Winningcombination (5-1) in the fourth event yesterday.
The worthy - and wordy - winner was Fownes' 35th of the season as the former champion from Calcutta chases a previous best of 39, with plenty of time left to do it.
The remarkable success of Hong Kong comeback star Wendyll Woods continued with this fluent win and he, too, is going to end up with a record tally.
Said Fownes: 'He did not have a lot of luck in his last race and he was coming back after a break. He is a genuinely good horse. He did not cost a lot and he has done his owners proud. On top of that, I would think he will come on from this.' It was a solid win and any tactical queries Woods may have had were quickly answered when the first-time blinkered Calculation set a cracking pace.
The John Moore-trained three-year-old has unquestioned ability, but he ran too freely in the new equipment.
Off the quick pace, Woods was able to easily settle Winningcombination.
As the leader weakened close to home, Heart To Heart (6-1), under Philip Robinson, made his challenge but had no answer to Winningcombination who swept through to win going away.
The disappointment of the race was the 3-1 favourite Telecom Boss who finished seventh under Paddy Payne. It will clearly pay to be very wary of this fellow in the future.
Anton Marcus, who has settled extremely well into the local racing scene after a difficult start, landed Diamond And Gold (15-1) as the shock winner of the opening event on the card.
Marcus had the winner travelling just off the pace set by Time Well and was quickly on the heels of Master Magic (7-5 favourite) who started after a rodeo display that certainly did nothing for the horse's nerves.
Master Magic was so clearly there on sufferance it was simply a case of Marcus slipping by him on the eventual winner, who was the most experienced runner in the field.
Master Magic hung on for second, a neck to the good of Billion Delight (8-1), but this run is not a true reflection of the ability of the odds-on favourite who was not mentally attuned to the occasion having been so stirred up before the start.
The fractious display was out of character for the horse and his future will be monitored with interest.