Blinkers put City Patrol in winning mood
IRISH winter visitor Johnny Murtagh could afford to smile after first-time blinkered City Patrol (7-1) produced a smart performance to land the fourth event yesterday.
The clear-cut win by the five-year-old initiated a winning double for veteran local trainer Wong Tang-ping, who followed up with the very good Danswinner in the top race.
In an earlier event the trainer and Murtagh had finished second to the useful Woodside Park with Delightful Special.
Murtagh has had a chequered winter stay, interrupted by suspensions and other visits to the inquiry room. But there has never been any suggestion that he is anything other than a top-flight rider.
'I was happy to get this one home. Ping has put a few horses my way and been very helpful. This ended up being a very good win and I did not think it was ever going to be quite this easy,' he said.
'I gave him a chance all right because he has been going well, but the blinkers clearly woke him up. He was carrying a fair bit of weight but we drew well and I was able to settle him nicely. We had a great run but the big thing was that he was game to do it - he wanted to get on with the job.' The official margin was two and three-quarter lengths and it was an emphatic win in this Class Four, 1,400-metre event where most attention was focused on Winwin Combination (7-2 favourite) and topweight Full Metal Jacket (9-2).
The topweight, who has suffered through his honesty, finished third with newcomer Fortune Tycoon (12-1) chasing home the winner under Basil Marcus.
Murtagh had hopes for Delightful Special in the Class Four second event but he had no answer to topweight Woodside Park (3-1 favourite) over this 1,400-metre trip. He will fare better when stepped up in distance.
Paddy Payne rode the winner to perfection and it continued the excellent season being enjoyed by David Hill who said: 'It was all against him last time because he was kept out wide and Paddy had to work too hard too soon.
'We couldn't have asked for a better run this time and he was probably at his peak for it. Paddy did give him a sweet ride and he won as I hoped he might.'