Punters left out of pocket as Hill saddles up winning double
Trainer David Hill took double honours at last night's mixed meeting at Sha Tin but dealt punters a blow with the second leg, which came up in the final event on the card.
The stable's impressive Seasons Wind (9-2) was sent out favourite but it was the 18-1 chance Pleasant Win, also prepared by Hill and ridden by Brett Doyle, who grabbed the prize in an exhilarating three-way finish with Aspiration (6-1) and his stablemate.
Hill had initiated the double early in the card when topweight Fit For Royalty obliged.
Arch rivals Douglas Whyte and Basil Marcus, locked in battle for the jockeys' championship, ended with a winner apiece.
Whyte won the second event with the Geoff Lane-trained Cruise Cannon (9-2) with champion jockey Marcus squaring accounts on Ivan Allan's Cream (7-2 favourite) in Race Five.
Eric Legrix started the programme as he finished the last dirt meeting with a winner when Lyphard's Lad (10-1) safely landed the Class Four opener.
Trainer Patrick Biancone is in France but the win cut into the lead of Australian trainer David Hayes in the championship.
Treasure Spring (12-1) made up good ground in the run home to claim second place in the 1,650-metre event with King's Premium (9-1) fading in the concluding stages but holding on for third. Warm favourite Walk Big (5-2) flopped and was never a factor.
Australian ace Paddy Payne rode a copybook race on Hill's Fit For Royalty (7-1) to take the third event on the card.
The ease in grade to Class Six was clearly in the winner's favour but the velvet handling of Payne, who let him settle in midfield, was a major contributory factor.
Payne, chalking up his 25th winner of the season, said: 'We tried him over a couple of shorter trips but this seems to be what he is after these days.' There was a very welcome winner for trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan, who has not had the best of seasons, when dirt-loving Giant Fight (7-1) got up in a tremendous finish to the sixth event.
Front-running grey Charity First (8-1) looked the winner of the Class Three, 1,800-metre event as he shook off challenges on straightening but Giant Fight, under Alan Munro, really unwound down the outside.
It was a desperate finish but Giant Fight landed the final blow to win by the minimum margin from the Danny Lee-ridden Charity First, with third-placed Grand Prize a further head back.