Touch Woods, a losing streak ends in Winner
By ROBIN PARKE
RESIDENT English riders Wendyll Woods and Alan Munro were among the Sha Tin winners yesterday with the former breaking a 31-mount losing streak on a very smart newcomer.
The popular Woods partnered debutant Universal Winner (7-1) in the second event on yesterday's card and the Francis K.W. Lui-trained four-year-old shattered the Class Four field over the longer sprint.
The David Hayes-trained Ovation (7-1) finished second but was four and a quarter lengths adrift of the winner and there was a yawning gap of seven lengths to third-placed Super Connections (14-1).
This was a vastly impressive first run and Universal Winner simply has to have a future given the manner in which he disposed of this field - including the disappointing favourite Midas (5-2).
He was also having his first run but connections were left shaking their heads after the Stanley K.M. Chin-ridden four-year-old finished very tamely behind the placegetters.
'He gave me a great ride, I am delighted with it. He really knew how to gallop and he went right on with it,' said Woods.
He had every reason to be happy as Universal Winner simply powered away from the field to win as he pleased.
Super Connections (14-1) ran third for Felix Coetzee but this race was really all about Universal Winner, whose trainer is now awaiting to hear what the handicapping department will do.
Dual Derby-winning jockey Munro put a double together at Sha Tin last weekend and helped the seasonal tally with enigmatic Flirting Dancer (9-1) in the Class Three, 1,800-metre seventh event.
In keeping with the overall excitement of the day, the official margins were a short head and the same between Flirting Dancer, topweight City Warrior and the 5-2 favourite, Quick Speed.
Munro brought the winner home down the extreme outside of the track and it was desperately close at the finish with many feeling that City Warrior had just fought back.
But Munro got there by a whisker to spoil the party for Ivan Allan stable followers.
The champion trainer has both City Warrior and Quick Speed in his care.