Doyle denies trainer 'Hutch' a treble
In the space of a few hours yesterday Brett Doyle turned from hero to villain for veteran Australian trainer Bruce Hutchison.
Doyle had first earned Hutchison's praise for swooping late to deliver the second leg of a rare double for the long-serving mentor aboard the promising Red Zone (5-1) in the Class Three third event.
But come the end of race six he would have been cursing the English ace who dug deepest in a nail-biting finish atop Yellow River (3-1 favourite) to keep Hutchison's fast-finishing Fred (23-1) at bay by a short-head.
Compatriot Glen Boss, who had provided the opening leg of the Hutchison brace with Outstanding Lad, had the mount on Fred.
And Boss will consider himself a little unlucky for not handing the Hutchison camp that elusive three-timer.
After missing the start, Fred was forced to chase the game for much of the 1,200 metres before producing that powerful finish. Fred should get one more chance to break his maiden status before the season is done and a repeat performance would see him go close again.
In contrast, Boss had done just enough to grab the prize with Outstanding Lad (5.8-1) in the Class Four second event. The three-year-old son of Bold Rancher was wide and rearward early and did not look to be travelling at the turn, but Boss got to the bottom of him and he ground home down the centre of the track to snatch victory away from Alan Munro and Just For Pleasure (12-1), who looked to have the race in their keeping 50 metres out.
The winning margin was a head, with odds-on favourite Cavalo (1.5-1) a disappointing third for David Hayes and Basil Marcus.
However, despite his later infraction, it was Doyle's part in the piece that would have given Hutchison most satisfaction on the big day.
Red Zone was a brilliant winner under Steven King on his local debut at Happy Valley back in February before putting in two ordinary efforts at the New Territories venue.
But yesterday the real Red Zone stood up and was counted. Connections are understood to have a high opinion of the Fairy King four-year-old and he could be headed for the top judging on this effort.
He left a number of well-fancied opponents in his wake, not least of whom was the controversial Seattle Sun (2.6-1 favourite) who raced handy before fading out of contention to finish fourth.
Red Zone cornered fourth from last and was giving the leaders 15 lengths when Doyle reached for him.
He was full of running by the 200-metre mark where he ranged up to join veteran Schnitzer (86-1), who hit the front momentarily under Victor C.F. Chan.
But Red Zone quickly beat off Schnitzer and went on to score by a half-length while Felix Coetzee and Always Match (7.2-1) made good late ground to grab third.
The successful double took the Hutchison stable to the 11-winner mark. The flow of victories has been sporadic of late after what was a dashing start to the campaign.
Bruce, however, will not be complaining after what was a great day at the office.