Commanding performance by Saint-Martin
HIGHLY impressive English import Commander Charlie (3.9-1) produced one of the bravest wins of the season to give Eric Saint-Martin the middle leg of a well-deserved treble at Sha Tin yesterday.
Two of those triumphs were for retaining trainer David Oughton, whose fortunes have turned the corner at recent fixtures. And he certainly looks to have found something special in Commander Charlie after his courageous effort to lift the Classes One and Two, 1,400 metre eighth event.
The strapping chestnut three-year-old was stopped in his tracks when sandwiched between horses just 250 metres from home. But amazingly, the interference only seemed to make him keener to score as he regained his balance and motored to the line.
He was giving the David Hayes-trained A-Gain Easy (13-1) many lengths' start with less than a furlong to travel and when Saint-Martin finally negotiated a clear passage he reeled him in with remarkable ease.
It was a much better run from A-Gain Easy and the first two pulled well clear of Super Fit (11-1).
Earlier, the stylish Frenchman piloted the improving Marquee Universal (8-1) to success in the Class Three, 1,200-metre affair.
Saint-Martin was towards the rear turning for home and he stuck to the rails to grab the prize from Wendyll Woods aboard Win For Us (5.2-1) with Lomond's Fay (5-1) flashing home from last under Alex K. S. Yu to snatch third.
The final leg of the treble came compliments of rookie trainer Peter Ho and seasoned handicapper Amza Glory (11-1) in the Classes One and Two nightcap.
The seven-year-old had not saluted the judge for more than 16 months but he had slipped dangerously in the ratings and had to be considered on the strength of a solid second last time.
Saint-Martin is not a regular partner of Amza Glory but he rode him like an old friend, bringing him into the race with a decisive turn of foot in the straight.
Songs Of Victory (11-1) held on gamely for second with Colourful Era (4-1.) filling third.