Allan is all smiles as Maniac storms to full-blooded victory
One-time rising star Coach Maniac (4-1 favourite) showed good horses can come back with a sparkling win at Happy Valley last night.
Coach Maniac, once touted as a Derby hope, was sidelined by a bleeding attack and trainer Ivan Allan had obvious doubts about the future of his classy New Zealand-bred private purchase griffin.
But there was a mile-wide smile on the face of the former champion trainer as he led back Coach Maniac after a comprehensive win in the top-grade race at the city track last night.
Coach Maniac crushed the opposition in the Class Two, 1,650-metre event officially beating the well supported Lik Rambo (9-2) by over two lengths.
'I am genuinely very, very pleased about that win. They don't always come back from a bleeding attack and he was such a promising young horse.
'I just had to be careful with him and hope that he could do it again.
'It was a good run first-up and I was hopeful tonight rather than absolutely confident.
'But I have to say that he was given a lovely ride by Douglas Whyte, it was inch perfect.
'And you just have to have a little bit of confidence that he might go on from this. It was a very strong win in all the circumstances,' said Allan.
Full Metal Jacket (5-1), a winner twice over this trip for claimer Patrick P. H. Tse, had shot dramatically up the ratings since his win very late last season.
He got to the front as expected but this grade is tougher - and it showed.
Inventor (7-1), something of a shock winner at his seasonal debut, looked like following up on that for a while but was eventually run out of it and finished a game third.
There was the first taste of success in the new campaign for trainers Geoff Lane, a long-standing figure on the local racing scene, and Andy T. W. Leung, whose stable has been having a tough time of it.
Lane produced Kevmate (4-1) in tip-top shape for his Class Three engagement over the longer sprint.
He had run second on his seasonable debut on opening day and outslugged Win For Us (6-1) in the fourth event. It was a thrilling duel over the final 200 metres between jockeys Eric Legrix, on the winner, and Wendyll Woods, who had given Win For Us an excellent ride.
Race favourite Universal Star (5-2) had a torrid time and was never on the track from his wide barrier.
Leung's first winner came when Oh My Darling (12-1), with local claimer Martin C. K. Tsang up, prevailed in a desperate finish to the Class Five sixth event.
Once again English rider Woods had to settle for the runner-up slot as he was aboard Toy Boy, who gave a great sight but just did not quite see it out.
Also leading in his first winner of the season was long-serving trainer Eddie K. C. Lo, who teamed up with top local rider Stanley K. M. Chin to take the second event on the card.
Chin rode a very confident race on Super Conqueror (7-2 favourite), making full use of his inside draw to cover no extra ground in the Class Five, 1,650-metre event.
He eased out in the straight and cruised home to an impressive win over Sincerity (4-1) and Sincerely Yours (10-1).
It was Chin's second success of the season and he said: 'He was in good shape and ready to run a big race. He likes Happy Valley and he felt good all the way through. When I asked him for a big effort he gave it straight away.' Once truculent, Shine Of Kowloon (5-1) seems to have left his bad traits behind him and was certainly on his best behaviour in winning the third event for Club jockey Robbie Fradd and trainer Derek Cruz.
Shine Of Kowloon just held on from Elite (12-1), who came again when looking beaten, and Craig's Pride who looked luxuriously priced at 18-1 in the 1,800-metre event.
The opening event went to Valley sprint specialist Monopoly Senior (6-1) who gave claimer Eddie W. M. Lai an armchair ride in easily seeing off Pakistan Hero (8-1) in the Class Four short sprint.