Model makes perfect debut
Debutant Perfect Model landed the featured Indian Recreation Club Challenge Cup at Happy Valley last night and a perfectly-engineered betting coup in the process.
Champion trainer David Hayes was absent in Australia and Club jockey Grant Cooksley had the riding duties on the Australian import. But the totalisator told the tale that mattered.
In the last minute of betting, odds on Perfect Model dropped from 24-1 to 20-1 and then, in virtually the last click before the gates flew open for the Class Two longer sprint, down to 17-1.
There would scarcely have more than a handful of public money on Perfect Model as he languished at 26-1 until the final three minutes of betting.
Cooksley, noted for his coolness in the saddle, had the giant Perfect Model out well but dropped him back and then angled through for a run at the top of the straight.
Under determined riding, Perfect Model got up close home to win by half a length from Kevmate (16-1) with a neck back to Ovation (7-1), stablemate of the winner.
While the win helped keep Hayes safely at the top of the table, there was a good double for former champion trainer, Ivan Allan.
The one that mattered most was Red Diamond (8-1), who was ridden perfectly by Alex K.S. Yu in the Class Four sixth event to beat sister Carol on the Patrick Biancone-trained Harvard (14-1).
Red Diamond had been tickled in betting on two previous occasions but was clearly primed right up for last night's event.
Shadow Speed (7-2 favourite) finished third and had every chance.
Allan said: 'The drop in class was a major help and so was the lad's claim. He rode him well and, most importantly, he got him away well.' The programme opened with only the second win of his short career for maximum claimer Bill C.M. Ho who was aboard the Allan-trained topweight Sunny Day (30-1) in the Class Five longer sprint.
After missing the start, young Ho had a dream run along the rails but was not of any great assistance to the horse in the concluding stages. However, the three-year-old had winning on his mind and hit the line a short head and the same to Core Principles (7-1) and Concert Kaiser (9-1).
Race favourite Snip Pour Roi (4-1) disappointed but there was some money for the winner.
Some punters were clearly of the view that lightning could strike twice and, in one of the more dramatic single betting moves of the season, the odds on Popular Acclaim, ridden by Ho and trained by Allan, were clipped in one move from 58-1 to 18-1 when roll-up money arrived after weighing in for the second event had been completed.
But there was to be no fairytale ending for young Ho as Popular Acclaim did little behind Sky Hawk (9-2), who provided the first leg of a winning double for trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee.
Sky Hawk dropped in perfectly off the pace and was astutely ridden by stable jockey David Harrison, who parts ways with Kan next season. The 1,800-metre trip was exactly to Sky Hawk's liking but Harrison had to go through an objection lodged by Wendyll Woods on runner-up Prodigy (9-1).
It was an objection which caught Kan and most racegoers by surprise with the former champion trainer saying: 'If I had been beaten, we could have objected.' The stewards overruled the objection and Kan went on to complete a back-to-back double with Wind Catcher (14-1) making all in the Class Five, 1,650-metre fourth event.
This time it was claimer Patrick P.H. Tse in the saddle and Wind Catcher held on by a neck from topweight Antonhill Boom (5-1) with 9-2 favourite Star Of Architect third for Eric Saint-Martin.
Champion jockey Basil Marcus reinforced his strong claims to keeping the title by winning the low-grade second event on maiden Unlimiteddimension (8-1) who won his first race at his 32nd race start.
The nightcap went to Robbie Fradd and John Moore on noted Valley specialist Pinky Long Legs (6-1) who scored in the last half-stride from Willie Way (11-1) in a thrilling finish.
The Jockey Club announced yesterday the confirmatory urine sample taken from L'Or de Martell Cup winner Whytellyou had come back positive to the prohibited substance, mephenesin.
As in all such cases, the Jockey Club sent a the secondary sample to an approved laboratory of the trainer's choice. In this case the sample was sent to the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory at Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney.
Whytellyou, to be ridden by Eric Legrix in Saturday's Chairman's Prize, is trained by Patrick Biancone.