Scenic Star justifies trainer Lo's patience
An opening-day plunge that came off brilliantly saw Scenic Star (7-2 favourite) open jockey Eric Legrix's account for what is likely to be a watershed season for the French star.
Scenic Star had been thereabouts in several races last season and trainer Eddie K.C. Lo was convinced there was a win in the four-year-old. With impeccable timing for both Lo and Legrix, it came yesterday.
Scenic Star opened at 7-1 but went off at half that quote as stable support followed by public money saw the price tumble just before the start of the seventh event.
Perfectly drawn against the rails, Legrix was always going to be involved when it really mattered and he quickly assumed command halfway down the straight, reeling in Pure Reality (10-1).
Legrix has a season's licence as a Club jockey and appreciated the need for a quick start.
'I am truly delighted. There are good jockeys here for the Club this season and it is important to start well. I was really hoping that I could get off the mark,' he said.
'It was a win without any trouble. He jumped well and I knew that he was in good condition for the race. Also, the leader was always where I knew I could get to him. It was then up to something coming from behind.
'But I was going well so I did not think I would get caught,' added Legrix who was three-parts of a length to the good of the Robbie Fradd-ridden Ellen's Won (12-1) in the Class Four longer sprint.
It was a conditions event for horses which have not won in Hong Kong and Top Racer (9-2) was longtime favourite but gave his supporters little to enthuse over.
Golden Bell (9-1) finished third and would undoubtedly have given the winner a lot to do had he been gifted with anything approaching a good draw. But he was out in barrier 14 and it placed Jimmy Quinn at a disadvantage throughout. He finished third, just ahead of Happy Power (7-1).
Trainer Lo, a former champion apprentice who has battled back from illness, knows his business. He finished last season with a respectable 13 winners from his small stable and could do something similar this time.
'A winner is always good and even better on opening day. I have always had a reasonable opinion of Scenic Star and he was set for this,' said Lo.
While Legrix is well known to Hong Kong punters, Irish-born Quinn is a new face. But they'll soon get used to him if his promising first-day start continues.
Quinn is riding under retainer for Brian Kan Ping-chee and got off the mark in quick-fire style with King Of Toys (5-1) in the Class Four second event. The longer sprint turned out to be ideal for the four-year-old, who won his third race in 23 starts. Quinn, who rides light and very often in England, had no trouble adjusting here.
He had King Of Toys handy to the pace set by No Competitor (18-1), who faded to fourth, and took it up halfway down the straight. King Of Toys ran out a solid winner.