Dollar rewards faithful
A massive and successful last-minute plunge on the David Hayes-trained Superior Dollar raised the excitement levels at last night's routine midweek meeting at Happy Valley.
The odds on the three-year-old, who finished 13th in his only previous racecourse appearance earlier this season, opened at 14-1, came in slightly and then, in the last two minutes of betting, crashed into 7-1.
But those who engineered the coup - plus anxious trainer Hayes - had a major sweat before Superior Dollar's number was semaphored in the Class Four third event.
Champion jockey Basil Marcus, on the inside, and claimer Carol W.S. Yu on 12-1 chance For Szesze crossed the line at the end of the longer sprint absolutely locked together. But the camera showed that the South African had prevailed by, almost literally, a nostril.
Hayes, who has been having something of a lean spell for a stable so reliably successful, had every reason to smile. He said: 'He had unquestionably improved and I was sure he would run well. But I have felt that about a couple of mine recently and it has not worked out quite as I hoped it would.' While Hayes' winner might have been harder to find for the rank-and-file, there were some genuine admirers for For Szesze, whose only previous effort had been an eye-catching fourth on the dirt over 1,150 metres.
The disappointment of the race was 7-2 favourite Bank On It, who is rapidly becoming an extremely expensive proposition.
Again the Valley track bias, which so favours front runners and those capable of lying up on the pace, played a major part in all races.
But forewarned is forearmed and there were not quite the major upsets of last week, although punters had every reason to groan and look ahead in trepidation when Laser Pride (43-1) took the opening Class Four event.
It was another winner for Steven King, who has now battled his way out of an unfortunate drought with three winners in two racedays.
The drama in the race came in the inquiry room when the stewards, who had earlier posted an inquiry, heard an objection from Philip Y.T. Cheng on fourth-placed Cavalo (8-1) against second-placed Sterling Chance (5-1) for interference in the final 200 metres.
Claimer John C.W. Mok did take the running of Cavalo and after a fairly lengthy inquiry, the stewards ruled that it had affected the outcome of the race and relegated Sterling Chance to fourth, promoted We Know When (35-1), who had finished third to second, with Cavalo taking third place.
Eric Legrix, resuming after a suspension for careless riding, won the Class Five second event by a head on the John Moore-trained Action Plan (9-1) and leader Robbie Fradd had little trouble on Winning Luck (7-2 favourite) in the fifth race when he was left alone in front.
The best performance of the night came from the Lawrie Fownes-trained Sparky, well found in the market at 5-2, who scored a crushing three-length win in the featured Community Chest Cup.
Able to lie up handy, Sparky exploded to the front when jockey Wendyll Woods pressed the button soon after straightening and Luck Goal (7-1) never had a chance in the Class Three longer sprint.
Mission Sealed (8-1) and Marquee Universal (5-1) filled the remainder of the frame.
Trainer Bruce Hutchison is having a quietly successful time and The Greatest (25-1) may not have surprised stable supporters with a win in the sixth event, while the nightcap went to the Ivan Allan-trained Crystal Charm (15-1).