Champion trainer watches in admiration as 4-1 shot blows away featured TVB Cup
Champion trainer David Hayes flexed his muscles yesterday with Charming City winning the featured TVB Cup. At 4-1, Charming City won in emphatic fashion at Sha Tin, easily eclipsing 7-2 favourite Trillion Win.
Ivan Allan could only look on as Trillion Win and Douglas Whyte tried valiantly but in vain to peg back Basil Marcus on Charming City in the Class One longer sprint.
But Allan and freshly licensed Club jockey Jimmy Quinn had the last laugh when bottomweight Huangdi (28-1) prevented Hayes and Marcus landing a quartet of winners by taking the nightcap from raging favourite Financial Supreme (6-4) by half a length. It was not until later in the programme that non-South Africans got a look in - and then only just.
Leading trainer John Moore, who is going to take some beating in the championship, posted a winning double with Robbie Fradd doing the honours. The current leading rider then strengthened his grip on the jockeys' title with another treble.
There was no lack of action or excitement on the 10-race card and Hayes was rightly delighted with Charming City.
'I saw no reason at all why we could not beat Trillion Win again,' he said. 'My horse is a nice, progressive type and this was his race. Obviously, you have to respect Trillion Win or any of Ivan's when he really likes them, but there was no fluke about our fellow's win over him at set weights the last time they met.
'He won this very well and I am now thinking about the Sha Tin Trophy and another good race at the end of the season. But we'll put him in something else first,' said Hayes.
Marcus was back in action after a four-day ban and could not have returned with a bigger bang - barring the last race.
'It was great. I was quite confident we could get a double on the day but it did look almost like four when we swung for home in the final race,' Marcus said. 'Financial Supreme was going well but it was an important weight swing to the winner.' Hayes and Moore, along with Marcus and Fradd, had the first four races between them.
In the opening griffins event, Marcus announced his return to action with a stunning success on 35-1 debutant Lotus Supreme, who finished a neck ahead of the Moore-trained, odds-on favourite Excel Win (8-5) in the 1,000-metre dash.
It was then Moore's turn to supply the value in the Class Four second event down the straight course when debutant Fairway Finder (18-1) got up in the last stride to head the Hayes-trained hot-pot, Prime Witness (6-4 favourite).
Moore said: 'He is a horse with a bit of quality about him and he trialled quite favourably. I thought he had a very good chance and was a bit surprised he was so long in the market.' The Class Four third event saw Marcus prevail on Meridian Star (4-1), who was a head too good for the Moore-trained and Fradd-ridden Really Lucky (7-1).
It was not until the final 30 metres that Meridian Star, who was forced to race a bit wide for some of the trip, really looked the winner and he scored more emphatically than the margin suggests.
Marcus said: 'Meridian Star is a nice young horse who jumped well and put it in when it was necessary in the straight. That was very pleasing.' Moore had every reason to be pleased with the performance of topweight Island West Treble (2-1 favourite) in the fifth event. He went clear in the manner of a useful horse to score a one-length win over the Peter Ho-trained Ever Bold (5-1).
Last time out, Island West Treble had blown the start in horrendous fashion and his eventual second placing was due testimony to his ability but not his barrier manners.
Yesterday, Moore had applied blinkers and said: 'He is still green but the blinkers were a very definite help. He ran right up to expectations and once he had jumped and settled it was fairly obvious he had to be there at the finish.
'He can carry weight, too, which is encouraging.' With Hayes and Marcus hunting a quartet of winners, it was not surprising that the well-performed Financial Supreme was almost the only one the public wanted in the Class Two nightcap over 1,400 metres.
At his last start, Financial Supreme had made all in good time and looking very much the part.
Conversely, the form book did not immediately suggest bottomweight Huangdi, but he had made up good ground late last time under Carol W. S. Yu. Allan booked Quinn for the ride as Huangdi was on the 113lb minimum and the Irish lightweight did the job in exemplary fashion. Sitting off the pace, Quinn got to work in the straight and pegged back Financial Supreme who looked as if he might last.
Allan said: 'The step up in distance was a very important factor. Jimmy [Quinn] rode him exactly to instructions and it has turned out very well.' Quinn was back in the news - for all the right reasons. 'I am tremendously grateful to Mr Allan for giving me this chance and I am delighted to have ridden a winner on my first day as a Club jockey,' he said.