Rain dampens Fownes' confidence despite final Ovation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 December, 2001, 12:00am

Trainer Lawrie Fownes was ruing the grey skies and rain that loomed over Happy Valley yesterday, turning the track from good to yielding during the course of the day's racing.

Fownes saluted in the final race with speed horse Ovation, but the trainer's confidence had washed away in the downpour.

'You know I've had this race in mind for him and set him for it and everything was lovely until the rotten rain came,' Fownes said.

'He has had a couple of runs in soft going before and been a little bit disappointing, so when it rained and the track was affected I couldn't tell the owners to bet with any confidence.'

Ovation became the third successive barrier one draw to win on the card, leading throughout for stable rider Wendyll Woods, who recently returned from suspension.

'The rain didn't make any difference to our plans, only my confidence. I told the owners, we'll let him bounce out and bowl along and just see how far he can keep going,' Fownes said. 'He is a very quick horse at the start of his races and the draw really suited him today.'

Woods had served a five-day ban for failing to ride Electronic Magic right to the line when he was nosed out of third in a race and was relieved to be back in the winner's list after returning from the suspension last Wednesday.

'I needed an early winner, that was great,' he smiled.

The news was not so good for Fownes' apprentice, Henry Tsang, who was slapped with a $5,000 fine by the stipendiary stewards before the start of racing yesterday following an inquiry into his late return to the apprentices' hostel last Sunday.

Stewards took evidence from Tsang, Fownes and Y.C. Auyeung, headmaster of the apprentice jockeys school, and established that Tsang returned to his quarters at 11.20pm when required by regulations to be in by 10pm.

Tsang also admitted he had recorded in the register, and misled Auyeung, that he had returned at 11pm.

The young rider was fined and warned that had the stewards proceeded against him regarding his evidence at the inquiry, he might have faced an even greater penalty.