Banned Dunn seeks deferment to ride in Dubai
Australian jockey Dwayne Dunn will throw himself on the mercy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club to salvage his ride on the David Hayes-trained Helene Vitality in this Saturday's Dubai Sheema Classic at the World Cup fixture after being hit with a careless riding ban yesterday. And Hayes said he would wait on Dunn's written appeal for a variation of the penalty before looking for a replacement jockey.
'Dwayne pleaded guilty to the charge, so he has no intention of appealing the ban or the penalty,' Hayes said last night. 'But he explained to me that he will be writing a letter to the Club asking for the ban to be deferred for one meeting in order to allow him to compete in the Dubai race. I'll see what becomes of that.'
Dunn's thrill over his first big international ride representing Hong Kong was turned upside down when he fell foul of the stewards as he crossed over from the outside on Salut Beaute in race one and was slapped with a three-day suspension.
The ban, which is due to start after Wednesday night's meeting at Sha Tin, will keep him out of Hong Kong racing until the April 3 card unless the board of stewards grants him a variation of his punishment.
Shane Dye, who does the lion's share of Hayes' stable riding, will be going to Sydney for the Golden Slipper meeting so he is not an option. 'If Dwayne cannot ride Helene Vitality, I will look for a jockey who is already riding at the meeting - there'll be a galaxy of talent there, I'm sure,' Hayes said.
'As for Helene Vitality, he's fine. He arrived without any hiccups and has settled in well. He lost about 27 pounds during the flight but that is typical. Most importantly, he is eating and drinking well so he'll put that back on in a day or two.'
Champion rider Michael Kinane said farewell after his month-long Hong Kong stint with a win on Thank Heavens for Geoff Lane in the final race. It was Kinane's fourth win for the whistle-stop visit that was his 14th tour of duty in Hong Kong.
The Irishman said he would love to come back next season, if not before, if the schedule that provided him with 18 Group One wins around the world last year allowed.
'It isn't easy. I've rather a lot on my plate with the Ballydoyle team, but I always enjoy Hong Kong racing,' he said. 'If I'm not back before then, I do think I'll be back for the International Races in December. We have Milan at home, who would an ideal horse for the 2,400 metres Vase, and hopefully we will bring a full team to take on the Japanese in December.'
Bach, who finished last in the Hong Kong Cup in December, has been the only runner from Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle team to compete at the Hong Kong International meeting.
Tony Cruz maintained his lead in the trainers' standings when Sing A Song opened his account in the opening event. The well-bred Marauding gelding was coming back from a defeat at 1,400 metres and held off the unlucky Flying General to win the race under hard riding from Felix Coetzee.
'It wasn't anything special but you can't do more than win,' Cruz said. 'And he was too good for those horses today. He is lightly raced and should get better.'
Although the drop in trip yesterday saw Sing A Song win, Cruz does not see him as a short-course horse only. 'I'm sure he will run a strong 1,400 metres at least in the future,' he said.