Ailing Wong misses early breakthrough
Trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan broke through in style yesterday at Happy Valley, scoring his first and second wins for the season within 90 minutes, but he was not there to see it. 'The boss is at home with an upset stomach but maybe this is going to help him recover much faster,' said assistant trainer Chris Cheung Ting-pong, standing in for Wong as Bold'N Power (Howard Cheng) and Wishes (Glyn Schofield) scored in races two and five.
Last season, Wong had more than 100 starters before racking up his first win for the term, but he crossed that bridge this time after only 44 starters as Bold'N Power backed up successfully from defeat on Wednesday night.
Owner Lau Chor said he had given Cheng only one instruction on the gelding, who has a love-hate relationship with the starter. 'This horse was fit and ready to race well on Wednesday but he missed the start,' Lau said. 'All I told Howard to make sure he was paying attention when the gates opened.'
Cheng responded perfectly, with Bold'N Power the first to show out as they hit the ground. It was a welcome win for Cheng, who now serves a ban for careless riding incurred last Wednesday night, and will be sidelined until the November 13 meeting.
Schofield bounced back from his tumble at the gates from Blazing Bob in race four, and said Wishes travelled like a winner for much of the race.
'He was going well coming to the home turn, got a gap and just put two or three lengths on them. From there I didn't think there was any way he could be beaten,' Schofield said. 'It has been a slow start for Alex this season but no sooner has he got one than he has two.'
Felix Coetzee is renowned as a front-running rider but must have been giggling at the way the third event was handed to him on a platter yesterday. With the C course playing favours for horses on the rails and nearer the lead, Coetzee took Super Elite to the front and found no opposition for the role.
The Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained gelding had won in similar circumstances previously and strolled home by two lengths.
Yesterday was not a day Eric Legrix will remember with any joy as the French jockey had to be content with bitter seconds in the opening two races, even losing one winner after an enthusiastic celebration. Legrix appeared to take real delight in the win of debutant Dashing Champion, in the colours of last season's Derby placegetter Dashing Winner, punching the air on his return to the scales.
But stewards quickly raised an inquiry sign after Dashing Champion had prevailed by only a short head over The Achiever (Rodney Quinn). The winner had run out and bumped The Achiever more than once in the final 200 metres and stewards soon sustained an objection.
'It is pretty straight-foward once they move off their line like that and take another's running,' winning trainer Tony Millard said, then suggested a future for the first son of Fuji Kiseki to win in Hong Kong. 'He's a nice-tempered animal and he's only going to improve.'