Geoff Lane

Lane delights in Happy outcome

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 12:00am

Popular trainer Geoff Lane landed a gratifying double at Sha Tin yesterday with effortless griffin winner Happy Together (Dwayne Dunn) and the opportunist Sugar And Spice (Thomas Yeung Kai-tong) in the sixth.

But it was the younger galloper which really made Lane's day. Happy Together, a French-bred son of Groom Dancer, was always travelling strongly just off the speed and took only a few strides at the top of the stretch to confirm that looks weren't deceiving. 'He's a pretty nice young horse and I was very pleased for the owner [Chiung Chi-wan], who was with us when we inspected him at the sales and bid on the horse himself,' Lane said.

'I'm sure it was a great thrill for Mr Chiung, though I was worried there for a minute because the horse was there waiting to be photographed and no sign of the owners. Suddenly, a big group of them descended on the winner's circle. They were all very happy and I was very relieved.'

Happy Together's dominance in the final stages of the 1,400 metre Griffin race was emphatic, with the three-year-old posting a 4.5 length winning margin from New Zealand-bred debutant My Choice (Danny Beasley).

'He handled the conditions well and really came away the last little bit,' Lane said, before lapsing into tongue-in-cheek mode. 'I think the opposition might have been a bit substandard for him to win that easily, and I'm sure the handicapper will realise that too.'

Dunn, who completed a double on sprinter Flashing Star for Ricky Yiu Poon-fie, said he has formed a strong professional bond with Lane. 'It's very satisfying,' Dunn began. 'I've done a lot with Geoff's griffins this season. This guy [Happy Together] always showed something and I actually thought he'd have been winning earlier than this. But he does a few things wrong which has simply been immaturity and it's good to see him win one this season to confirm the ability we thought he had.'

Sugar And Spice ($80.00) added to a fruitful day for Lane. The five-year-old enjoys inside barriers and last night, Yeung gave him the run of the race from barrier one before presenting him at just the right time.