Marcus shows class on Surveyor

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 12:00am

South African Anton Marcus had a resounding year by any standards and a record one by his own previous efforts and he can add Ride of the Year to everything else he collected.

Each season, the South China Morning Post asks respected television commentator and former jockey Mark Richards to pick his riding highlights and this year he was never in any doubt.

'The night that Anton won on Surveyor at Happy Valley is the ride that has stuck in my head for months, so it must be the ride of the year,' Richards said. 'The horse drew a wide gate at the 1,800-metre start but before they reached the winning post the first time Anton already had him on the fence.

'He saved ground all the way, railed through to a striking position as they straightened, spent nothing at all during the race and the horse absolutely walked in. That was wonderful stuff and the measure of it is how good Surveyor looked under that ride - he never looked like winning another race before or after it, so that tells me the horse needed the perfect ride to win.'

Also with honourable mentions for the title were Douglas Whyte and apprentice Way Leung Ming-wai. 'There were probably many great rides in his century of winners, but I thought Whyte's display to actually get to the hundred on Lucky Encounter showed just why he got there at all. It was also about overcoming a wide gate at Happy Valley, this time over the 1,650 metres - which is unquestionably the greatest challenge Hong Kong racing has for any rider but Whyte is a past master at it,' Richards said.

'And that's why Way Leung's ride to win the South China Morning Post Centenary Cup with Dashing Champion on Melbourne Cup night also deserves a mention. Again, barrier 12, 1,650 metres and he took the race by the scruff of the neck as soon as the gates opened. It was an extremely positive ride to overcome what looked a problem. From an apprentice, it was the sort of ride that Whyte himself would have been proud to own.'