I don't walk away, says Sanders
English jockey Seb Sanders took the occasion of his first Hong Kong double to laugh at the notion he might have made an early return home as he starved for opportunity during recent weeks.
Sanders, whose riding has been characterised by his powerful driving in a finish, used that strength to brilliant effect yesterday as he brought home the Sean Woods-trained pair of Shining Gem and Gold Field.
Though Sanders won on Peter Ng Bik-kuen-trained Grand Fighter at Happy Valley in December, to break the ice here, rides, let alone chances, had been hard to get before yesterday's double took his tally to three wins from just 47 rides since his arrival.
'I never thought about going. I don't walk away. I keep on until they're bored with me and then I'll have another go,' said Sanders, who put up a worthy advertisement yesterday for better opportunities in the five weeks remaining in his Hong Kong stint.
'Unfortunately people have been seeing me on horses which are not finding the line - nobody ever looks any good on those - and I hope this double today might attract some attention and bring me a few more chances.
'It takes a few rides to get used to the different pace in races, it doesn't matter whether you're riding in Hong Kong, Japan or Britain - there are different ways wherever you go. But without the horse under you, you can't adapt.'
Sanders was especially delighted to have the pair for Woods as he and his brother, recently-retired Hong Kong stalwart, Wendyll have supported Sanders since his arrival.
'I'm thrilled because Sean and Wendyll have helped me a lot here. They've looked after me and given me a lot of advice and everyone needs that here,' Sanders said.
'It's not an easy life by any means - the competition is strong, the chances are hard to get.'
Sanders rode a copybook race to score on Shining Gem as he continued his new-found career as a dirt horse, but his display to lift Gold Field over the line in the final stages of the ninth race was even more impressive.
Gold Field had run out sharply when Sanders finished second on him at his previous run but applied himself to the job more tractably to overhaul Fuji Sunrise (Craig Williams) near the post yesterday and win by a nose. 'I thought Gold Field was my best chance but I thought I had hopes of riding a few placegetters. He went the short way around the rail today and when I brought him into it up the inside there was nowhere for him to go except forward,' Sanders laughed.
'There was plenty of room to go through inside Craig Williams' horse and it was just a case of whether Gold Field was going to be good enough to get there or not. I didn't know whether I'd won or not when we flashed across the line but I looked over at Craig and his face had gone a horrible colour, so I knew that he thought I'd won,' he added.