Redwood Falls enjoys perfect ride
Alan Aitken in Macau
The racing name which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for the past six months burst back into positive territory yesterday at Taipa racecourse as Redwood Falls caused a massive upset in the Macau Hong Kong Trophy.
A 33-1 outsider, Redwood Falls received a perfect ride from Macau's leading rider, Brazilian Manuel Nunes, to sweep through on the faster inside rail section of the straight and gave nothing else a chance in landing the fifth interport race for Macau.
The Kim Cheong-trained six-year-old stallion won by two and three-quarter lengths over Hong Kong's Good Profit (Shane Dye) with a head to Lightning Star (Christophe Soumillon) in third.
Redwood Falls is raced by Macau Jockey Club director Cheng Yung-pun, principal of the Domeland racing entity which made headlines last year in uncomfirmed reports it had put down hundreds of horses in Beijing.
The horses were reported to have been culled as they were no longer needed when the Beijing Jockey Club closed down.
Trainer Cheong said the key to Redwood Falls' improved effort yesterday was the cushion in the ground, which had been posted as good for the meeting but still held some moisture.
'He is not comfortable if the going is too firm but with the rain earlier in the week, the jar was out of the track and he was back to his best form,' Cheong said.
'He had barrier one, too, but as a six-year-old stallion, the inside barrier is not always a good thing for him. He can get cramped and unhappy with horses close around but today he handled it.'
Cheong gave high praise to Nunes, last season's runaway jockeys' championship winner, for a perfect ride and said he was confident Redwood Falls could be competitive in the return race at Sha Tin on April 30.
'But I will see how the going will be for that day,' Cheong he said.
Lightning Star owner, casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun, was on hand to see his gelding start favourite but after settling towards the rear, the John Moore-trained five-year-old was unable to make up the leeway.
With the course showing an inside and on-pace bias, the chances of most of the Hong Kong visitors were compromised but Good Profit, Lightning Star and Cheeky (fifth) all finished well, while Fifty Fifty disappointed after sitting in the box seat to the home turn.