Delight for Doleuze after Auckland heartbreak
Olivier Doleuze had his thirst for a winner finally quenched when noted all-weather track performer Wadadelight found things his own way in the fifth event on the artificial surface.
The flamboyant Frenchman had been guest of the Auckland Racing Club at their Auckland Cup meeting this week at Ellerslie and went oh so close - three seconds, including the Group One Auckland Cup - but no cigar.
'It was nice to get a winner today and I've had a nice association with this horse,' said Doleuze, who has handled the American-bred gelding for trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung just four times for a 50 per cent record.
'Really, on the dirt track, he's two classes better,' he added.
'Today, from a good barrier, he had a lovely run just behind them on the fence and when he got into the clear, he put them away very quickly.'
Andy Leung Ting-wah has all but secured his training licence for next term, after the opening race upset with Maximum Joy ($269.50) gave him his 11th winner for the season.
Leung prepared just 10 winners for the whole of the 2004-05 season and was warned in writing by the licensing committee that he had not met the minimum performance benchmark of 13, potentially putting his licence in jeopardy should it happen again.
Leung has responded positively and, with 38 meetings to go, needs only to land two more winners to make his place in the Hong Kong training ranks safe once more.
Hong Kong's newest trainer-jockey team strengthened its already solid bonds when Almond Lee Yee-tat and Gerald Mosse combined for a significant double, courtesy of Glory Years and debutant Flying Tamari.
Glory Years was at a fairly generous price of $67 in betting, perhaps because he'd failed at his only previous run on the dirt. But as Lee pointed out, the big chestnut was checked at the start on that occasion and then went around five wide on a limb to there were very real excuses.
Yesterday, after being gifted the inside gate at declaration time, it was an entirely different story with Mosse's driving style ultimately convincing Glory Years to stretch right out and stave off a seemingly probable defeat by Brett Prebble on Active Valour.
Flying Tamari continued the strong winning performance by progeny of the Arrowfield stallion Flying Spur in Hong Kong. Although advantaged by drawing barrier 14 when the field came down the outside of the straight course, Flying Tamari showed well-developed competitive instincts and was simply too strong in the concluding stages of the fourth event for the John Moore-trained Plezayre.
Simon Yim Hing-keung asked to be excused from his book of rides at Sha Tin yesterday on compassionate grounds.
Chief steward Jamie Stier advised that Yim's father had passed away on Saturday night. None of the local jockey's six mounts featured among the placings.