Low five 'can turn into high five'
Dye remains confident despite less-than-perfect draw for favourite Joyful Winner
Shane Dye promised a cold ride and a fast late swoop on Joyful Winner in Sunday's Group One Champions Mile despite coming up with a low draw for the probable favourite.
Dye, aided by owner Kong Kin-kuen, drew gate five for Hong Kong's latest racing star in the $8 million international event and confessed the gate was much closer to the inside fence than he preferred. 'I really wanted to draw out further so he could stay out of trouble in the early stages,' Dye said. 'But five is still okay. He'll be well back and I make my way out from there.'
Dye has enjoyed a great association with Joyful Winner but missed the ride on the Australian-bred galloper last start when connections opted for megastar Christophe Soumillon in the Group One Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m).
One start earlier, Dye learned the hard way about making early use of the gelding's tactical speed when Joyful Winner was beaten as an odds-on favourite, behind stablemate Art Trader, in the Group Two Chairman's Trophy.
'He's an outstanding horse, no doubt about that, and he really suits my style of riding,' Dye said. 'John [Moore] has done a wonderful job with the horse and he's improved with every run - he hits the line so well.'
By the time John Size was asked to select a barrier for his outstanding prospect Danacourt, there were only two possibilities remaining - eight or 12. Lucky eight was left for Perfect Partner (Olivier Doleuze) and Danacourt will start from the second-outside stall in the field of 13.
'It doesn't really matter because there's no place to hide in a race like this,' Size said.
When asked how Danacourt had progressed since his brave first-up second to Happee Owner last week, the three-time champion trainer said: 'Better than expected. I've really been pleasantly surprised because he came home and did really well after the race, so I guess he's getting that bit more mature, a bit stronger and coping better because of that. A race like this is an opportunity for him that he normally wouldn't get.'
Dubai-based trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam came up with a 'perfect' alley - four - for visitor Seihali, owned by Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum - the youngest of the four famous Maktoum brothers who collectively comprise the world's most powerful racing family.
'He has travelled very well, has done well since arriving and he's a very consistent horse,' Selvaratnam said. 'We are hoping for the best.'
Seihali will be ridden by renowned big-occasion player Weichong Marwing, still flying high after his all-the-way win on Irridescence in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup two weeks ago.
Annalisa Balding, representing her husband Andrew who trains Vanderlin, had no complaints after securing the nine gate for the British visitor. 'The main thing is that he's settled in well and is eating well, but he's done plenty of travelling so we expected that wouldn't be a problem,' she said.
'He has the pace to take a forward position, and there is a long run down the back straight from the 1,600 metres start, so the barrier doesn't look like an issue.'
Moore's second-string horses, Art Trader and Sunny Sing, each received positive reviews, although Eric Saint-Martin will be forced to go right back on Art Trader after drawing 'out on the river' in 13.
'My horse is a very genuine horse and this is perfect distance after being trained for the Derby,' said Sunny Sing's new pilot, Gerald Mosse. 'I'm very confident he will run a good race, and even more happy now that we've drawn barrier three.'
The coveted inside alley was won by Dennis Yip Chor-hong for Dave's Best. The gelding will be reunited on Sunday with Dwayne Dunn, who rode him to land a huge upset over Sunday's course and distance in the International Mile Trial (Gr 2) in November.