Delpech shows he still has the power

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 May, 2006, 12:00am

Anthony Delpech is in catch-up mode and yesterday used a modest beast named Buddies Power to give owners and trainers a vivid reminder that he's right back in business.

Delpech was four-times champion jockey in South Africa, and his 1997-98 tally of 358 winners is still the record in that country. Add four Hong Kong Group Ones with Vengeance Of Rain, and the man owns a CV that any jockey would be proud of.

But racing is an unforgiving game, and injured jockeys making comebacks are often viewed skeptically until they prove themselves once more. Which spells out why his upset win on Buddies Power ($345) was so significant.

Delpech suffered a fall from Devon Flair, after passing the winning post, on March 12 and sustained a fractured collarbone.

'I only resumed last weekend and had just the two rides,' Delpech said.

'I then had two winners at the trials on Tuesday, and felt good, and had five more rides at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

'But to get a winner so quickly is really great. The bones have mended perfectly, and the shoulder is giving me no problem at all when I ride. I'm still getting a bit muscle score at the end of the day, after I've stopped riding, but that will soon be right too.'

Delpech said trainer Tony Millard had asked him to bounce Buddies Spirit straight to the front. 'He wanted me to go out and make the running, so that's why at I did,' Delpech said. 'The horse has just kept on running. He's actually done a good job because he's put a bit of a gap on them in the final stages. They never looked like running him down.'

Buddies Spirit continued Millard's amazing run with horses acquired from other stables. This season alone, he's had 10 individual winners of 13 races with hand-me-down gallopers.

This was Buddies Spirit's third run for Millard and prevented him from tumbling into Class Five. He won yesterday's Class Four off a rating of 41 points but having posted a 21/2-length margin, the grey won't be competing in the bottom grade for the foreseeable future.