Shum grateful for owner's patience
Danny Shum Chap-shing had the highest motives in trying to extract a win from the bottom-grade winner Universal Komissar but was just slightly embarrassed about how long it had taken to happen.
'At the start of the season, I said I wanted to win with this horse as much as anything in the stable because the owner, Nancy Wong, is such a nice lady,' Shum said.
'This horse has taken such a long time to win, but Ms Wong has accepted every little setback or problem with good grace. She has such a wonderful attitude - her family has been in racing for years, so she understands the game - but still, her patience with this horse and her trust in me have been very touching.
'So, today, he's finally done it. It might have taken nearly three years and he might be near the bottom of Class Five, but he's finally won a race for his owner.'
The victory in the Tai Po Handicap (1,400m) came at the 26th time of asking, but the authority of the win made it all the more amazing he had not been able to win one before.
'Why has he taken so long?' Shum asked rhetorically. 'Well, he's been very slow to mature, and then he's had all sorts of niggling problems - never anything major but just little things that would always come along just when he was getting close to winning a race.
'But Ms Wong has been so patient, she always accepted the bad news in the same way as the good news and never made a fuss.'
Shum has far higher aspirations for yesterday's race three winner Singing Diners ($17.50 favourite), with the gelding completing a double for the trainer and jockey Eric Saint-Martin with a narrow but impressive win.
'When he won first-up at Happy Valley, it was a bit of a surprise - we knew he was a nice horse but just doubted he would be able to win first time around Happy Valley,' Saint-Martin said.
'But today, he has travelled into the race very nicely and I thought he would win, maybe, by a length. In the end, he only just got there, but I think it was still quite a nice win from a horse having only his second start.'
By way of helping educate Singing Diners, Shum is considering switching the gelding back in distance and running down the straight 1,000m track next start.
'I think it will be good experience for him, to learn to adapt to a different tempo and different style of racing,' Shum said. 'Nothing definite, but it is something I'm thinking about.'
Meanwhile, in Universal Komissar's race, Vincent Sit Shing-kin, who handled third-placed Multi-win Spirit, was later suspended for three days by stewards for causing interference to Felix Coetzee's mount Fight Back.