O'Sullivan counting on a 'couple of surprises'
Olivier Doleuze and trainer Paul O'Sullivan each kept a glimmer of hope alive for their respective championship quests yesterday, but the New Zealander for one admitted he was 'now probably only nuisance value'.
'I think I'm just annoying Caspar now,' O'Sullivan laughed after Fingers Crossed (Doleuze) and Couldn't Care Less (Shane Dye) landed him a double to cut the deficit back to five wins behind Caspar Fownes in the trainers' championship.
'My chance is that we have two more Sha Tins before we go back to Happy Valley, so if I can wear Caspar down before that happens, then I might be a chance.
'Today has kept me alive but every time this has happened lately, Cas has bounced back with a winner or two next meeting to put me just as far behind again. It is a struggle at this stage with no more new horses to come - I just have to hope for a couple of surprises.'
For Doleuze, the win on Fingers Crossed was key as he begins a two-day ban, but the jockeys' title was slipping away from him by day's end with his rivals Brett Prebble and Douglas Whyte each winning doubles to get further away and they now have two free shots to extend that while he is suspended.
O'Sullivan said he had gone to the races with some confidence in Fingers Crossed, but Couldn't Care Less was more a case of a horse just having 'his day'.
'He's been trying hard but you wouldn't like to put your bank on him,' he said. 'Still, the owners are lovely people and they've been waiting a while for this, so good luck to them.
'There's another race on the dirt for him before the end of the season so we'll keep our fingers crossed!'
But the trainer was quick to point out that the horse named Fingers Crossed was probably greatly flattered by his wide winning margin in the third.
'He's been looking for a wet track, which is why I did think he'd run well today, but Olivier was clever and took him right to the outside and nobody else went out there,' O'Sullivan explained.
'As the day progressed it was obvious that it was much better going so the horse probably isn't as good as his 41/2-lengths margin, but I think he'd be competitive in Class Three if it's wet. He's only a little horse so the rise in grade and the drop to a lighter weight will probably help him more than most.'
Paul O'Sullivan is trying to catch Caspar Fownes in the trainers' race
The number of winners by which the New Zealander trails the leader: 5