Connections reap dividends with Pachinko
Alan Aitken and Murray Bell
With the 2006 International sale topper Danesis having taken the first steps to repaying his big purchase price recently, one of the other major lots from the auction was even earlier to post a return yesterday when Pachinko stunned punters on his debut.
Sent out at long odds, the $4.4 million international sale graduate produced wings down the centre of the track in the final 200m to overwhelm his Class Four rivals and make owner Siu Pak-kwan a happy man.
'The trainer David Ferraris helped me to pick this horse at the sale and, even though the price was a bit more than they were bringing, I paid the extra money because David was very keen on him,' the owner said.
'Before the race today, David told me that Pachinko is still a very green young horse so I didn't have great confidence and only had a small bet. But I haven't had a winner for quite a while so I'm still very happy.'
Jockey Anthony Delpech agreed the More Than Ready three-year-old is still very green but was impressed by his raw talent.
'He has huge stride on him and when he let's go - wow,' Delpech said.
'It isn't easy to win at your first start so I think he has a good future.'
By the standards of previous weeks, yesterday's toll from the stewards' room was a modest one but even so, Felix Coetzee and apprentice Thomas Yeung Kai-tong each came out on the wrong side of racing's law men. With Douglas Whyte, Brett Prebble, Eric Saint-Martin, Kevin Shea and Terry Wong Chi-wai already sidelined, and Anthony Delpech, Alex Lai Hoi-wing and Howard Cheng Yue-tin riding under a deferment of penalty, the jockey roster was already looking rather empty.
While no jockey likes to be suspended, Coetzee had no complaints after he pleaded guilty to careless riding in the opening event on the all-weather, for having crossed to the rails on Gaucho at the 800m when insufficiently clear of Jade Dancer (Glen Boss).
Yeung also pleaded guilty to careless riding on High Intelligent in the ninth event, a shift which caused Slow Waltz to be severely checked. Coetzee was suspended for two days and fined HK$40,000, while Yeung was suspended for three meetings but no cash component.
The Me Tsui Yu-sak bandwagon rolled on happily in yesterday's opener on the dirt track, with the understated local horseman landing yet another win from reformed rogue Good Trio - this time in Class Four.
Good Trio had been winless in 39 starts for a number of trainers when he arrived in Tsui's yard last season, but the new trainer has now won four races from just nine starts with the born-again eight-year-old.
'To be honest, I had my doubts about him measuring up to Class Four,' Tsui admitted. 'I have to give all credit here to the jockey [Way Leung Ming-wai]. He's saved a lot of ground after the horse began slowly, and pulled him to outside at just the right time.'
Tsui has now prepared eight winners for the new term, from 61 starters, and shares second place on the trainers' table with John Size, two wins behind Almond Lee Yee-tat.
Glen Boss gave an insight into the pressure of riding in Hong Kong when he described winning the final event on Victory Turbo as 'like riding a Group One winner'.
Boss had landed just one prior winner in this tour of duty, and missed two meetings through suspension. So after a frustrating day where very little luck had come his way, the Boss felt a breakthrough was well and truly due.
The Paul O'Sullivan-trained Victory Turbo ($140) relished the fast pace set by Congratulation and hit the line much better than Meridian Pride (Gerald Mosse) after that gelding looked all set to give Almond Lee Yee-tat his third winner for the afternoon.
'I got a real thrill out of that,' Boss said. 'Not much had gone right for my horses earlier in the afternoon, so winning that one is a real buzz. I feel like I've just ridden a Group One winner.'