Quartet leave stewards' room with lighter pockets
The approach of the holiday season was well and truly felt at Sha Tin with stewards handing out enforced vacations to four riders and all pleaded guilty to charges of careless riding.
Anthony Delpech is not long back from a lengthy time out but was first to go yesterday for his ride on As You Wish in the first event, shifting in and cutting off Cenamira, who bounced on to Couldn't Care Less as that horse was coming to win the race between As You Wish and eventual victor Aristocracy.
Delpech got two days and a HK$20,000 fine for his trouble, the penalty deferred until after the December 23 fixture.
Vincent Sit Shun-keung also pleaded guilty from an incident on Cenamira early in the opening race, but his two-day ban and HK$15,000 fine will take effect immediately.
Way Leung Ming-wai grabbed his eighth winner for the season when Whisky Power bobbed to beat Lucia in race two up the straight but the gelding's antics in the final 200m caused a check to Classic Horse as he was closing the race off well and Leung received a two-day ban and HK$15,000 fine to commence after Wednesday's meeting.
Finally Howard Cheng Yue-tin was the latest jockey to suffer the difficulties of riding Local Power in race three and found himself landed with a two-day suspension and HK$35,000 fine.
Local Power has shown an inclination to run left in all his starts and edged out in the final stages to check Douglas Whyte's mount, All Chances, which lost fourth place as a result.
Cheng will ride next Sunday before commencing his penalty.
The John Size-trained Unique Jewellery hasn't taken long to put his name on the winners' list but Douglas Whyte said yesterday's hard-fought win over 1,400 metres in Class Four was more a learning experience than a true expression of the three-year-old's talent.
The son of O'Reilly is a close relation of this year's Group One South Australian Oaks winner, Marju Snip, and that is probably a better guide to his future than this narrow victory.
'He already wants 2,000m so he's done well to be able to win today at what is clearly his wrong distance,' Whyte summed up.
'He's still got a lot to learn at this stage, too. He had led at his first start but was a bit timid today when he was in behind horses coming to the turn, and I was hard at work on him to get him to pick up. But he's a nice individual and I think he's going to make the grade later.'
Also making the grade with a win was the David Hall-trained Class Five runner Crush On You for Brett Prebble but the four-year-old is a source of frustration for the trainer. 'He's got Class Four ability but he's not there mentally and the penny just doesn't seem to drop with him,' Hall said.
'He lacks concentration especially at the start and only a great ride from Brett got Crush On You home today. I hope that winning one will give him some confidence but the problem now is that only Brett seems to be able to get him out of the gates and, with the light weight he'll have going back to Class Four next time, Brett won't be able to ride him.'