Soumillon lands double but stipes unimpressed
Christophe Soumillon fans would have given him maximum marks for an astonishing ride to win on Accelerator in the second race but stipendiary stewards were less appreciative of his efforts later in the day.
The dynamic Soumillon (pictured) was suspended on separate careless-riding charges from the same race as a result of his ride on the Caspar Fownes-trained Horace's Choice in the Guangxi Handicap (race seven). The bottom line was a two-day suspension and two fines of HK$40,000 each.
Soumillon admitted his guilt to stewards and repeated his failing in post-meeting interviews, but was more keen to discuss the bravery Accelerator had showed in nailing back Wavy Peak in the final few strides of the second event, the Class Five mile.
'When we got to the 200 metres, my horse had moved into second place but he was never going to beat the leader Wavy Peak,' Soumillon said.
'I was riding him very hard and under the pressure of it all, he started to hang in behind Wavy Peak. So I put the whip away and tried to give him a rest for a short time, before asking for one more effort.
'And it was amazing, he found more and as he started to close on Wavy Peak, I could see the other horse was coming to the end of it. I was using the whip in the right hand and driving with my left ... and right on the line, we got up,' the Belgian ace said.
Soumillon said that although this was a handicap for racing's cellar dwellers, the victory on the Sean Woods-trained Accelerator had given him a lot of satisfaction.
'I love to win on horses that try their best, and class does not matter,' he said.
'This horse is only Class Five but he has carried a big weight [133 pounds] and tried very hard for me. I was very proud of him, he deserved that win.'
Accelerator made it a Soumillon double with the bottom graders, having earlier landed the opening event with Faster Faster ($66.50), the first leg of a David Ferraris double.
'David told me he was very confident,' Soumillon said. 'The horse had won at his last start on the all-weather track [for Anthony Delpech] and David thought he had improved since then.
'I'm not surprised. When you look at him, he's quite a nice horse, certainly not what you might call a typical Class Five horse. When I took him to the outside in the straight, he ran on quite strongly.
'It was a good win, he was simply better than those horses and I think he can probably win again when he gets to Class Four.
Soumillon's final bill from the stewards at day's end was HK$83,000 - as well as the HK$80,000 of careless-riding fines, he was also hit for HK$3,000 for his late arrival at the course for the mount on Faster Faster.