O'Sullivan happy to get monkey off his back

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2008, 12:00am

Paul O'Sullivan would concede that runner-up Jackpot Delight might have been unluckily beaten in the final event, but would also happily add that a stroke of good fortune coming his own way was long overdue.

O'Sullivan landed the Indigenous Handicap with heavily backed Fellowship ($29.50), who had been the victim of his own well-publicised ill luck last start when badly blocked and flashing home late for fourth to Full Of Joy on January 20.

So while his good friend and fellow trainer Caspar Fownes was scratching his head over the defeat of Jackpot Delight, and conceding that Fellowship might have 'won ugly', the 11-times champion New Zealand trainer (pictured) was just glad to get that winning feeling again.

'I'm sorry for Caspar and his owners but for us, this win has not been out of turn,' O'Sullivan said with palpable relief. 'We've just been enduring one of those runs every stable goes through at some stage, but it's been heartbreaking. I'm just glad this horse has put it all together today and having Douglas Whyte on board certainly helped turn things around.

'You have to give the guy credit - he just keeps riding winners.'

O'Sullivan's woes have been compounding over the past few months, starting with the shock failure of Medic Power in the International Sprint Trial when the gelding was later found to have suffered heart arrhythmia.

His Derby winner Vital King then failed miserably in the Hong Kong Vase, later scoping with a significant level of blood in his trachea. Medic Power then failed on his reappearance and was subsequently diagnosed with a back problem. And before Fellowship's breakthrough, O'Sullivan's last winner had been Pos Trumps on January 16.

O'Sullivan revealed Whyte had called for the ride on Fellowship and owner David Sin Wai-kin had agreed to the change after the gelding was unlucky to be beaten with Glen Boss in the saddle at his previous start.

'Nothing against Glen, he is a great rider,' O'Sullivan said. 'But Hong Kong is a hard place, not very forgiving. But thankfully it's all worked out today and I hope this horse can go on with it now.'