Doyle ends long wait for century
Plenty of riders have won a century of races in Hong Kong but few, if any, would hve had to wait as long as Brett Doyle for the final instalment.
It came yesterday as Doyle's new partnership with trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah racked up the first win for the new term as That's It strolled away with the Huizhou Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather track - almost four years since victory number 99 for Doyle.
The English rider was a fixture at Sha Tin in the late 1990s when he rode the bulk of his wins and many of them then were also for Leung, but his appearances here have been few and far between in the last eight years.
Doyle had a four-year break from Hong Kong racing before he returned in January 2004 to win the inaugural Hong Kong-Macau interport race on Crown's Gift, then he was here briefly again the following season, landing two victories for Francis Lui Kin- wai on Add The Fun and Specific Sorcerer.
When the latter arrived at long odds at Happy Valley on October 27, 2004, that was his most recent winner.
'It's been a long enough wait, hasn't it?' Doyle grinned after he seized the initiative on That's It from a wide gate in the fourth event yesterday.
That's It came out running from barrier nine and, when the racemap turned out a little differently to how Doyle expected it, he kept pushing on to cross to the lead on the rail.
'I expected Brett Prebble to lead me on Sou Ma Tam but my horse jumped very well and Brett didn't go on so I let mine roll,' Doyle added.
'One thing I was sure about was that he was very fit so I wanted to use that advantage.
'Things are going along well with Andy - it's not a stable full of stars in terms of ability but they are what they are and they are running well.'
That's It may have put up a better performance than it might look at first glance, as the gelding pulled up afterwards with a case of 'thumps', a type of post-race distress scenario usually restricted to those finishing out the back rather than the front of the field.
Brett Doyle finally registered his century of Hong Kong winners after a wait of almost four years: 4