Runaway winner inspires skippers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 October, 2008, 12:00am

Rival Bledisloe Cup captains Stirling Mortlock and Richie McCaw were inspired by the dominance of last night's runaway Sha Tin winner Lucky Quality, though neither was tempted to declare a comparable margin of victory at their historic rugby union clash on Saturday.

Lucky Quality (Olivier Doleuze) smashed his opposition in the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Cup by 81/2 lengths as a $19 [for $10] favourite. Mortlock and McCaw later presented trophies to the outstanding French jockey and trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak.

'It's been a great night here at Sha Tin and the people of Hong Kong have certainly given us a fabulous welcome,' Wallaby skipper Mortlock said.

While rugby union is what they live and breathe, both captains admitted to an interest in racing on the side.

'Particularly the Melbourne Cup,' McCaw chipped in. 'It's on again on Tuesday and a Kiwi will win it.'

'I don't think so,' Mortlock said mockingly. 'The Kiwis will have to endure more than one sad story over the next week.'

While Mortlock was talking up Australia's chances of toppling the mighty All Blacks in Saturday's encounter, McCaw told his Aussie counterpart to look at the scoreboard - the New Zealanders have the Bledisloe Cup safely wrapped up for 2008.

Jockey Club vice-chairman Brian Stevenson, a former chairman of the HKRU, said the big match has commanded interest from all over the world and represents a landmark achievement in the history of the game in Hong Kong.

'This is what we've been looking to do for some time, to have a second signature event in rugby after the Sevens,' he said. 'If this goes well, and I'm sure it will, it should open up a lot of possibilities for us. It's going to be a great thing for the city - a great thing for Hong Kong.'