Dream Team miss big prizes, but look forward to Chapter's next episode
The big events eluded the Dream Team of trainer John Size and jockey Douglas Whyte yesterday, but Size still landed a treble and Whyte was thinking 12 months ahead with at least one of them.
'Brilliant Chapter was a fantastic effort with the 133 pounds, and is a horse that I think we could see back here this day next year in the Sprint,' the jockey said.
'It's amazing what a difference a draw makes. I used the draw today - I didn't force him to go but he just jumped out and wanted to be there. His last two runs, he has wanted to get back. I said to John it wasn't as soft a win as it might have looked but he was up there and running all the way and I think he felt the big weight today, too.'
Size won two in tandem with Whyte, with Brilliant Chapter and More Bountiful, while Felix Coetzee won his first ride back from suspension in the opener on Pocket Money for Size, and he too looks to have a good race in him somewhere.
'When John and I spoke about the race we agreed that drawing barrier two was not ideal. He isn't a horse who enjoys being bottled up inside horses, so I came out of the gates and made sure I got a place on the outside so I could give him some room,' Coetzee said. 'But once we got on to the turn and I could pull to the outside. I didn't have too many worries after that.'
The other Dream Team also managed a winner, the Tony Cruz-trained horse by that name, who had been targeting the big day well before his first-up start in Hong Kong last month.
'We've been waiting with this horse for Christophe Soumillon to arrive,' said Cruz. 'The owners have a great friendship with him and particularly wanted to give him a winner. And I wasn't complaining at all - Christophe is as good as they come.'
The John Moore-trained Craig's Dragon continues to look a horse of the future, the four-year-old switching on at the right time to make a procession of the Paris Handicap (1,200m) at his first time in blinkers.
'This was the day that mattered most, so the blinkers went on and made a huge difference to him,' said jockey Darren Beadman.
'He travelled much more strongly and I actually had to hold on to him and wait to press the button, but he was never going to lose. John was a bit disappointed in himself that he didn't use them two starts earlier, but he's won a race on the biggest day of the year today and we have to be happy with that.'
Trainer Almond Lee Yee-tat was as confused as everybody else when his lesser-fancied stable runner, Full Of Joy (Gerald Mosse) bounced back to form with a shock win in the final race at his second run back from a tendon sheath operation. 'Actually I thought my other horse, Interchina Star, had a much better chance to win but he wanted to lay in all down the straight,' Lee said.
'But I'm always happy to win. Full Of Joy ran very keenly when he came back from his operation and I thought he still might not be ready today but he has come on a lot for that race.'