Visionario finally cracks it as Woods in sight of matching stellar debut
Trainer Sean Woods wasn't altogether taking a victory bow after Visionario finally broke through for his first Hong Kong win as part of a stable double.
Visionario (Eric Saint-Martin) finished powerfully to beat Vanquish Delight running away in the Manicou Handicap (2,000m) in the style of a horse on his way up the ladder - except that he has already been up there before.
'I bought him to win the Derby last year so to win a Class Four over the same course hardly makes me a great trainer,' Woods grimaced.
'But I'm pleased to see him win, he really is a very good horse and it breaks your heart to see what has happened to him. He's had all sorts of problems here.
'Not with his legs, but he was slow to acclimatise and then had back problems, which took time to come right.'
But Visionario, who arrived with a rating of 93 on the back of some top- class French juvenile form, has appeared to find himself recently since dropping to the low 50s and had run on well over shorter trips leading into yesterday's event.
'I have to give plenty of credit to Eric. I wouldn't have gone to 2,000m today - perhaps 1,800m but not 2,000m - but for his urging me to do it, so he was proved right,' Woods said.
'Eric told me after the race that he felt he was going to win after just a couple of hundred metres, it was just a case of steering him through the field.'
Visionario has an entry for Happy Valley on Wednesday and Woods has not dismissed the possibility of running him again if he comes through in good order.
Woods' second win came with Lambro, who landed a deceptive photo in the final race, to make up for his desperately unlucky defeat last outing and much to jockey Zac Purton's relief.
'I am really grateful to Sean and the owner for keeping me on - they had every reason to take me off after last time so it's great to win for them both,' said Purton. 'Woods said he had not gone into the race with any confidence after the track upgrade to good to firm earlier in the day.
'He'd had a very bad tendon injury before I got him and he's probably four to five lengths better with some give in the ground,' Woods said. 'I thought the track would be too hard for him today.'
The pair took Woods to 28 wins for the season, equal seventh on the ladder and in sight of the 34 successes which made his debut season his best Hong Kong performance to date.