No fanfares as Piggott finishes well off pace
LESTER Piggott, as big a name as there has ever been in racing, said farewell to Hong Kong yesterday after visits stretching over 20 years. He left without a winner and walked unnoticed from the course.
There was no standing ovation for the old master as he trailed home 13th of 14 on the Peter Tse-trained Fairy Fun in the sixth event, the Sports Club Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup. That was his last ride.
His final day in the saddle saw him ride two 80-1 no-hopers that both finished second last in full fields and topweight Hankow Star who ran a respectable fourth.
It earned him roughly $3,000 in a fourth place percentages plus losing ride fees - enough for a round trip ticket on the helicopter to Macau.
That's where he was riding last night and today but he did leave with the good wishes of commentator Robert Geller in his ears - well, if he heard them, of course.
Geller wished Lester success and good luck on his return to the UK.
Not a mention of the Macau Derby today or his sortie to the premises of the Macau Jockey Club.
Piggott is under orders at Taipa today - was Geller also under orders of a slightly different kind yesterday? TRAINER Geoff Lane might well hesitate before putting pen to paper to declare Fortune Duke to run again this season. It seems that ever other time the stayer runs, Lane ends up in the inquiry room - a place he frequented officially, of course, for some eight years.
Lane, whose stable has been in fine form of late, was back in there yesterday following the run of Fortune Duke in a 1,600-metre event. His explanation that he was unable to find a race of a more suitable distance for the horse was noted but his attentionwas drawn to the rule regarding inconsistency.
Surprising really, the one consistent thing about Fortune Duke this season has been his inconsistency.
LANCE O'Sullivan's day might not necessarily have been brightened yesterday by the news that Miltak won the important BMW Stakes in Sydney - even though dad Dave trained the winner.
Lance had a rather hard choice to make recently - ride in either yesterday's BMW or next week's AJC Derby at Randwick. He opted for the Derby where he partners filly Our Popsy, winner of the New Zealand equivalent in which he beat the Hong Kong-owned Sha Tin Heights.
As Miltak was winning the A$1 million BMW, Lance was pushing six of them round Sha Tin with only Today's Special running up to expectations in finishing second in the second event. At least two other well-fancied runners finished well back.
STILL in the land of Oz where the Golden Slipper yesterday went to the Greg Hall-ridden Danzero after a double objection which was finally overturned.
Danzero beat home Hong Kong-connected favourite St Covet, ridden by Shane Dye. St Covet was bought by New Zealand bloodstock agent Rob McAnulty and local owner Allan Lam has a share in the horse.
RAN into a sun-bronzed Warren Wilson a couple of days ago. The former supremo of the betting department of the Jockey Club is here for a week - at the Sevens yesterday, not the racing - and does look particularly dapper.
Warren, the man who gave us the Double Trio and made countless millionaires out of the man in the street during his tenure of office, was at the Winter Olympics in Norway and then among the Pyramids in Egypt.
And he's also very much in demand, having only recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of the recently-privatised TAB of Victoria. He is also an adviser to a major British outfit as well.