Confidence high as Schutz yard looks ahead to more spoils
Trainer Andreas Schutz has started to turn his season around lately 'for a number of different reasons', but the German has placed air conditioning right at the top of that list.
Schutz battled through a long-losing run during the middle of the season before Sammy's Fortune broke the spell last month, and another double in Class Five this time with Golden Opportunity (Derek Leung Ka-chun) and King Of Turf (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) has him looking more optimistic.
'Obviously, it can't be a good season, but the horses have started to race better now the warmer weather has come, even those not winning,' he said.
'I'm optimistic that there will be more winners coming up and perhaps now I can make the cut for the Jockey Club's benchmark figure of 13 wins.'
Schutz said difficulties with air conditioning in his stables during the colder months have meant the horses have not been comfortable and their metabolisms have not known quite what to expect.
'I've had some horses which had to be clipped two or three times,' he said. 'They've been cold one day and not the next and turning in their coats because the air conditioning hasn't been working right, but that seems to be sorted now and it is showing up on the track.'
Golden Opportunity had not been far away in a number of outings, but Leung got the timing and strength just right to win the opener.
'I think he prefers a strong rider, but we've been changing between senior jockeys and apprentices with him - Derek is probably the one who has got him to run the best, so that was why he was on today and the race was run the right way for the horse,' Schutz said.
King Of Turf arrived as a Class Three galloper after a win in New Zealand, and Schutz has no doubt the gelding belongs in a better place in the pecking order than the bottom of the cellar - if only he would give it a try.
'He works better than a Class Five horse; his turn of foot is better than that, but too many times he's come back after a race still bucking and kicking - and that's a sure sign he didn't put his best effort in during the race,' Schutz said. 'He'll run you a good race but he doesn't give it 100 per cent and that's where the problem is, not in a lack of ability.'