Green Birdie's victory out of the top drawer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 May, 2010, 12:00am

After Green Birdie became Hong Kong's 10th international winner on foreign soil - eight of them Group Ones - since Fairy King Prawn broke the ice almost nine years ago, the KrisFlyer Sprint has been undersold in many forums as a lesser race for his victory but we can't support that view.

Though Green Birdie had not won a Group One event, he had been around in only the top-end races since his Group One debut seventh to Sacred Kingdom in the 2007 Hong Kong Sprint and run with great credit in most of them, including a neck second in the Hong Kong Sprint of 2008 and a fast-finishing fourth in the latest edition of that race.

In short, while Green Birdie didn't deserve favouritism, it would be a know-nothing opinion that said his win was unforeseeable.

Nor are we able to support the after-the-ball, sour grapes opinion that Robbie Fradd's tactics cost Rocket Man victory.

The Monday morning quarterbacks had Fradd (pictured) as making too much use of the horse, going too soon - well if going too soon was letting Gold Trail dash three or four lengths clear on straightening for home, the question remains: how far in front should he have let the Group One winner get?

And it must be remembered that wherever Rocket Man was in running, Green Birdie was never more than a length or so astern of him, so he must have been too close, too.

Perhaps the soft going dimmed Rocket Man's brilliance, perhaps just his inability to get the lead solo with Gold Trail in the race was a key, but neither Fradd nor Singapore's star should be pilloried for a defeat. It's horse racing.


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