Evening stroll yields results for O'Sullivan
LANCE O'Sullivan showed just why he's set to become champion jockey in New Zealand for the ninth time in succession with a consummate display on pressure horse Plenty Cash in last night's second event at Happy Valley. The self-effacing but tenacious Kiwi jockey scored by a neck from the Basil Marcus-ridden Exporter and he has now quietly moved to 11 winners during a highly successful three-month stint.
On this form, and the dashing double he notched at Sha Tin last weekend which included the prestigious Queen Mother's Cup on Geoff Lane's Fortune Duke, he looks a big chance to be back again next season. Nor was there any fluke about this victory as O'Sullivan, a complete professional, he arrived at the track early last night to walk the course.
That 15-minute stroll proved vital as he discovered there was a much better strip of ground down the centre of the course. O'Sullivan headed straight for the centre of the track and used that firmer ground to run past Marcus in a ding-dong battle to the line. O'Sullivan beamed after racing: ''Things have gone really well since I came back from riding Winning Partners in Japan. ''I was chuffed to bits with that double at the weekend as everyone knows that to ride one winner in Hong Kong is so difficult, letalone two.
''Mine had a good chance on the way he'd been working since moving to Lawrie and it didn't look to be a strong race. ''But we had a few things to overcome, not least the outside draw and 140 pounds. In the circumstances he showed a lot of fight.'' Jade set a fast pace but this really suited O'Sullivan's skills as he is a tremendous judge of speed and he didn't commit Plenty Cash until turning into the home straight, having got him smartly across and near to the rails from the jump.
The ground he saved from the start and the energy he preserved by riding a waiting race proved vital and probably accounted for the neck on the line. The win took Fownes to 37 for the season, temporarily putting him alongside his great friend and rival David Hill in third in the trainer standings behind Ivan Allan and John Moore. But Hill immediately hit back when Darren Gauci made all the running as Eminence broke his maiden tag in the third event. Winner's Special again raced ungenerously behind Eminencedespite the application of blinkers for the first time and Michael Clarke did well to get him up to run the quinella.
Allan and Marcus were on the mark as per usual these days when star private purchase griffin Quick Action put in his best display so far when dominating the opening event, despite a bad draw, to win in a fast time.
The Tony P. H. Chan-trained Amorace just pipped the heavily-backed Goodie-Goodie for the quinella behind Quick Action. Quick Action's win also highlighted the merit of the Kukri Trophy form as Jharna and Magic Joy have also run well since finishing well down the field behind You Bet and Quick Action in the Kukri.
Chan went one better when his Rabbit Bo Bo benefited from Super Hero's lack of resolution to scoot clear in the fifth. Danny Lee rode his first winner since returning from a nine-meeting suspension when Golden Emperor always looked like holding Splendid in a head-to-head tussle down the stretch in the fifth. Greg Childs narrowly failed to make his last ride of his current Hong Kong spell a winning one when Carry On Winning couldn't quite run down the gallant Champman River in the last.