Concert Boss in tune for Begg's treble
By Racing Editor LAWRENCE WADEY
THE Neville Begg-Darren Gauci axis flexed its muscles at Sha Tin yesterday with veteran handler Begg grabbing a 920-1 treble.
Begg scored with 23-1 chance Local Colour in the fourth, Concert Boss, who made 4-1 look generous with a facile success in the sixth, before Diablo finally lost his maiden tag under one of the rides of the season from Gauci in the eighth.
Only a most uncharacteristic lapse from the triple Melbourne champion jockey may have prevented a Begg four-timer as Gauci's whip went awol on Jolly Good Winner in the final 100 metres of the third.
The strapping son of Persian Heights, who needs plenty of cajoling, went down by a tantalising short head to Alex Wong Yu-on's 87-1 bolter The Sure Thing.
Gauci has now ridden six winners during a healthy start to the season while Begg's tally is five from just 35 runners.
Concert Boss had a comfortable three lengths to spare over Victory And Glory with Wonderful World just holding the gallant Best One out of the tierce spot.
Concert Boss did well with Derek Cruz last season but he appears to be in even better form since joining Begg.
The improvement he showed when moving from a mile to 2,200 metres yesterday indicates there will be another win in him over 2,400 metres.
Local Colour was the second career win for Begg's inexperienced 10-pound claimer Keith Kwok in a rough-and-tumble fifth event.
Kwok wisely resorted to the hands and heels option, rather than flailing away with the whip, in the local rider's Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup. It resulted in an emphatic 11/4-length defeat of California Gold.
Jimmy Ting, who rode California Gold, was found responsible for some severe scrimmaging down the back straight which saw Tactics nearly come down. Golden Prosperity was also badly checked as were Green Supreme and Fortune Basin.
Ting was banned for four meetings from a week today for careless riding.
In the circumstances, Fortune Basin and Green Supreme, who both missed the start to boot, put in most encouraging efforts and are notebook material.
Diablo had started 22 times in Hong Kong before yesterday without putting his head in front.
This enigmatic customer only scrambled home by a head from Fashion Delux due to Gauci's sheer brilliance in the saddle which more than made up for the whip lapse.
It was nothing short of a conjuring act and one of those rides where few other jockeys would have prevailed. Gauci performed similarly on My Bunny in midweek.