Happy Money cashes in for a Bowl start
SPRINT champion Happy Money goes straight for next month's International Bowl following a quality success in last night's Happy Valley Trophy. The John Moore-trained six-year-old, who missed last season's Bowl after a bleeding attack in this very race, scored by three-quarters of a length from Champman River who held the luckless Winning Partners by a short head. Happy Money was given the perfect ride by first-season jockey Brian York, who has been under a fair bit of pressure of late and Moore was the first to acknowledge York's role. 'I thought he rode him a treat,' said Moore.
'I will send Happy Money straight to the Bowl. It is a relief that he has come back fine with no signs of the bleeding problems of last season.' The big form danger to Happy Money was Neville Begg's International Bowl winner of 12 months ago, Winning Partners, but he was unable to get a clear run in the straight before storming home for third. He was finishing all over the top of them on the line, having turned for home travelling only so-so. Jockey Darren Gauci has been in brilliant form all season but this was one occasion where he had no luck in running at all as his path was blocked for a vital 30 or 40 metres as he rousted Winning Partners into full flight.
Brian Kan Ping-chee's 1,235-metre specialist Champman River clung on for the quinella courtesy of the bob of the heads but is likely to now struggle in handicap company, having split the two best sprinters in training at level weights. Much depends on the handicappers' reaction but it is hard to see how it can be particularly lenient. Patrick Biancone's former Derby winner Helene Star, racing for the first time in almost a year, led for much of the way until lack of condition told from 200 metres. The next few days will be vital in seeing how his legs have withstood last night's exertions.
Biancone and stable jockey Eric Legrix didn't leave the city venue empty handed. They maintained their brilliant start to the season with a 324-1 back-to-back double via Goldchin Champ and Forever Ahead in the night's fourth and fifth events. Both were ridden superbly and in the most contrasting fashion by Legrix. Goldchin Champ enjoyed a pillar-to-post success in the fourth, making nonsense of his 27-1 odds as Legrix astutely kept enough in reserve to repel Saint Dragon Hill's persistent challenge by three-quarters of a length.
Having made all the running on Goldchin Champ, Legrix then rode the most patient but predatory race imaginable on Forever Ahead in the 2,230-metre fifth. Space Rock set a merry clip with Legrix tucking in from the extreme outside barrier to settle Forever Ahead in ninth. He had the confidence to take a pull as they approached the final turn, eager not to hit the front too soon. When he eased clear from the top of the straight there was only going to be one winner. Space Rock held second from Jive Boy with Entrepreneur, well ridden by seven-pound claimer Peter Ho an encouraging fourth.