Alan Aitken

O'Sullivan just passes benchmark - and looks ahead to next season

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 July, 2011, 12:00am

Paul O'Sullivan says he was never much of a letter writer anyway, so it's just as well Dividend Champion landed the My Choice Handicap to give the trainer his 200th Hong Kong winner but rather more importantly, his 13th for this season.

Had O'Sullivan failed to make the Jockey Club performance benchmark, he would have been required to send a 'please explain' to the Licensing Committee, but Dividend Champion (Derek Leung Ka-chun) saved him the trouble.

'It's the bright moment in what has been a season to forget - the one light at the end of the tunnel that wasn't an approaching train,' O'Sullivan summed up. 'At least I've got a pass mark and when we start again, we all go back to zero in September. I'm moving stables for next season, though still in the main compound, and I guess I'll be down on numbers but we have survived, that's the main thing.'

Leung, who recently finished his time as an apprentice under O'Sullivan, turned up for his old boss when it was needed and continued his own good recent form with a double when he added Super Strike for Andreas Schutz in the next race.

'He's riding well and I'm sure he's going to make it as a senior. He has a good attitude and doesn't make excuses, and he gets off a horse after a race and he can tell you something that helps you,' O'Sullivan said.

'As for Dividend Champion, he should make a horse next season as a four-year-old. He's been very dumb and a slow learner but his last run, he had to do it tough sitting wide and he did stick on pretty well and that told me he had turned the corner.

'He has been a bit fragile, condition-wise as a three-year-old, and he should stay, too, so there are reasons to think that he could be a better proposition when he comes back after the break.'