Perfect tonic for O'Sullivan
A relieved Paul O'Sullivan snared his first winner of the season, 'about two months ahead of schedule,' combining with former apprentice and three-time winner on the day Derek Leung Ka-chun.
Leung drove home O'Sullivan's five-year-old Pizzazz in a Class Three (1,200m), a win which will provide a welcome boost for his former master's struggling stable.
O'Sullivan endured a season to forget in 2010-11, scratching his way to 13 wins, and as a result, he has suffered a drop in numbers. He hoped the win would give a much-needed fillip for the season ahead.
'We didn't have to wait until Christmas for our first winner this time,' laughed O'Sullivan.
'It was a relief. We're down on numbers and we had a tough year, but that's just a part of being here. We've changed our stable complex and it's just fantastic the new one, the horses are calmer.
'I've got to dig myself out and I've got to come back, one win doesn't bring it back but it's a nice start. It keeps everybody involved in the stable happy.
The New Zealand trainer credited Leung with doing all of the winner's trackwork and the necessary homework to know where to place the gelding in the run.
O'Sullivan was effusive in his praise of the jockey he called 'tough and resilient' and said he was glad to have retained an alliance with him.
'He is just starting to work things out now,' O'Sullivan said.
'He is out of his time and he can do what he wants, but I just tell him to be at my place at five 'o'clock every morning. When the trainers see a guy there at that time, they take notice.
'He's a really good kid and, like any good sportsman, he seems to have a lot of time to do what he wants to do.'
It was Leung's second treble, following a three-win effort in March 2009.
Leung produced a last-to-first effort on Carthage in race six, where he charted a weaving path up the straight, then won the final two races on the day on Five Clubs and Pizzazz.
'All three horses had good chances but they all had bad draws,' Leung said.
'I needed some luck to win on them, and I was very lucky.
'I am feeling more confident, I feel I am riding quite well, when I make decisions in the race I'm not hesitating.'
Two jockeys received suspensions in the last event. Olivier Doleuze and Eddie Lai Wai-ming both copping two-day bans for interference in the rough-and-tumble final stages.