Victory a long time coming
While waiting for judges to separate stablemates Suisse D'Or and Golden Treasure after the Ventris Handicap (1,800m), trainer Andreas Schutz admitted he hoped the less fancied of the duo had held on.
Suisse D'Or prevailed by the barest of margins at 16-1, beating the favourite in a Class Four on the dirt and delivering a desperate Greg Cheyne his first winner for the term.
But Cheyne's run of outs was nothing compared to the horse's owner Albert Hausammann, who had to wait 23 starts for Suisse D'Or's maiden victory and hadn't tasted success in Hong Kong for more than six years.
Hausammann's last winner was in March 2005 with Esprit D'Or, also on the dirt. Hence the German's preference for his outsider.
'He has been waiting for a long time for this winner,' Schutz said. 'Not only with horse but he has been waiting six years and he's had some unlucky seconds, not only for me, but for other trainers. To come back and win for him was quite nice. Plus the fact he is Swiss means we can celebrate in German.'
'It wouldn't have been too bad if it was a dead heat though, it could have been two winners for me then,' Schutz added.
The winner wasn't among the original entries for the race, but when a lack of numbers saw the race re-open, he gambled with the still Class Five-eligible gelding.
'He wasn't set for this race, but after his last run at Happy Valley we discussed that his good form was only at Happy Valley or here.
'We were looking for a dirt race and when this Class Four re-opened I took a chance and put him in with a low weight, instead of waiting for a Class Five, because they don't happen very often,' Schutz said.
He added two factors had contributed to the win - the removal of blinkers and hood and a change to more positive riding tactics.
'I was always waiting for a good run for him at some stage,' he said. 'After his last run I said, 'we'll take off all the gear and try to ride him the same way he was ridden in New Zealand'. I said to Greg to jump out and get the lead.'
Cheyne is only contracted to February 1 and has attracted limited support. He hoped the win would help turn things around, especially with the impending arrival of three more jockeys to the Hong Kong ranks in coming weeks - Neil Callan, Maxime Guyon and Mickael Barzalona.
'It's a big relief,' he said. 'Now that I've had the winner hopefully it attracts more opportunities. I've been battling to get quality to rides, or any rides. It's very hard to prove yourself with no rides.'