Green Zone's smart win is tailor-made for Sam
Never let it be said that Manu Melwani isn't a patient owner, but the addition of his 'lucky charm' put Sam The Tailor into a winning photo again after more than 16 years of waiting.
Cradling his 21/2-year-old granddaughter, Serena, the world-renowned tailor stood proudly to greet Green Zone (Olivier Doleuze) in the winner's circle - his first victory as an owner since Indian Chetak scored at the track in February 1995.
'It's a relief after such a long time but Serena is my lucky charm,' he beamed. 'Caspar Fownes told me at the start of the season to keep being patient and I would get my winner but we were quite confident today. Blinkers made a difference, as Caspar told me they would.'
Green Zone was a touch slow to begin, but Doleuze took the bull by the horns and used the sprinter in the early stages to make up ground and sit within striking range of the lightly-weighted leader, What A Heart, on a track where it proved very difficult to run on and figure in the finish.
'That was the winning move,' said Fownes. 'By pushing through and putting him up there quickly, Olivier kept some of the other horses wider and that was important.'
After some promising form in his first two starts this season, Green Zone had been disappointing when expected to run well at Happy Valley almost exactly a month ago, but freshened up and wearing blinkers for the first time, he was more switched on this time.
'He got a check at Happy Valley, then he seemed to lose interest. He is a horse with quite a lot of attitude about him, even just around the stables, so I thought he needed the blinkers to sharpen up his concentration,' Fownes said. 'And you could see when he trialled in them two weeks ago that he was more focused. He did get a bit fizzy in them but I do think he needs them.'
Trial watchers would have taken note when the horse who beat him in that fast-finishing trial second, Gurus Dream, won last weekend in smart fashion.
'It's great for Sam to get a winner again - he's waited a long time but I hope he won't have to wait as long for the next one now that he has broken the ice,' said Fownes, who also trains Potential for the tailor and that horse has been placed at his last seven starts.