Chang gets Ultimate satisfaction with Winners
Trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai knows the one disappointment in yesterday's second-start victor Ultimate Winners is that he probably won't get to show just how good he really is after missing last season with injury.
Runner-up on his debut down the straight 1,000m course behind subsequent winner Mentor, Ultimate Winners (Olivier Doleuze) did what was expected and converted that form into a win over the same straight course as favourite, even if 1,000m should not necessarily be the Encosta De Lago gelding's cup of tea.
'I bought Ultimate Winners for the owner as a young horse, and he has a nice pedigree and has always shown his share of ability,' Chang said.
'But he injured his left suspensory ligament after he got here in 2010 and that kept him out of action all season.
'His owner wanted to retire him but I told him the horse has plenty of potential and is quite talented, and that if we gave him time to recover from the injury that he would win races.'
So the victory had some sense of satisfaction for Chang on a number of counts, but also a tinge of regret that the gelding might be hampered by his past.
'I think he could be a horse with a nice future and definitely not only a 1,000m horse, but I am worried about his legs,' Chang said.
'The straight course puts less pressure on his legs than racing him around a turn, so for the moment I am going to play safe and keep him to the straight.
'Maybe later he will become stronger and we can try around the turn.'
Doleuze keeps ticking over the winners and took himself to 19 with Ultimate Winners, and said he didn't believe continuing to race over 1,000m was too much of a problem.
'I'm quite happy about that. This horse has natural pace, and he puts himself right into the race,' he said.
'He wasn't completely wound up when he ran the first time and I was confident he could improve enough to win today and he did.
Although the margin wasn't big, he is still immature and he thought the job was done in the last 200m and he was just watching everything.
'I like his attitude and he can win more races.'