Chang's Ultimate satisfaction

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am


Michael Chang Chun-wai's promising sprinter Ultimate Winners did what was expected as the card's shortest-priced favourite, but even winning jockey Olivier Doleuze was left scratching his head when stablemate and 29-1 shot Super Horse arrived later in the day.

Only two horses have finished ahead of Ultimate Winners in his three straight track starts, Mentor and Go Baby Go, and they both seem bound for bigger things.

The runner-up efforts bookended a tidy half-length course and distance victory, and on the strength of that form, Ultimate Winners was sent out 1.8 favourite and didn't disappoint, speeding away for a comfortable 23/4 length Class Three win.

'This was quite an easy race for him, considering who he has been up against,' Chang said. 'I saw improvement from his last run to this one.'

Chang said the well-bred four-year-old, a son of Encosta de Lago, who cost A$135,000 (HK$1.11 million) as a yearling, hadn't been straight forward to train.

'He has had a foot injury, which has held him back, so we'll just concentrate on the 1,000m races and stick to that for now,' he said.

'He just raced two weeks ago and I don't want to be too hard on him.'

Jeff Lloyd has now ridden the horse twice up in grade with light weights and has been suitably impressed.

'He is a nice horse and he will progress,' he said.

'He is a good sprinter and at the weights, you expected him to win like that with 115 on his back.'

What wasn't expected was Chang's 13th winner later in the day, enigmatic four-year-old Super Horse shocking even Doleuze.

Super Horse came in with three zeros next to his name in the form guide - a last and two second-lasts not instilling confidence in punters, connections or the Frenchman in the saddle.

'He is not an easy horse to find, because he is naughty in the gates, he doesn't jump, but when everything goes right, he has a little bit of ability,' Doleuze said.

'He is just not reliable. In the mornings, he flies, he is a very good worker. So you lose your mind with him, you think he will run good and suddenly he runs bad.'

Doleuze conceded the horse just might have had his 'birthday'.

'He had dropped in rating, which helped, but we were lucky to win,' he said.

'I think the race, even if we had missed the start it would have been run perfectly for him ... in this sort of race he is competitive.

'A freshen-up helped him too,' Doleuze added. 'I had been disappointed with him so I suggested to Michael that maybe we had backed him up too quick and stretched him too far.'