Blinkers help Wongchoy break maiden tag
Andreas Schutz had two horses break their local maidens, with Keen Wongchoy putting his wayward ways behind him and a gear change and positive tactics paying off with Eagle Spirit.
After Keen Wongchoy broke through at start number 14, upsetting odds-on favourite G-One Winning in the process, Schutz (pictured) rattled off the reasons Keen Wongchoy had been beaten previously.
'In three of his seconds he has thrown it away,' Schutz said of the horse's tendency to veer dramatically off-course within sight of the line.
'One was because of the flower arrangement on the inside of the winning post, once because the crowd was too noisy and the other time was when the jockey was using the whip when he shouldn't,' he said.
Andreas Suborics got cover on the horse, who can also overrace a touch, as he stepped up to 1,400m for the first time this season and then weaved along the rails late.
'Now he has the blinkers on, he has stopped running off, Suby is using the stick in the right hand, even though he was next to the rail and he didn't move an inch away,' Schutz said.
'We've been waiting a while for a win, but I didn't expect it to happen today against G-One Winning. We got a nice run on the inside and we got the run when we needed it.
'The switch to the 1,400m was overdue, but he did tend to overrace in the middle stages when we took him over that distance earlier, so that's why we kept him over the 1,200m.'
Suborics said the horse still had some upside.
'He is a nice horse and I think he can get better in the future,' he said. 'He is still a young horse and I think he can compete in Class Two.'
Schutz applied side winkers for the first time to Eagle Spirit and instructed Matthew Chadwick to go forward, the moves paying off as the horse booted away off an easy tempo to win by 11/2 lengths in the CUHK Alumni Cup (2,000m).
'We've always been positive with him, but just never had the right run to suit him in front,' Schutz said. 'He was ready to win a long time ago but has had some unlucky defeats, he has run second to better-class horses.
'We wanted to get a bit more speed into him with the side winkers and get him travelling, but we may go to blinkers when we get back to shorter distances.'
Chadwick, who had another front-running win earlier in the day aboard Medic Champion, said the intended tactics were not necessarily to lead, but he sensed a lack of speed after the jump and pressed to the front.
A first half mile of 50.84, meant the six-year-old had enough petrol left to stride home the final 1,200m in even sectionals and give the backmarkers little hope.
'He is a bit one-paced so I tried to get them off the bit early,' Chadwick said. 'He is a big horse that needs some galloping room, so I made use of my inside draw and from that point to let him stride out.
'Off that sort of performance he can win again, maybe they can find a few more 2,000m races without much pace in them.'