Double just the tonic for bruised Doleuze
It was the double that nearly didn't happen for jockey Olivier Doleuze while freshman trainer Richard Gibson continues to impress, with Mi Savvy and Racing Hero in the winner's circle for the duo.
Many fans may have missed the incident at the start of the second race when Doleuze nearly parted company with King Of Fish II, and the fallout from it had the French rider questioning whether to continue.
'King Of Fish II jumped awkwardly, on the side and my right shoulder hit the gates hard. I was knocked back, lost my right stir-up iron and thought for a second or two I was going to end up on the ground,' Doleuze recalled at day's end. 'The contact with the gates was strong, my shoulder was painful immediately after the race. I did think about whether I would keep riding, but the pain eased off after a short time, the doctor said I was OK.'
Doleuze no doubt felt his best rides were ahead of him and the Gibson-trained pair of Mi Reilly and Racing Hero applied the magic ointment to his bruises.
Mi Reilly was trying the straight for the first time after some very good efforts at Happy Valley for two wins and two close seconds.
'Full marks to the owner - there wouldn't be many owner-breeders in Hong Kong and he's produced a really promising horse for himself,' Gibson said. 'We know he'll be better next season and I'm thrilled with what he's done so far.'
While Gibson and Doleuze have been teamed with Mi Reilly from the start, Racing Hero was a new acquisition having his first run for the yard after two unlucky efforts under Manfred Man Ka-leung.
Box-seated throughout the final event, he had enough zip to get away from favourite G-One Winning at the 250m and held him off by a comfortable length at the finish.
'The farrier has to take a lot of credit, as this horse has complex foot problems,' Gibson said. 'A change to what is quite a unique shoe - a bar shoe plate - and he's had a change of form. I haven't had him long and wasn't sure what to expect but I'm more optimistic now.'