Doleuze v Angland as tempers flare at Sha Tin
Sunday at Sha Tin, and more specifically an eventful race eight, left us with questions. Whose money moved Winfull Patrol’s price from 20s into 4-1? Why didn’t anyone think it was a good idea to apply some pressure to the leader in that race? But more important than all of that: who would win in a fight between Tye Angland and Olivier Doleuze if it came down to it?
Angland and Doleuze shared some stern swear words and engaged in a little bit of argy-bargy following the Sa Po Handicap, choosing about the worst place in the world to play push-and-shove – right outside the equivalent of the headmaster’s office, Kim Kelly’s Sha Tin stewards’ room.
Kelly is on a disciplinary rampage of late – you can’t so much as sneeze without copping a three-day ban or fine, so when Angland said a rude word, and Doleuze responded in kind by getting in his face, both were relieved of HK$20,000 for misconduct.
You can’t blame the boys for getting a little antsy: Doleuze had been just been beaten a short-head on Our Folks and Angland had nearly been knocked through the running rail on race favourite Brave Brother by Doleuze, before finishing fifth.
And both were probably pretty hungry, which makes anyone grumpy. There should be a “swear zone” – a place where jockeys can say whatever they want to each other to let off steam without fear of reprisal – oh, wait there is, it’s the back straight after pulling up.
But back to the matter at hand: if the boys were thrown in a UFC-style cage together and went at it, who walks away? Both are fan favourites, so we would get a crowd.
Doleuze is well known for his exuberant celebrations and full-length-stretch finishing style as he makes desperate dives for the line in close contests, while former cowboy Angland has won the Sha Tin faithful over in more recent times.
On Wednesday, Angland was dislodged on the way to the start from Grimmy, landed on his feet while maintaining a hold of the reins, and quickly swung himself back up on to the horse unassisted – much to the delight of the 70,000-strong crowd, who cheered wildly. It made it easier that Angland stands six-feet tall, which would also give him the reach advantage in our proposed bout.
Of course winning helps win the fans’ favour too, and both Doleuze and Angland have been doing plenty of that this season, sitting third and fifth in the jockeys’ championship with 29 and 23 wins respectively.
Happy Lucky Dragon Win may have painted a caricature of Doleuze as something of a Lan Kwai Fong playboy in the past, and while he isn’t really, we do stand by the often-stated claim that the Frenchman is in fact the coolest man on the planet. His interests include looking cool in custom-tailored clothing, listening to cool music and riding cool motorcycles.
But in between sorting through his colour co-ordinated wardrobe and organising the best end-of-season parties of all time, he practises kicking people’s butts with Thai boxing and Wing Chun – a form of martial arts. Check out this profile that looks like it was made the day after the internet was invented, but in fact was only in 2011, with Doleuze looking ripped and ready to fight. So Doleuze is no lightweight, even though that might be the division he would fight in.
But what of Angland, the 24-year-old from Wantabadgery (it’s near Wagga Wagga). They say that kids that grow up in Wantabadgery are so tough they push their own prams. So how tough is Angland? How about this: once he walked around for a week before realising he had a broken leg. That’s no joke.
After flying home to be best man at a mate’s wedding in 2011 with what could basically be described as a disintegrated shoulder from a race fall, the then 21-year-old alerted doctors to the fact his right leg was “pretty sore”.
“I heard a click in my leg as I stepped down a stair the other day and it started to swell up and wasn’t getting any better, so I went back to the doctor to get it checked out yesterday and the X-ray showed it was fractured,” he shrugged indifferently at the time.
“My leg was sore straight away, but I just figured it was bruising or muscle damage from when the horse trod on me. Because I was on such heavy painkillers for my shoulder, I didn’t think too much about my leg, but when the painkillers wore off it started to get pretty sore.”
So even if Ollie broke Angland’s leg with one of his fancy Wing Chun snap kicks, it wouldn’t even matter, because Tye wouldn’t notice anyway. And if Angland had his handlebar mustache still, how could you bet against him? He looked like Chuck Norris – and we all know how tough he is. According to esteemed website www.chucknorrisfacts.com, Chuck is so tough he once taught a book how to read.
Need some more evidence? What about the fact Angland was breaking in horses at 12 and rode rodeo bulls for fun growing up, and big brothers Rhys and Cody are champion cowboys back home. Angland would join them in a heartbeat if he wasn’t a world-class jockey. This is Rhys riding a lovely looking animal named Little Soldier, and then on a delightful beast, born in the depths of hell and sent to destroy those who choose to get on his back, Matrix.
Just as an aside, HLDW asked Angland, “which is more dangerous, rodeo or race riding?” It turns out there’s not much between them according to the down-to-earth Aussie: “They fall more often, but we fall harder,” he said.
So jockeys are all tough, and it would be great to see a post-season fight night where scores are settled – think Zac and Douglas finally putting nasty words into action, or Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin and Alvin Ng Ka-chun fighting for the crown of Hong Kong’s toughest 105-pound man-child.
Even the trainers and stewards could get involved. And I’m sure there’s a few licensees around who’d love to have a crack at a smart-mouthed reporter by the end of the season.
We’d never get the jockeys back from Phuket to compete anyway, and besides, Doleuze and Angland – both great blokes – shook hands afterwards, and probably would have left it on the track if they’d had their time again.