Anton Marcus finally returned a winner yesterday after what must have been the least productive period of his riding career. 'I'm really delighted - I couldn't tell you what my last winner was,' Marcus said after steering home Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's Laser Glory in the fourth.
Marcus had been winless for 37 rides - not exactly an eternity - but for him it must have felt like forever. In fact, it was the first winner for Marcus since Specific Sorcerer's Sha Tin victory on November 24 last year, with the South African losing a huge chunk of the season after a track accident a few days later.
The simple fall from Thunder Man, which spooked going on to the training track, left Marcus with a left hand broken in three places and a long recuperation ahead. 'I lost about 2.5 months. It was a simple fall but a bad break,' Marcus said yesterday. 'You know it's one of those things, just the luck of the draw how it turned out. But it's so good to get a winner again - it'll do wonders for the confidence.'
Beginning like a bullet from his outside gate, Laser Glory led on the rail and defied all attempts to run him down in a brave if narrow winning effort that certainly tested whether Marcus had any chinks in his fitness.
'It does take time to get back into match fitness,' he said. 'I had ridden five mornings at the track before my first race meeting back but before today I'd had rides at five meetings so I'm getting back to where I should be again.
'It has made a bit of a mess of my season but I'm very grateful to the Jockey Club for granting me an extension till the end of the season, so hopefully I'll be able to make up for losing that time.'
Exuberant French rider, Olivier Doleuze hasn't had the same kind of run he had in Hong Kong last season but kept his tally ticking over with another winner yesterday.
Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Arrogance was probably overdue a win and relished a perfect trip under Doleuze to score his third victory, his second on the all-weather track.
'Barrier one was a big help,' Doleuze said. 'A lot of my horses seem to be fairly high in the handicaps this time so it is tougher going but it was nice to win today. It always is.'