James Winks won a controversial victory over Douglas Whyte in the stewards' room to go three on end with the reformed Pacific Alliance yesterday before twisting the knife into Whyte, punters and sidelined rival Mark du Plessis as he made it a double with Istide.
The Sean Woods-trained Pacific Alliance is in the form of his career. Since teaming up with the Australian jockey at his past three outings, the nine-year-old, who had 88 starts for just four victories, has now taken that formline to a respectable seven career wins, but he needed the inquiry room to do it this time.
Pacific Alliance brushed twice with favourite Amazing Journey (Whyte) in the run down the straight before failing to overhaul him by only a nose as they hit the finish line, then managed to get the result overturned once Jamie Stier and his panel sat down to consider the matter as an objection. 'I think it was the right decision. There was some contact and the margin couldn't have been smaller,' said Winks.
'Anything at all was enough to alter the result and I really thought I would get it. Hooray for Pacific Alliance, I say!'
Favourite backers were again on the wrong end of Winks' success in the ninth when Istide touched out Appreciation, who endured a tough wide run for Whyte before failing to hold off the 46-1 chance in the final strides of the Kowloon Tong Handicap (1,400m). Once again, the stewards wanted to get involved, but this time because Istide had been ridden positively by Winks and gone forward yesterday instead of back as it had been in recent starts.
'I told them that I didn't want the horse as far back as he was last time but from a wide draw that was the way things had worked out,' said trainer Andreas Schutz.
'Today, we had a slightly better draw, the opportunity was there to go forward and he was able to do it and I also think the horse was better in himself today.
'His coat hasn't been quite right, the horse hasn't seemed to be quite right but I did think he had improved a little for today.'
Which is probably not the case with Du Plessis as he nurses injuries received in a fall in the Auckland Cup four days ago - he was booked for two winners yesterday, Istide and Ribot Legend, and his badly bruised right leg is unlikely to be feeling any better for their successes yesterday under substitute riders.