Lightning struck for the second year running for game sprinter Wine Win as the Almond Lee-trained eight-year-old provided the only surprise of the afternoon in the Albany Handicap (1,000m).
Wine Win (Keith Yeung Ming-lun), had led throughout to win the same race at long odds last year on opening day, and Lee was no more confident of success yesterday than he had been in 2009.
With brilliant speedsters Multiglory and Blaze King steadied to race behind the old gelding, Wine Win found himself with 106 pounds aboard and alone in the lead - which is how he has won all of his nine victories and more than HK$6 million in stakes.
'He is a bit unpredictable because he likes to have the lead on his own and I didn't expect he would get it today but he is quite strong when he gets those conditions,' Lee said. 'I didn't think he would win last year, I didn't think he would win this year. Really, I have never thought of him as a Class Two horse, but the boy just had to sit on him from the start and let the horse bring him back.'
Lee admitted to being surprised at the waiting tactics on runner-up Multiglory and third-placed Blaze King, who were both heavily supported to win the race, but he was happy about the way things panned out.
'You know, Wine Win doesn't fight if he has competition but they were happy to give my horse around 20 pounds and let him dictate the race,' he said.
Wine Win's form fell away after he won the race on opening day last year, and he found himself three pounds lower in the ratings for this event even before Yeung's claim.
'I don't know if he will hold his form this time or not - I never really know when this horse is going to win but he's been a pretty good horse for me,' said Lee.