Rich Tapestry was purchased for the Hong Kong Derby, but it turned out the horse's best attribute was speed not stamina. Yesterday the five-year-old claimed some high-profile scalps in the Group Two Sprint Cup and could now be headed on an overseas campaign to take advantage of the horse's dirt track ability.
A week after trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai and jockey Olivier Doleuze won the Macau Hong Kong Trophy, the pair combined again in a Group race with a horse that will be set for next year's Golden Shaheen in Dubai, as his beaten opponents re-assessed their own overseas plans.
"It would be interesting to see what would happen on the Tapeta at Meydan because this horse is one class better on the dirt. He is one of the best horses I have ever ridden on the dirt," Doleuze said, who rode one of Hong Kong's best-ever all-weather track horses in Dynamic Blitz.
"He may not have the rating to get straight into the Golden Shaheen, so we would have to begin planning early and take him over for one or two runs before to try and get him into the race."
The stars aligned for Rich Tapestry, rated third lowest of the 11 runners, in what was a seemingly unsuitable set weights and penalties event as the three most favoured runners faltered and Doleuze found a perfect spot after going forward from gate 10.
"We were very lucky, on any other day we would never have beaten those horses," Doleuze said, who seemed to be sitting pretty as he cruised up to the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Go Baby Go (Tye Angland) with 300m to go, only to see that horse fight back on his inside and be beaten just a short-head.
The first three in betting all had their excuses, Lucky Nine was a flat seventh, pulling up with blood in his trachea, Frederick Engels was eighth and pulled up lame, while Time After Time closed hard for third in a race where slow tempo worked against him.
Trainer Caspar Fownes still seemed intent on pushing onto next month's KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore with Lucky Nine, whose jockey Brett Prebble was given a two-meeting suspension and fined HK$80,000 for his role in a bumping duel with Time After Time. Time After Time's rider Zac Purton didn't blame that incident for his horse being beaten, but rather the relatively slow middle sectionals that didn't allow his horse to make up ground from the tail of the field.
Trainer John Moore was weighing up options for Time After Time, who holds entries for both Singapore and Royal Ascot. "His last 400m was probably the best of the race, but he just didn't get the right set of circumstances," Moore said.
"We'll check on Frederick Engels in the morning, but he has pulled up sore - we think it is in the foot so maybe it is a shoeing issue."