Green Manner 'manages to win without winning'
Green Manner still hasn't passed the post first in any of his six races in Hong Kong, but the Tony Cruz-trained five-year-old did manage to break the cycle and get a one next to his name through a consolation protest in the final race that saved favourite backers.
Sent out a 2.1 favourite after five seconds from his five starts here, Green Manner (Douglas Whyte) was second across the line again but there was never much doubt that the objection by third-placed Deep Thinker against Benefactor would be upheld.
Deep Thinker looked a certainty beaten as he was held up early in the straight before finishing powerfully up the rail and looking the winner in the final 100m when Benefactor (Ben So Tik-hung) rolled in on him and checked Deep Thinker back to third.
Stewards quickly demoted Benefactor - who also bled - behind Deep Thinker for the incident and voila, Green Manner was first but still hasn't "won" a race in Hong Kong.
"You know the handicapper shouldn't give him anything for that," said trainer Cruz, who wrapped up a race-to-race double after winning on the dirt with Happy Index (Gerald Mosse) half an hour earlier. "He won a race without actually winning. The third horse was unlucky and Benefactor beat my horse home without interference, so really it doesn't deserve a winning penalty."
As he has been several times, Green Manner was slowly away in the race but Cruz said that was just the horse's lazy nature.
"In the mornings he's very lazy, and he just doesn't have speed in his races," he said. "I asked Douglas to warm him up behind the gates to see if he could get him out quicker but it just isn't him."
Favourite backers can count themselves lucky to scrape out in the Get-out Stakes with a result, after Smart Volatility in the opening race had been the only outright favourite to score.
Ben So was later suspended for two meetings over the incident that cost Deep Thinker the race, and Whyte was the other rider to get a penalty on the day but for an earlier race - he received two days for careless on Po Chin King in race four.
Happy Index was a convincing winner for Cruz in the main race of the day, the Class Two contest over 1,200m on the dirt, after doing plenty of work to lead in the early stages and held off the late finish of Cosmic Boom to take his record on the surface to seven starts, fine wins and two placings.
"He loves the surface, he's a dirt specialist and as long as there are dirt races available to him, I'm confident he'll keep doing well," said Cruz. "I said to Gerald to just go with the horse and his ride was perfect from the bad draw. The problem now is that Happy Index will have a rating in the 90s and once you get that high up, the all-weather races start to become tough to find."