Chang's worries prove unfounded after Four's win
Michael Chang Chun-wai had huge question marks over the Australian two-year-old form of Big Four, but the sprinter kicked off a massive day for the trainer as he landed his second three-timer of the season.
The trainer admitted he didn't know what to make of a juvenile career that included three sub-par efforts, albeit with two of them in strong company, and a provincial maiden win at 150-1.
"When you look at the record and the upset win, it is a worry," Chang said after victories to Big Four, Winning Instinct and Rich Tapestry gave him 16 wins for the term and moved him into the top 10 of the trainers' championship.
The addition of a hood helped the son of God's Own settle, and even though he had drawn the seemingly advantageous barrier 14, Olivier Doleuze had extricate himself from the pack and again venture to the centre part of the track to win.
"This is a nice horse, and 1,000m is still on the short side for him," Doleuze said. "He has been very keen in the mornings - but the last two times I rode him, he was like a different horse. In the parade ring, he was gorgeous."
Doleuze had a treble of his own - winning the Jockey Challenge with 42 points and taking his seasonal tally to 16 wins. Along with Big Four's Class Three breakthrough, Doleuze snared the Group One feature on Eagle Regiment, and took advantage of a low barrier on Rich Tapestry - a horse he has high hopes for, but says might be too smart for his own good.
"I have always loved this horse," the Frenchman said. "But there is only one problem with him - he is very smart and he always keep 20 per cent for himself. He will travel on the bit, but when you go, you have to plead with him to give everything."
A half-a-length win against classy opposition will push Rich Tapestry into Class One territory and make it even harder for Chang to place the five-year-old. But Doleuze was thinking outside the box for the future, and thinking back to the gelding's two previous wins, which both came on the all-weather track.
"This horse flies on the dirt - and while there are probably not many races left for him here on the dirt with his rating - but maybe next year we can look to Dubai on the Tapeta," he said.
There's a big difference between sitting three wide on the speed and sitting three back on the fence, but that's what Winning Instinct has done in his last two starts, winning them both.
"Barrier one and a fast tempo made it easier for him this time," Chang said after Douglas Whyte gave the grey a cosy run in transit.