Sensible Chang outshines 'big boys'
Trainer racks up a sparkling three-timer and spoils the day for championship contenders Yip, Cruz, Size and Fownes
For much of the early part of the day it seemed like typhoon Rumbia would play havoc with the trainers' championship by threatening the fourth-last meeting of the season, but in the end it was Michael Chang Chun-wai playing spoil sport with a treble and denying a couple of contenders vital victories.
The black clouds didn't deliver on what looked an ominous promise of fixture-threatening rain and Chang's season-best season continued as Super Horse went back-to-back and beat John Size's King Haradasun into second, and Real Champion beat Caspar Fownes' Hurry Hurry Up in the following event. That defeat, and a winless day, virtually extinguished Fownes' chances - with three meetings remaining he is five behind leader Dennis Yip Chor-hong (65 wins), who went scoreless for the second straight meeting.
Size and Cruz bookended the card and sit two behind Yip on 63, but the day's training honours went to Chang - a trainer who has set new career highs for three straight seasons. After notching 26 and 27 in the previous two terms, Chang has had another breakout season with 36 wins, 15 of them ridden by Olivier Doleuze, who rode his third winner, Boy Oh Boy.
Doleuze described Chang has almost European in style, in that he will give horses time to develop when required.
"All local trainers are under pressure from owners but Michael has been patient with many horses," Doleuze said. "Michael has a very European way of thinking. He will wait with certain horses, let them put on weight and things like that. The owners here are always wanting to push but Michael has been able to be very sensible."
Chang said his success was less about style, or even patience, saying: "It's about three things: hard work, hard work, and hard work."
Doleuze admitted he got a little lucky on Boy Oh Boy when he pushed forward from the widest gate and a one-off spot fell to him just behind the speed. With blinkers on for the first time at his third start, the three-year-old was more focused, but Doleuze said there was still some room for improvement. "He is still a little bit weak physically, but if he grows a bit in the break he could be something next season," he said.
It had taken Super Horse a drop into Class Five to break a run of outs, but he bounced back just over a week later to grab a Class Four win.
"We got the perfect run in the race," winning jockey Tye Angland said. "We were three wide but we had cover and got taken into the race."
Chang heaped praise on Angland's horsemanship.
"This is a horse who can get very on-edge and mentally he is all over the place, but Tye got him to relax, like Douglas [Whyte] did last week, Tye is a very good horseman," Chang said.
Real Champion (Matthew Chadwick) had trialled and raced well on the all-weather track, so it was no surprise that was where the son of Fastnet Rock broke his maiden at his ninth start.