Jolly Paul O'Sullivan celebrates triple century milestone in style
Trainer brought up 300 wins with Glamorous Ryder, before making it 301 in the very next race
Paul O'Sullivan brought up Hong Kong win number 300 with lowly rated stayer Glamorous Ryder but is certain his 301st winner has far more scope after Jolly Jolly stepped up in trip and snapped a run of minor placings.
Glamorous Ryder, a winner off a mark of 18 previously and 22 yesterday, won't be remembered as one of the best horses O'Sullivan has trained in his 12 seasons at Sha Tin, but the seven-year-old gave him the milestone victory.
In the following race, however, Jolly Jolly gave some indications he could head higher after gaining a run as standby starter and producing a tidy victory from up on the speed.
"There was a lot of merit to that win, it was a good effort because he had to work hard early," O'Sullivan said, citing a clean jump for jockey Zac Purton from gate 12 as the key to victory. "We didn't have any set tactics, it all depended on how he jumped. He has had a few issues at the barrier but he stood up today and did things right."
Jolly Jolly had finished second at his two starts this season to Fabulous One, a horse spruiked as a future star by Joao Moreira. That was at 1,200m and a step up to 1,400m seemed to bring out the best in Jolly Jolly, for whom another distance increase is in store, according to his trainer: "I think the key to this horse will be getting over further, but let's see what the handicapper does with him first - he has won off 54 and where he ends up will have a lot to do with what we do next."
While Glamorous Ryder may have had a less than glamorous record of one from 26 locally heading into yesterday's 2,200m Class Five, it hadn't stopped Moreira from chasing the ride.
There aren't too many stables left where Moreira doesn't hold sway and it took a suspension to regular rider and O'Sullivan's former apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun for the Brazilian to get aboard.
"I liked this horse and rang many times for the ride before but Paul obviously wanted to save it for the right day," Moreira said of the first of two winners for the runaway jockeys' championship leader, on a day where a pair of seconds and thirds ensured he won the Jockey Challenge as short-priced favourite for a sixth straight meeting.
Moreira said he had looked to a Leung ride that provided Glamorous Ryder with his only previous success, over 2,200m at Happy Valley, as a pointer to how to win over 2,000m at the bigger track.
"Looking at his form, I noticed when he won at Happy Valley he took off in the back straight," Moreira said. "That indicated to me he can make a long run and I had that in my mind, that he would be strong and run through the line. He had an easy run saving ground on the fence, and the good, even speed suited him. The way he won, he can probably win again."