Tony Cruz-trained Multivictory is in a purple patch of form at present and managed to do something no-one expected in breaking through for his first Group Three win in the Chinese Club Challenge Cup (1,400m).
Winning the eighth and most important race of his career, Multivictory (Howard Cheng Yue-tin) was given a knockout chance by many with his light weight but nobody expected him to upset the favourites Packing Pins (Zac Purton) and Contentment (Joao Moreira) by coming from the back end of the field.
With the race appearing to lack frontrunners on paper, quite the opposite turned out to be the case with outsider Exciting Dream charging forward to be the surprise leader from a wide draw.
In most of his previous wins, six-year-old Multivictory raced in the first two or three runners so Cruz heard alarm bells when there were only a couple of horses behind him in the early stages.
“He is a bit older and not as fast as he was so I told Howard I didn’t expect him to lead but I was worried early when he didn’t seem to be able to keep up the pace at all,” said Cruz.
“In his early days here, he often had mucus and that sort of thing, and when Howard was scrubbing him along at the back, I thought he must have mucus again.”
But the fast early pace came to a halt rounding the home bend, the field packed up and Cheng was able to creep into the race wide with cover.
Even then, Packing Pins had shaken off Contentment and looked to have the race won until Multivictory launched down the centre of the course to win by a head.
It was Multivictory’s second win from his past three starts and will likely take his handicap rating to 110 or thereabouts.
“He’s really racing well and gave us a big last quarter there, and I’m certain the light weight helped,” said Cruz, winning the race for the fifth time as a trainer. “I guess he’ll have to run in Group races only now with his rating after this but it’s not the worst problem to have.”
Purton offered no excuse for Packing Pins in defeat but said that trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai would consider dropping Packing Pins back another 200m to run in the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup on January 31.
Contentment boxed on well for third and Moreira was full of praise for the gelding, whose race had not worked out ideally.
“I thought he ran well under the circumstances and wasn’t beaten too far,” the jockey said. “Coming back from the mile to the 1,400m didn’t help, as the pace was quite hot early, and where we ended up in the run he did well to stick on. He was unlucky to be stuck wide and with the big weight that made it very tough.”