Marshall reaps benefit as the Emperor's new jockey

Robin Parke

CLUB jockey John Marshall continued his great recent run with an International Day double at Sha Tin yesterday - one of them from yet another chance ride.

The popular Australian stepped in for injured Nigel Tiley on Sandal Emperor when the New Zealander was ruled out with a torn muscle sustained in a Happy Valley midweek fall.

And he made it his fourth win from four chance rides having previously been successful twice for Lawrie Fownes and in the final race on Wednesday for trainer Lam Hung-fie.

Sandal Emperor (10-1) took the seventh race comfortably, clearing away from Should Run For Me (6-1) in the final 100 metres and following up solidly on a good last run at Happy Valley.

Fortune Ride (25-1) finished third, just ahead of a weakening and disappointing favourite in Lionheart (5-2).

Lionheart, who had come back this season with one run over 1,400 meres, seemed to be going well for Basil Marcus coming to the turn and when he straightened he looked ready to pounce.

But he did not quicken as expected and Marcus was soon hard at work. He ground on towards the line but Sandal Emperor simply exploded past him to win much as he pleased.

''I don't think I'll worry about being declared for races any more, I'll just run up and wait around the weighing room,'' said Marshall.

''Seriously, it has been a very enjoyable day. I had no real idea how well Sandal Emperor would go but he certainly gave me a fine ride,'' said Marshall.

It was a back-to-back double for the talented former Sydney champion as regular ride Saboatan (9-1) took the final event on the card - a dramatic affair which saw money returned on Sky High (10-1) and Noble Dancer (10-1) as non-starters.

Sky High broke through just before the gates opened and ended up across the gate of Noble Dancer which did not open properly.

Marshall, however, had Saboatan going perfectly off the pace and the horse showed real determination in fighting off a rejuvenated Appreciation (12-1) and front-running Nitrogen (10-1) who just beat off topweight and favourite Maraheb (3-1) for third place in a tight finish.

Marshall said: ''I knew the horse would run a really good race. He is honest and has also struck top form, knows what the game is all about now and really wants to do it.'' Lucky Optimists (16-1) threatened to make the Classes One and Two, 1,400-metre nightcap even more interesting halfway down the straight but did not quite go through with it.

Maraheb's jockey, Mick Kinane, was out of luck in his final Hongkong ride of the season but he did end his six-month stint with David Oughton with a winner in the shape of sprinter Classabove (9-1) in the Class Two, 1,000-metre second event.

''It was good to get a last-day winner anyway. I thought he would go all right because horses with good 1,000-metre form tend to keep reproducing it,'' said Kinane, who returns to Ireland tonight.