Jockey Matthew Chadwick narrowly escaped serious injury in another spectacular Happy Valley fall last night as the city track’s woes continued – and he even made it back to the course later in the night for the stewards’ inquiry that will see Nash Rawiller missing the international meeting.
For the fourth successive Happy Valley meeting, it was impossible to get through the night without incident, with Chadwick’s fall when Hay Go Lucky clipped heels near the line in the third race joining the black storm meeting, the barrier malfunction and last week’s fall at the top of the straight which left jockey Umberto Rispoli and apprentice Jack Wong Ho-nam sidelined with injuries for the coming months.
“We might need to have a bai sun here,” said one concerned regular racegoer, without even a trace of tongue in cheek.
Chadwick’s accident certainly looked worse than it turned out to be, with winner Wayfoong Vinnie (Rawiller) and runner-up Cour Valant fighting out a tooth and nail finish in the final 100m and rolling back in on Hay Go Lucky, who looked to clip Cour Valant’s heels.
Chadwick was prone on the track for a couple of minutes before being stretchered back to the jockeys’ room but was soon on his feet again, going to hospital for precautionary X-rays before returning to give evidence at the inquiry and perhaps making the point that he will be fine to ride Pakistan Star on Sunday.
Stewards found that Nash Rawiller caused the fall and he was suspended for six meetings, while he got an additional two meetings on a separate careless riding charge from race six as well and a HK$30,000 fine. He’s out of action from December 7, meaning he will miss the Hong Kong International Races and won’t return until early January.
Racing at the city track has been cursed lately and last night’s worries included a biased track where the usual pluses at the barrier draw became a disadvantage and the course advantaged horses away from the rail.
One of them was D B Pin, part of a Zac Purton double and the horse who won the infamous “Rakegate” no-race three weeks earlier at the Valley when a misplaced rake interfered with the mechanism of the starting gates and caused them to open haphazardly.
The four-year-old had run out an impressive four-length winner of that no-race before it was scrubbed from the record and punters were ready for him last night, sending the gelding out odds-on to repeat the dose but it wasn’t all plain sailing before he scored by just a neck.
“Nothing really worked out for us in the run. He got travelling a bit too keenly at different times and there was speed underneath me that kept us out wide and that was a concern, but what we didn’t know then but became obvious later was that we were out in the best going,” said Purton, who had personal reasons for his disappointment that the original result didn’t stand. “I guess I’ll lose the ride now. He would have gone up a lot in the ratings for the win when it was a no-race and would have had my weight in Class Three. It was a good win again tonight but not as visually exciting and, without much of a margin, he won’t go up enough in the ratings to get my weight.”
Purton later added Little Island, sharing the riding honours with Nash Rawiller, who also won twice with Wayfoong Vinnie and Win It, and Joao Moreira, who scored on King Bountiful and the feature race winner, Winnie’s Honey.
Moreira encountered none of the difficulties he had when he rode Winnie’s Honey into a Group Two placing in Australia eighteen months ago – that day the horse was called Omeros and had run to the outside rail with him at Rosehill.
“He feels more straightforward now,” the Brazilian smiled. “He’s a nice horse, he got a good speed up front in the first half of the race and from the 600m he was working forward in a good spot and I just needed some luck to be able to use his momentum.”