Popular French rider Olivier Doleuze was not just surprised to be winning the Sha Tin Hoi Handicap on Big Flash for Caspar Fownes, the French jockey was surprised to even be riding the former New Zealander.
Big Flash had finished 11th down the straight 1,000m at his only previous run in January but was transferred from Francis Lui Kin-wai to the Fownes stable in early March and had not barrier trialled, but certainly produced a different style of form winning on Sunday after some good backing at double-figure odds.
“I already had a ride for Caspar in this race but he called me at entry time and said the other horse was not quite ready and he would switch me to Big Flash,” Doleuze said.
“He told me he is a nice horse and I should ride him. For me, I have never been on him, never seen him before really. Yes, I knew he had trialled and had been with Francis and maybe his first race didn’t show his true ability but I really didn’t know much about him.”
Big Flash had shown some pace in his straight run before dropping out and that was the case again on Sunday, with Doleuze slotting him into a one-out, one-back position in running before the son of Darci Brahma claimed the leaders at the 200m.
“I think he is a horse that needs you to help him a bit, but he showed me a lot of natural speed and I put him up near the lead and then he just cruised in my hand,” Doleuze said.
“In the end, I thought he won like a decent sort of horse so we will see where he can go from here. It’s a winner that I wasn’t expecting but I’m happy to take it.”
Having taken some time to get going again following a return from injury this time last year, Doleuze has picked up the pace lately and Big Flash was his fifth win from his last 30 rides and his second for the week after Giddy Giddy saluted at Happy Valley.