Doleuze, Jumbo Happiness strike at Happy Valley

HorseRacingNation.com
October 05, 2017 07:06am
Jumbo Happiness wins at Happy Valley (10-5-17)
Photo: The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Jockey Olivier Doleuze arrived at Happy Valley with only one ride at the rare Thursday (5 October) night meeting, but he ensured a perfect strike rate on the card when he rode Jumbo Happiness to victory in the Class 3 Fortress Hill Handicap (1200m) – the Frenchman’s first win for the term.
 
Doleuze was the last Club Jockey to open his account for the season with his half-length triumph aboard the Caspar Fownes-trained Jumbo Happiness and he said it was only a late call-up which even saw him make the trek to Happy Valley on Thursday night.
 
“I didn’t originally have a ride, I was going to watch from home,” Doleuze said. “But Caspar gave me a chance to ride this horse, he told me he was going to give me a winner! I’m very happy.”
 
The 45-year-old has been a fixture of Hong Kong racing over the past 16 years, but he admits that the strength of the current jockey roster has made it more difficult to get rides.
 
“That’s life, I’m getting older, I still can ride but there is the new generation coming in behind,” he said. “And it’s not just the arrival of Joao Moreira, either, but plenty of light jockeys are now here and the locals are also riding so well too. We are already lucky in our profession that we can last as long as we do.
 
“I’m not a very light jockey, I only ride for a few stables – Michael (Chang) has always given me support, and obviously Caspar – but every stable seems to have their own jockey. There are only 14 horses per race maximum and there is a full roster, 21 or 22 at the moment, so the rides just aren’t there.”
 
Fownes said that he was proud to be able to give Doleuze a winner and hoped that it might lead to more chances for the pair to combine.
 
“Oli is a great guy, he’s a top rider but it’s like anything in Hong Kong – you just need a bit of luck and an opening,” he said. “Owners will always want to go with who is at the top, but that win will hopefully allow Oli some more rides for my stable.”
 
Jumbo Happiness, a graduate of the 2016 Hong Kong International Sale, has now won three races over the Happy Valley 1200m and Fownes believes the son of Fastnet Rock has scope to head higher.
 
“He’s been another good purchase from the sale,” he said. “He’s only a four-year-old and I think he’ll be better over further too, so I think there’s more to come from him.
 
“We’ll keep him to Happy Valley, though. Sha Tin should be a lovely track for him but he just loses the plot there, when we school him in the afternoons in the parade ring, he’s not a happy horse. While he’s comfortable here, we’ll stick to what is working.”
 
Earlier, Fownes took the Class 4 Sai Wan Ho Handicap (1800m) with Premium Champion, who prevailed under a well-timed Zac Purton ride.
 
“Last time, the mile was just a little too short but he was suited stepping up to 1800m now,” he said. “It was a patient ride from Zac, just beautiful to watch. Hopefully, the horse is back on track now.”
 
From Nakayama to the Valley, Yiu returns with a bang
 
Fownes was one of two trainers to score a double, with Ricky Yiu – fresh from his Japan expedition with Blizzard – saddling up Manful Star to win the second section of the Class 4 Quarry Bay Handicap (1200m) and Keep Moving to take the Class 3 Causeway Bay Handicap (1000m).
 
Keep Moving (121lb) returned for his first four-year-old start and overcame a check on the home turn to score by a short-head under Neil Callan over late-charging E-Super (129lb).
 
“He’s improving all the time and he’s developed into a nice four-year-old,” Yiu said. “Look at Neil there, he’s so strong and he really got the most out of that horse.”
 
Manful Star went to post a muck lather, having got worked up in the parade ring, but he defied his pre-race nerves to earn his first Hong Kong victory with Umberto Rispoli in the plate.
 
“He’s still just lacking experience. It is not usual that you see a six-year-old having only his seventh start like him – it’s been a long road,” Yiu said. “He had a knee injury at the start of last season and that took a long time for him to recover. However, he is well at the moment, he stretched out beautifully there and he’s definitely got the talent to get up to Class 3 if he can stay sound.”
 
Joao Moreira returned to form after three winless Happy Valley meetings, taking the first two races – the Class 5 Shau Kei Wan Handicap (1650m) on Michael Chang-trained Dutch Windmill and the first section of the Class 4 Quarry Bay Handicap (1200m) on Chris So’s Exceptional Desire.
 
Derek Leung also followed up on his treble at Sha Tin last Sunday (1 October) with a 79/1 victory aboard David Ferraris’ Pikachu in the Class 2 Tai Hang Handicap (1800m), while Brett Prebble and Paul O’Sullivan combined with Star Majestic in the Class 3 North Point Handicap (1650m).
 
Racing returns to Sha Tin on Sunday (8 October), with the first scheduled for 1pm.

Source: The Hong Kong Jockey Club (Andrew Hawkins)

 

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