CS sires seal O'Sullivan double in HK

20 Dec 2017

By David Morgan

Cambridge Stud sires Tavistock and Keeper provided the catalyst to a Paul O'Sullivan-trained double at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

Keeper gelding Archippus gained just reward for admirable consistency when he scored for the first time in more than a year.

“He’s been very honest for quite a while now without winning. It’s a long time since the last one so it’s good to see him do that tonight,” said rider Zac Purton after the seven-year-old won the Class 2 Mercury Handicap (1200m) by three quarters of a length.

The former champion jockey enjoyed a smooth run on Archippus – second, fourth, second and third in four prior races this term.

Purton settled his game mount handily in midfield as Fabulous One and Sea Jade forced the pace, stalked by the favourite, Fantastic Eight.

“He had the right gate (seven) and the right run and it all fell into place,” Purton said.

“He needed them to set things up with that good pace, off the mark he’s on. He’s gone up plenty of points since his last win.”

As the front rank faded off the final turn, with Fantastic Eight pushed wide on the track, Archippus slipped to the lead and the Hong Kong International Sale graduate rolled on to a ninth win at start 45.

The winning time was a slick 1:08.96s.

“These last couple of seasons he’s for sure been one of the most consistent horses in Hong Kong. Paul’s done a great job with him,” Purton added.

That victory was the rider’s second of the night and took him to 40 for the term, six behind championship leader Joao Moreira, absent due to a careless riding suspension.

Archippus sealed a double for his handler, too.

O’Sullivan’s Rule Thee won the night’s stamina test earlier on the eight-race card, the Class 3 Mars Handicap over 2200m.

The five-year-old had failed by a nose at the course and distance at the end of November but was ahead of the rest this time in a four-way rush at the wire.

“It was a very, very good ride,” said O’Sullivan after jockey Chad Schofield had driven the Tavistock gelding wide down the home stretch for a first Hong Kong win at start 10.

“Chad went forward at the start and when he realised he couldn’t get across he’s come back and fortunately there was a big hole waiting for him there. The race really did pan out to suit the horse.

“He’s been racing pretty well without being able to get the thick end of it. It was a nice effort by him tonight – he certainly does relish the 2200m.

“Rule Thee’s probably only going to be competitive at 2000m and up, so we’ll have to see what’s coming up, but he’s won his race and there’ll be a few options between now and the end of the season.”

At Matamata, Tavistock four-year-old gelding Baxfull claimed his maiden win over 2000m. - HKJC, Staff Reporter