Pak Lok Angel Finds Winning Form At Taipa
Talented sand galloper Pak Lok Angel made a welcome return to form with an upset win in Friday night’s Class 1 Handicap over 1350 metres at Taipa in Macau.
A rails hugging ride by Brazilian rider Leo Salles saw Pak Lok Angel give his rivals the slip around the bend for home when he darted though on the inside of the race favorite and leader River Bobo (Ruan Maia) and powered away from his rivals to win easily.
Prepared by Victor Chan, Pak Lok Angel has always been something of a sand star, but generally over a lot further than Friday night’s 1350 metre distance.
It’s hard to believe though that his last win was back in January of last year. That said the gelding has been a prolific place getter in that time with seconds in the G1 Star Of The Sand, the G3 Oceanus Cup and again in the G2 Autumn Trophy last November.
Pak Lok Angel’s nemesis in most of his races has been Macau’s premier sand galloper River Bobo.
However the crown appears to have slipped with the all weather champ now suffering two defeats in his last two outings on the surface. In Friday night’s race River Bobo faded badly to finish in eighth place almost seven lengths from the winner.
A son of Lucky Unicorn, Pak Lok Angel has now won 10 races in Macau and placed a further 12 times from his 45 race starts. The six year old has now won over $HK3.6 million for his owner Lee Annie Angel. Not a bad return for an $NZ18,000 outlay at the 2012 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale.
Pak Lok Angel posted a personal best time of 1.20.4 for the 1350 metre race and had three and three quarters of a length to spare at the line.
The move by Leo Salles to hug the rails was a significant factor in the geldings win. Salles picked up a good two lengths around the home turn while other riders were content to avoid the rail.
There was a period where at times the inside of the all weather track was not riding as fast. However the decision by the Club to completely refurbish the sand surface last October is now paying off.
The track management team added a mixture of silicon, sand and silt powder to act as a binding agent for the track.
It was evident as far back as December that the reconditioning work was doing its job. The results proved the inside was starting to race significantly better and has continued to improve further.
That said a lot of riders and trainers have not switched onto it as yet, with the mindset that you need to race a little deep to be on the best of the track.
Friday night’s results really put paid to that with the inside of the track riding as good as it’s ever been, and those that were smart enough to take advantage of it went home smiling.
A nice ride by Andrew Calder reaped dividends with three year old Tartan Bearer gelding Eclair Infinity making it win number two in the sand surface in the 0 to 55 Special Conditions Handicap over 1350 metres.
Eclair Infinity was most people’s idea of a leader in the race, following his all the way win on the sand over 1510 metres on March 3.
However things did not start off according to plan with the gelding stepping away slowly and was a distinct last away from the gates. Calder just let the chestnut pick up slowly and made steady improvement in the run via the inside, to be right the back of the leaders at the top of the straight.
Once he came off their backs and into space Éclair Infinity finished strongly to take the prize.
The Danny Wong prepared galloper looks to have find his niche on the all weather and will continue to progress.
Filipino jockey Martin Cangas was another to utilize the rail and cause an upset win on Friday with a perfect last to first ride on the long-shot Nothing To Say, to snatch victory in the last stride in the Class 3 Over 1350 metres.
Nothing To Say went out at odds of $222 for the win in light of the fact he was coming back in distance from 1800 metres on the turf just six days prior.
Cangas went straight to the rail away from the gates and hugged the fence in the run, only stepping around the tiring Baby Horse in straight before rocketing home along the inside to win by a short head from Grateful Favors (Wayne Smith), with My Dream (Leo Salles) running in third.
The biggest win of the night was the James Moore trained Lucky And Powerful (Ryan Curatolo) who simply demolished his rivals in the Class 6 over 1510 metres.
Lucky And Powerful worked hard for the first half of the race to make steady ground wide around the field. The son of Mastercraftsman (Ire) hit the front at the 700 hundred point and just kept on going.
Although inclined to lay in against rail the gelding was streaking away from the pack with the official margin seven and three quarters of a length in favor of the 20/1 shot, with Shadow Master (Martin Wepner) second, and Rockin Laser close up in third.
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