Top rider Rispoli notches double in Hong Kong
Report: Hong Kong, Monday
UMBERTO RISPOLI secured the first winners of his maiden Hong Kong stint with a big-priced double on the Easter Monday programme at Sha Tin.
Champion rider in Italy in 2009 and 2010, Rispoli has been licensed in Hong Kong since February but had to wait until his 75th ride aboard 14-1 chance Diamond Knight for British trainer Sean Woods to salute the judge.
With that first win under his belt, he then needed only an hour before adding a second victory on 36-1 outsider Life Of Beauty for Tony Cruz.
"It was quite a wait to get one, but I am very happy to get two so soon," said Rispoli.
"Diamond Knight was the first horse I rode here and I am very happy to pay back Sean [Woods] who supported me very well. It was nice to also ride a winner for Tony. I hope I can kick on from here."
Umberto Rispoli: two winnersPICTURE: Robin Gibson
Rispoli will sit out the next two local meetings owing to a careless riding charge incurred last month and is licensed to ride in Hong Kong until at least the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup meeting on April 29, when he is scheduled to ride Japanese raider Rulership in the Group 1 showpiece.
Woods also hauled himself upwards with a double after Brothers In Arms (Douglas Whyte) scored to make it eight wins for the season.
Worries about where the next winner will come from rarely enter the consciousness of Whyte, who kicked home a treble on the day, including his 1,400th local victory on Delta Hedge for the equally prolific John Size, who also trained O'Halo to win earlier on the card.
At his current strike-rate, Whyte is on course to break his own record of 114 wins in a campaign - a mark that was set in 2005-06 when there were five less meetings on the calendar - with 25 meetings still to be run before the season ends in July.
Another British trainer in double form was Richard Gibson who brought his debut seasonal tally to an impressive 29, ranking him just outside the top six trainers with plenty more bullets to fire.
Gibson's latest results came courtesy of useful new sprinter Mi Savvy and Racing Hero in the final event with Olivier Doleuze riding on both occasions.