Ellis and Mr Hanks reunite for comeback win
KUALA LUMPUR: Aug 6, 2023
Shane Ellis saddled his first winner since making a comeback to Malaysian racing in mid-April and it was an “old buddy” MR HANKS who helped the Australian trainer make the breakthrough.
Ellis, a former assistant trainer to the late Laurie Laxon in Singapore, held a licence for two years from early 2019 and was based at Sungei Besi. During that time, he won two races with MR HANKS who was transferred to him after winning four races at Kranji.
Since he has been away, MR HANKS has failed to pick up another win even though he came under the charge of four different trainers.
Back with Ellis since April, MR HANKS has have three runs in and the now nine-year-old showed that he still has what it takes when he romped to a two-and-a-half-length victory in the Somnath Biswas Handicap (Class 4 – 1100m) at Sungei Besi here today.
Ridden by apprentice Haikal Hanif Mohd Hasin, MR HANKS settled just off the pace fifth after getting a good jump.
Haikal switched the son of Showcasing out from the rails making the turn into the straight. Pacemaker BILLY MOJO was still well clear at the 200m but he soon came under pressure after setting a brisk pace early.
Odds-on favourite PACIFIC EMPIRE went after BILLY MOJO with MR HANKS looming large next. MR HANKS went best in the run to the post to win easily from PACIFIC EMPIRE. BILLY MOJO held on for third.
“We jumped from a good barrier (3) and settled nicely behind the pace,” said Haikal. “The horse responded well with just a couple of cracks of the whip.”
“This horse has got ability and never lost it,” said Ellis. “It’s great to win with that little horse because I have been with him since he was a two-year-old in Singapore, first with (Laurie) Laxon and then James Peters.”
“He was owned by Oscar Racing Stable. The owners sent him up to me and I won a couple of races with him.
“I left and then came back and the (new) owners (AIG Stable) were quite happy to give him back to me which I very happy and thankful for.
“I just found the right race for him today and the light weight on his back helped a lot.”
“I left because of Covid and my father actually got cancer back in Perth. So I went back to help look after him and worked for my old boss Neville Parnham.
“My dad has recovered thankfully and the longing to be my own boss brought me back here.”
MR HANKS was placed twice in four runs as a juvenile in New Zealand before coming to Singapore. It’s now seven wins in 49 starts for the veteran galloper in Malaysia/Singapore.
|SOMNATH BISWAS HANDICAP|
|CLASS 4 – 1100M|
|5||MR HANKS||S Ellis||H Haikal||
|(9 b.nz.g Showcasing – Zafonique by Bigstone)|
|3||Pacific Empire||KC Tiang||R Nuqman||
|6||Billy Mojo||HY Cheng||AB Riduan||
|11||Happy Thirtynine||MP Thwaites||AM Aizat||
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