Kowloon East King ready to make his mark
Trainer Tony Millard continued to strike at a near 10 per cent clip with 28 successes from 323 starters after Lifeline Elite saluted, and the lightly raced Kowloon East King will be adding to those figures following a sound effort in the Class Four ATV News Handicap (1,000m) on a rain-drenched Sha Tin track last Saturday.
Kowloon East King gave a pleasing sight following a moderate break when fifth behind Lucky Red in his debut last month over the Valley minimum trip at 22-1 odds.
With William Pike replacing Mark du Plessis this time, the New Zealand-bred gelding quickly mustered speed after jumping a fraction awkwardly to lead after the opening 50m, before dropping anchor to allow Fionn's Glory, Golden Insight and City Of Light to dictate the running at the 800m, was placed under pressure while switching off the heels of City Of Lights into clear running in the centre of the course at the 400m and kept grinding away to come home a three-quarter length third to favourite Fionn's Glory.
Kowloon East King has a unique pedigree combination of the Argentinean-born Mr Nancho (a son of Southern Halo) to the unraced Pentire mare Pukunui.
Mr Nancho won three races at 1,400m and 1,600m, including an emphatic 16-length success in the Group One Palermo G.P. Palermo on the dirt. His first crop are three years of age, including his only other Hong Kong starter Take By Storm.
Pukunui never found his way to the racecourse, but his second dam, Coup De Folie, was successful seven times from 1,400m to 2,200m in New Zealand and has produced two winning foals over marathon journeys.
The three-year-old doesn't appear from his pedigree to be any sort of world-beater and is likely to turn out to be Class Three material at best, but nevertheless looks a precocious type who should be a player on both turf and dirt.
In an important note, the gelding won handsomely in the second of two New Zealand trials sporting blinkers and will have to be closely monitored when Millard decides to add shades.
The Kowloon East Syndicate have campaigned two winners from three previous runners, winning six times with Vive Longtemps and twice with Eastkowloon Spirit.