Diamond Angel ready to sprout wings
Trainer Manfred Man Ka-leung (pictured) never landed a blow at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, but will have left the track feeling good about the improved performance of Diamond Angel in the Class Four Green Lane Handicap (1,200m).
Diamond Angel arrived last season off a mark of 69 for a 1,000m win over the straight course at Cork from two starts as a juvenile in Ireland as Declan's Warrior, but was well beaten in his Sha Tin and city-course runs. But his last two outings, when beaten by close margins, indicated he is finding his feet.
The four-year-old showed plenty of spark in the mornings and was specked at odds of 40-1 to jump at 23-1 with Brett Prebble aboard from gate 10.
Diamond Angel was slow into stride and settled third from the rear, straightened one off the fence just behind and underneath Star Of Fame, switched outside of Solar Spirit at the 200m before finishing off powerfully to come up 11/2 lengths away in fourth behind High Return, Ocean Wide and Always Well, who were all separated by a neck in a blanket finish. Diamond Angel was the only one to clock under 23 seconds for the final split.
The gelding is a son of One Cool Cat, a champion three-year-old sprinter in Europe in 2004 and has sired four winners from his six Hong Kong performers, including Valley specialist Cheer and the talented Giggles Forever.
His dam, Danehill mare Alenteja, managed only a second over 1,000m at Cork from five starts in Ireland, but is a half-sister to Rafha, a Group One Prix De Diane Hermes winner in France and the and dam of seven black-type performers, including the top-rated sprinter and sire Invincible Spirit, Chiang Mai and four other stakes performers.
Like most European imports, Diamond Angel has taken his time to acclimatise, but the nicely bred sprinter appears ready to bounce off a rating low of 45.