Approve shows passion this time
Blue-chip two-year-old Approve put an abysmal first-up trial behind him with a more sound effort on the dirt yesterday, beating a couple more high-priced youngsters who were also out to make amends at Sha Tin.
The John Moore-trained juvenile didn't do anything right when first revealed in an 800m turf jump-out three weeks ago. He was sluggish away and didn't get any quicker as the trial progressed. The impressive-looking chestnut loafed along out the back, with jockey Brett Prebble even giving his mount a slap down the shoulder in the middle stages - which went unanswered - as Approve was beaten out of sight.
After some encouraging efforts in the morning, Tim Clark took the reins in a 1,050m heat this time and it seems something has clicked - the gelding jumping on terms, travelling kindly just off the pace and shoved out to score by a length.
The time of 1.03.11 was nothing flash, especially given the apparent exertion, but at least Approve showed a willingness to compete - something you want when forking out big bucks at the yearling sales.
A son of Pins, Approve cost AU$370,000 (HK$2.93 million) at the 2011 Australian Easter Yearling Sale and his dam's family was definitely an attraction.
Approve is out of Heavenly, a half-sister to racetrack star and now sire Starcraft and top-quality mare, Forum Floozie, who was placed three times at Group One level.
Also bouncing back from a sub-par performance was the runner-up in the heat, Positive Vibration (Zac Purton), who was tailed off in his second start and asked to trial again by stewards.
The Three-year-old was a AU$300,000 buy at the 2010 Magic Millions sales, but his purchase price was half of what was paid for the second runner-up, Walala (Olivier Doleuze).
Walala, by speed sire General Nediym, set clients of Richard Gibson back HK$5 million at the Hong Kong International Sale and also failed his first barrier test.
Sent to Happy Valley at the start of June, Walala stood flat-footed in the gates and was chasing throughout, never getting to show his stuff as he was squeezed next to the outside fence late.
He was away better yesterday and finished off best after settling near the tail, along with Holmes Legend (Mark du Plessis).