Ping books Mosse for a Big day out
WALK Big looks another winner for Gerald Mosse and Wong Tang-ping who have combined successfully so many times in the past.
The improving three-year-old contests the second event on Sha Tin's traditional New Year's Day card which is more of a family day out than a betting frenzy.
Mum and the kids won't get rich on Walk Big, but he does look a banker bet to provide some respite through the day.
He always looked a nice horse in the making last season and, like so many of Ping's griffins, was given plenty of time to come to himself.
Hence he was able to start this campaign rated down in Class Five which always conveys a distinct advantage on a young horse, provided he has at least a modicum of ability.
Walk Big came back into his work showing far more than that and he appeared to have his opening race of the campaign at his mercy.
In the end he finished a seemingly dismal 10th of 13 behind Majulah Superstar, but this run was another example of where the bare result can conceal far more than it reveals.
Walk Big actually stumbled and pitched onto his nose coming off the apex of the bottom bend.
While it is extremely unlikely that he would have beaten Majulah Superstar, who progressed to win again and then run a short head second to Fast Forward, it is likely that Walk Big would have been in the firing line for the quinella or tierce spot.
He was just coming into his race when he lost his footing and all but came down. That was enough to knock the stuffing from any young horse.
He then came out and underlined that his morning form was not just a figment of this particular trackwatcher's imagination when finally a luckless second to Holy Terror down this afternoon's 1,000-metre chute.
Walk Big actually finished a close-up third behind Holy Terror and Aspire, but Aspire was placed behind Walk Big as he had completely shut the gate on him when Walk Big was coming with what appeared to be a race-winning challenge.
Since then Walk Big has impressed again in the mornings and he is that much more experienced today.
Ping only ever calls for Mosse on the special occasion so his booking for Walk Big is a tip in itself.
The Ivan Allan production line of winners can enter the New Year in a manner which is likely to be maintained until the end of the season.
The champion trainer has a big chance with Hercules in the seventh event on this afternoon's nine-race card - something we will be seeing plenty of from now until the curtain falls on June 11.
Hercules has had no luck in two starts back this season, but on both occasions has looked a better horse than last term.
He was unlucky not to win on his reappearance over 1,235 metres at Happy Valley. He was coming with a winning run only to get caught up in scrimmaging on the inside of Super Bingo II. Darryll Holland is not for nothing one of the best young jockeys to come out of England in years, and he was not going to leave a gap for Hercules to come through.
Then Hercules should definitely have beaten Colours Hero over today's 1,400-metre course and distance trip, but he 'took charge' of his apprentice rider and had nothing left in the last 30 metres, allowing Colours Hero to swoop.
But triple champion jockey Basil Marcus now takes over from the apprentice and Hercules is also very favourably drawn in barrier one. His biggest danger could well come from the David Hill-trained Fortune Basin whose last run at the Valley can best be forgotten.
Fortune Basin contested a fairly hot Class Two mile event on a night where the rail was out and front runners were heavily favoured. He could never make up the ground.
Before that he had put in a terrific effort when missing the start and then severely hampered before flying home to run third to Local Colour in a Class Three handicap.
Back in that grade, Fortune Basin has to be given the utmost respect.
Tierce chances in a thin-looking seventh event are conceded to Allegresse in particular, as well as Perfect Sunshine and Dragon Leader in what appears to be a very attractive betting contest - not least because there are so few realistic hopes.