Green Maple will pass staying test
STAYER Green Maple tackles Happy Valley and 2,230 metres for the first time tonight, but punters at the final night meeting of the season at the city track can support the David Hill-trained galloper with some confidence. Green Maple is by Epsom Derby winner Secreto out of a mare whose progeny have had no trouble getting well beyond a mile, so the distance should not pose a major problem to the five-year-old. And there was plenty to like about Green Maple's last run when he finished a length and a half fourth to Quest For Gold in the Lusitano Cup over 2,000 metres at Sha Tin. In that race, Green Maple was drawn extremely wide and jockey John Marshall was forced to drop back.
But Green Maple surged on to the scene about halfway down the track and looked a winning chance for a couple of strides. But Quest For Gold had slipped away and scored readily while Green Maple still ran on well to the line. He was forced to come from a long way back to make that run but he has raced much closer to the pace in the past and will almost certainly do so in the fourth event tonight. Green Maple has drawn in the middle of the field and Marshall should have him out and travelling well. The gelding is also rock solid as far as fitness is concerned and trainer Hill said yesterday: 'He has come out of the race very well and I am pleased with him.
'I do not think the trip will be a big problem and I will be disappointed if he does not go very well. Of course, he has not raced at Happy Valley before and you cannot guarantee that he will act well at that track.' But Green Maple is a tractable sort who races very genuinely and it is well worth taking a slight chance with him as this is a race where a number should be struggling.
In relation to quinella and tierce bets, it could pay to include Spirits Bay, who does relish the city track, and Amazing Grace who should now be very fit and ready to give a top account of himself.