Import to keep Hill in running
DAVID Hill and Ivan Allan dominated the action during a special barrier trial session at Happy Valley yesterday morning, sending out the five winners between them.
Hill took the last two heats and his team is really starting to fire. If there is one trainer to follow between now and the end of the season, it is Hill.
For the first time in recent years, the final trial was run over a mile and Hill's winner, the lightly-raced Australian import Time Strong, could not have been more impressive.
He went to the line hard held under John Marshall as Alan Munro drove out the runner-up Fortune Ride who is a very reliable Class One yardstick.
The pair dominated this fifth trial from the top of the straight and, on this showing, Time Strong is surely a winner waiting to happen.
He has beaten, and beaten comprehensively, every horse he has worked against and could well develop into a live Derby prospect next season.
Hill sent out the quinella in the penultimate heat with his very useful sprinter Debonair beating his interesting New Zealand acquisition Buddy.
Debonair was doing no more than he was entitled to at the relative ratings, but it was interesting that Hill had Marshall on Buddy who has already registered an attractive first-up win.
He didn't come off the bridle when scoring at the Valley and he didn't come off the bridle yesterday morning. He's definitely going places.
Lawrie Fownes' first-season Class One import from New Zealand, Cottage View, was the other to go down in the notebook from this trial.
He was dropped out and settled at the rear of his field by Gerald Mosse before making steady and significant late headway along the far rail all the way the straight.
He looks a smart horse but then he's going to have to be as he starts from a rating of 92 which doesn't leave much room for betting maneouvre.
The first trial was won by Allan's Pasha who is a noted worker and has been unlucky not to win this season.
With attention focused heavily on the Derby, for which Gary Ng Ting-keung's Sure Win King is one of the top chances, yesterday's first batch saw the second trial from Sure Win King's full brother, Winner St Paul's.
He's got a future and Ng has taken the trouble of booking the experienced Brian Rouse to tutor Winner St Paul's through his trials. That is a good touch.
Jolly Good Winner was the best run in the second heat behind Allan's All Thrills while Quick Action won as he was entitled to in the third.
Looking towards Sunday's Derby meeting, there has been excellent work again from Pocket Full who appears to have thrived since joining Stephen Leung and could well follow up his recent Class Six win in the third event, the first leg of the Triple Trio.
His stablemate, Multi-Colours, has come on a bundle in readiness for the fifth for which he should also be suited by the move up in distance to 1,800 metres.
The main protagonists are all working well for the Derby, especially Makarpura Star, Sure Win King, Happy Hunting, Royal King Prawn, Master Eagle and Stellar Express.
Patrick Biancone appears to have continued to improve American Star who runs in the eighth for which Terrific Guts has also been going well.
In the last, David Oughton's Danish Heights has really blossomed in the last week or so and should go close.
First trial (975m): 1, PASHA (B. Marcus); 2, Fortune Winner (K. M. So); 3, Plenty Cash (G. Mosse). Others (in finishing order): Hot Gossip, Clear Classic, Winner St Paul's, Time: 0:58.6 (22.7). Distances: 1/2 length, 13/4 lengths. Winner trained by Ivan Allan.
Second trial (975m): 1, ALL THRILLS (B. Marcus); 2, Jolly Good Winner (G. Stevens); 3, Time Fit (S. M. Tam). Others: Splendid Feeling, Glory Of India, Chalky Boat, Winning Blossom, Happy Runner, E Treasure. Time: 0.58.8 (23.1). Distances: head, 2 lengths. Winner trained by Ivan Allan. Third trial (975m): 1, QUICK ACTION (B. Marcus); 2, Leadership (D. Gauci); 3, Nightstalker (J. Marshall). Others: Ace Of Hearts, African Treasure, Mashooq, Tomodachi, Intrepid Star, Stonelion Treaasure. Time: 0.59.0 (22.9). Distances: 8 lengths, 4 lengths. Winner trained by Ivan Allan. Fourth trial (1,235m): 1, DEBONAIR (D. Gauci); 2, Buddy (J. Marshall); 3, Enthusiasm (K. M. So). Others: Basic Instinct, Hoi Fung Star, Cottage View, Daiquiri, M117, Good As Gold, Fortune Basin. Time: 1.15.2 (24.2). Distances: 1 length, 1 length. Winner trained by David Hill.
Fifth trial (1,650m): 1, TIME STRONG (J. Marshall); 2, Fortune Ride (A. Munro); 3, Royal Horse (W. H. Tse). Others: Eminence, Sensible Choice, The Rising, Ellen's Romance, Chater Star, Escalus, Space Rock. Time: 1.44.2 (24.4). Distances: neck, 1 length. Winner trained by David Hill.