Drifting to close gap on Moore
TITLE-CHASING Patrick Biancone has been afforded a great chance of drawing level with John Moore in the race for training honours. Tomorrow's seventh event at Sha Tin has cut up into a particularly uncompetitive event for which Biancone's progressive young stayer, Drifting Away, must be strongly fancied on his form and his recent work. Last time out Drifting Away didn't have much luck in running but was noted hitting the line very hard in the Classes Two & Three event won by Joint Account. Indeed, he picked up as well if not better than none other than Miss Piggy on the run to the wire and Miss Piggy has since come out and run a highly creditable second to Starbuck in a top Class Two event on Wednesday night. Not only that, Drifting Away has been working better than ever in the mornings, putting in a tremendous gallop with his improving and higher-rated stablemate World Happiness.
They were asked to run a quick time and World Happiness could not get to Drifting Away as they maintained a strong pace through their final quarter. It was a hitout which suggested that Drifting Away had improved further and he will benefit from having senior stable rider, Eric Legrix, on board in tomorrow's Classes Three & Four race which is significantly easier than the company he tackled last time. Drifting Away is a very hard ride, even for such a talented apprentice as Simon 'Hong Kong' Yim and Biancone has done the right thing in putting Legrix in the plate. As the championship race enters its final lap, defending champion Ivan Allan is closing rapidly and must have a good chance in the day's opening event with his griffin, Winning Spirit, who sprung a surprise when successful down tomorrow's straight 1,000-metre chute earlier in the season. He is an absolute natural sprinter with bags of pace. He hits the gates very hard and just flies.
He is also significantly fitter for his first-up win and his subsequent work, having gone into that debut race off a very light preparation indeed. David Hill's Encore has benefited from the application of blinkers in his trackwork and will race that much better in them tomorrow. Don't leave him out of the opening tierce while Bruce Hutchison introduces a nice type in Sparko and John Moore's Win Theatre looked in peak condition during his final gallop yesterday morning. He has thrived for his two runs and is another leading candidate in yet another fascinating griffin contest. Gone are the days where one griffin stood out and yet you could still get 7-2 about him. They're history. Moore's Sugarloaf has looked appreciably more tractable in his work in readiness for the second event, going very well when winning a recent trial. He ran off the track last time but there should not be a repeat of those antics.
But he may not be good enough to cope with Winning Blossom who is yet another nice private purchase griffin unearthed by Alex Wong Yu-on. Favourite Mr Vitality looks fresh enough to take all the beating in the feature Chairman's Prize - the end-of-season sprint championship. He will face a strong test from Kadbridge who is spot on and Master Eagle who will benefit from being able to settle back in a fast-run race. The low grade handicappers, Po On King and Never Say Tired appear to hold their form well in readiness for the fifth race, a Class Five 1,400-metre handicap. The dark horse in this race is Biancone's Hung Hing Tai. He's been disappointing but the blinkers do seem to have helped and so will the drop into Class Five - and a poor Class Five event at that. Wong Tang-ping can also keep his championship hopes alive via his improving Each Own Way in the sixth.