Sectional times prove Aussie import is the genuine article
MR VITALITY landed Sunday's Chairman's Prize in the style of a true champion. It is not that the overall time was outstanding. A Topspeed of 75 rates this the superior of his three starts in the territory, but the speed figure on its own in no way promotes the weekend's effort as outstanding. Indeed, ranking 13 pounds inferior to the highest Topspeed sprint rating achieved this season, it barely warrants a description of adequate for the third leg of the sprint championship. It's the sectional times that confirm the performance and Mr Vitality as special. The Ivan Allan-trained three-year-old displayed pleasing pace from his outside draw to gain a prominent position through the early stages and produced a devastating turn of foot when asked for his effort in the straight. Often an apparent quality change of gear is in reality simply an optical illusion, but a final 400-metre fraction of 22.3 seconds provides positive evidence that the Australian import is the real deal. The facts speak for themselves.
In the last three seasons only once has the official time keeper recorded a faster final fraction for the 1,200-metre trip at Sha Tin and that 22.2 second split came off a pedestrian early gallop, producing an overall speed figure of only 38. The slower the early pace the easier it is to post a slick final fraction and the previous 1,200-metre best this season also came off a less-than-frantic gallop. Posted by potential Sha Tin Vase opponent Deauville, a 22.7 second split was achieved on the back of an overall time equating to a Topspeed of 40. So, quite clearly the sectional times confirm the visual impression that Mr Vitality destroyed Sunday's 11 rivals with a truly outstanding burst of speed and that ability to wrap up a race with one explosive move is the hallmark of a champion.
With three comfortable wins from as many starts in the territory, we have clearly not seen the best of this rising star. Allan has always stressed that the imposing son of Snippets would not be seen at his best until stepped up in trip and, as Basil Marcus pointed out on Sunday, '(at a mile) his kick should be that more telling'. A mouth-watering prospect. On a more mundane but still potentially profitable note, the two Class Five races produced the best time performances of the afternoon relative to class. Jay EE Eight returned an admirably gutsy effort to repel the sustained challenge of Renowned Gift in the Macwhinnie Cup Handicap and a Topspeed rating of 41 suggests the form should prove reliable.
Having earned a speed figure of 44 on his previous start, Each Own Way was not winning out of turn in the 1,800-metre Williams Cup. Despite wandering through the closing stages, he recorded a rating of 44. Able Ride signalled a return to the winners' enclosure may be imminent by clocking 36 in filling the runner-up spot. His previous best effort this season rated a 25 and he won in this class when posting a Topspeed of 30 on his final start last term. Meanwhile, it is hard to get away from Certeza in today's griffin event at Sha Tin. The good-looking son of Green Dancer seems a really good bet, especially with trainer John Moore and jockey Tony Cruz going all out for the championship.
Certeza has recorded very good Topspeed figures on each of his past couple of starts and the form all around has a rock-solid appearance as the likes of Banker's Delight and Deauville who finished in front of him are two very smart youngsters. Certeza is unlikely to start much of a price, but every now and again you just have to be prepared to put up with that. I much prefer to give you something at decent odds, something to finance a leisurely Sunday lunch at one of the top hotels, but if there's a good thing leaping out of the Topspeed figures crying out to be backed, it can't be ignored. The quinella is a toss up between Grand Way and Red Jeans.
The latter is just the selection basically as he can make use of the seven pounds he receives from Grand Way. Deep down though I have a sneaking suspicion that Red Jeans is not quite as good as some observers think while conversely Grand Way is a resolute type who strikes me as the sort to go on improving. A Topspeed tipping column would not be the same without one radical selection. This week it is Deerfield to beat none other than Makarpura Star in the Champions and Chater Cup. Deerfield's chances should not be underestimated as he has a whole series of classy Topspeed figures to his name while Makarpura Star has yet to prove himself against the clock. I'm not saying that Makarpura Star can't do it. I'm saying that he hasn't done it yet whereas Deerfield has, on a number of occasions, and he's going to be at big odds.
Deerfield has to be a slight doubt at the trip, but the application of pacifiers should help him relax and get home.