Deauville to raid Purse
DEBONAIR Frenchman Patrick Biancone will use the long-standing Ladies' Purse as the seasonal debut for his brilliant youngster Deauville and the former crack griffin is likely to overshadow the two special guests on a big day at Sha Tin.
Crack New Zealand rider Lisa Cropp and Englishwoman Emma O'Gorman will both be riding in the featured Ladies' Purse, which is one of the oldest races on the calendar.
But both women will have their work cut out against Deauville who has been carefully prepared for his re-appearance and definitely appears to have filled out and generally blossomed in the summer layoff.
O'Gorman, who is thinking of America in terms of her future, rides topweight Best One for trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung while Cropp, carving out a career for herself in Sydney, will partner Concert Boss for Tony P. H. Chan.
But it is unquestionably Deauville who will capture the public attention today.
Deauville is going into this Classes One and Two race over 1,900 metres without the benefit of a preparatory race over a shorter trip but Biancone appears untroubled.
He said: 'He has done plenty of strong, steady work and he is fit enough.
'Deauville showed last year that he is a very good young horse and certainly this distance is what he needs.
'I am sure in time he could be prepared to race over much more ground but you have to take it a step at a time and remember what are the important distances and races in Hong Kong. This seems to me to be a good introductory race for him this season.' Deauville, if he is to live up to his billing as a budding star of the show here, will be expected to win the Ladies' Purse with some authority.
It is not at all a poor field - only 12 go to post for it - but few would be expected to reach the heights predicted for Deauville after his griffin year.
Deauville is a superbly striking individual who looks all over a racehorse - and more importantly, races like a good one, too.
Given his European-style preparation, there is no real reason to worry about the first-up 1,900 metres and the horse is a stayer of substance in the making.
He is an exciting horse with the suggestion of real class and charisma about him and, quite frankly, it will only be good for Hong Kong racing if he does win with some authority today.
Deauville may not be a betting proposition but, on this occasion, it is a race where quality and the future could mean more than a bet.
American-bred Seattle Pride is a good type who will also appreciate the trip and Tony Cruz again partners the gelding for John Moore and they do emerge as a threat to Deauville and a very likely quinella.
He has a good run under his belt and has the form to make his presence felt but is unlikely to be a top class galloper - as connections clearly hope Deauville will turn out to be.
Trainer David Hill has engaged South African Piere Strydom for Amza Glory who has also had the benefit of a good run under Cruz last time.
'He is fit for this and Amza Glory really needed his last race,' said Hill.
'He is as good now as he has been but clearly there are a couple of handy horses in this and Deauville, if he has really trained on, will be hard to beat.
'Amza Glory is definitely competitive in this type of a race and I think he will be there at the finish.' Lurking at the bottom of the handicap is the Bruce Hutchison-trained Timah who will be ridden by Steven King and is a lightweight quinella and tierce chance.
Timah is a game campaigner who has been going around for quite some time now but is definitely effective at this trip.
He will come from the back but still possesses that change of pace which can catch leaders napping.
Off this low weight, Timah does make some appeal - particularly as the stable and jockey are currently very much in form.
Trainer Lawrie Fownes has Enthusiasm engaged and the grey has run some bold races over this type of trip and in similar company.
He appears to have summered well and will be the medium of some support.