Begg gives hint of Eternal winner
VETERAN Australian handler Neville Begg dominated yesterday's two-heat barrier trial session at Sha Tin with promising efforts from Eternal Harmony and Diablo. Eternal Harmony has already been in good form this season, all but getting away with one at huge odds under stable apprentice Keith Kwok before winning well for Greg Childs from none other than Win Theatre, the pair drawing miles clear of their rivals. Yesterday, Childs was noted keeping Eternal Harmony under a tight hold as they went to the line and this was probably the best trial performance of the morning in terms of trying to find a future winner.
Eternal Harmony had always worked as if more than capable of scoring in his first season or so in the territory, but failed to live up to an encouraging early effort last campaign. Begg is nothing if not patient and he has finally found the key to Eternal Harmony who yesterday went as well as he has ever gone. On this kind of showing he could certainly build on his last-start success.
Time Strong looked a top prospect when with David Hill in the early part of last season, having arrived with a good reputation from Australia where he had won his only start, landing a considerable gamble in the process. He did win and run some good races in defeat, but he never really lived up to expectations and he has not been impressing this term either. He is now with Patrick Biancone and seems to be giving the Arc De Triomphe-winning handler plenty of problems as he has not been working that much, not until recently anyway. In yesterday's first trial jockey Eric Legrix was at him from a long way out and while Time Strong stayed on to the line, he is best watched at this stage.
Begg has done well since taking over Diablo from Kenny Kam and the former doyen of the Sydney training ranks has a good record with these enigmatic types such as Diablo and Schnitzer. Diablo is noticeably trimmer than a few weeks ago and yesterday's trial win will have left him pretty straight for his seasonal reappearance, especially as he is a very mentally active type who gets himself fit to a large extent due to this mental alertness.
The second heat was run at a crawl, especially over the final 400 metres. While Diablo was sauntering home, the Lawrie Fownes-trained Plenty Cash also shaped with some encouragement. He trialled better than he had been working. He was looked after throughout by Lance O'Sullivan and is the type who could pop up at fair odds in a low-grade handicap. It should pay dividends to keep a close eye on the Gary Ng Ting-keung-trained Successful Way in events even lower down the handicap scale than those waiting for Plenty Cash.
Successful Way will be competing in Class Six and contrary to popular belief some of the best bets are to be found in these races as they are so often uncompetitive events with very few realistic chances. Yesterday, Successful Way stayed on strongly up the home straight and is getting fitter all the time. This is the second time he has caught the eye in his trials and he is definitely worth following in future Class Six events after all, a winner is a winner is a winner. It was very quiet on the main work track prior to the trials though David Oughton's Owners' Success showed marked improvement in his work as he led stablemate Mazal in one of the more revealing pieces of the morning.
Earlier the David Hayes-trained Oriental Oilfield had moved pleasingly alongside the higher-rated Our Pal. This is the second time in just over a week that Oriental Oilfield has gone into the notebook and it could be that he needed his runs earlier in the season. First Trial - 1,150 metres 1, SUPER STRUCTURE (L. O'Sullivan); 2, Supreme Monarch (B. Marcus); 3, Golden Emperor (W. L. Ho). Others (in finishing order): Eternal Harmony, Time Strong, Red Wine, House Honour, Classic Turbo, Orchestra. Time: 1.09.3 (24.5). Distances: head, head. Winner trained by Lawrie Fownes.
Second trial - 1,150 metres 1, DIABLO (G. Childs); 2, Plenty Cash (L. O'Sullivan); 3, Ablaze (M. Kinane). Others: Successful Way, Hankow Star, Easy Beat, Daring Hawk, Always Wealthy. Time: 1.11.9 (25.7). Distances: 3 lengths, 1/2 length. Winner trained by Neville Begg.