Simon says, get on your Bicycle

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 January, 1996, 12:00am

CHAMPION apprentice Simon 'Hong Kong' Yim can take another step closer to the senior riding ranks by scoring on Bicycle for impressive first-season handler Ricky Yiu in the third event at Sha Tin this afternoon. All eyes will be on how the great old champion River Verdon fares in the final event.

He will almost certainly need the run, but it would be fantastic to see him show enough to suggest he can win a decent race before the end of the season and thus bow out in a manner which befits his enormous contribution to local racing.

He provides the glamour and the emotion. But Bicycle is the hard-nosed betting material in a race in which there are not too many chances as is so often the case in these Class Six events which are great betting events for nailing the quinella and the tierce. For instance, a very straightforward tierce the other week of Happy Birthday, All Smart Wins and Run Archie Run paid a very handsome dividend of 60-1. Those are big odds when there are so few main hopes in a race.

Bicycle, like a number of horses who have joined Yiu, has improved considerably. He did show promise for Lam Hung-fie in higher grades and more competitive events than he tackles today, but all the same the thing which stands out about Bicycle since his move to Yiu is his action. He is moving so much more fluently. There is a bounce in his step and an athleticism and zest in his work which was not so apparent before. It was there before his last start win at 28-1 - interestingly he was nibbled at late on the tote, coming in from 33-1 in the last couple of minutes of betting - but it has been even more apparent since that victory.

His last piece of work was most impressive, by the standard required to oblige in Class Six that is, and it would be very surprising if he did not run a big race under Yim this afternoon. The move up in distance from a mile to 1,800 metres should more than compensate for the weight swing in Lockhart's Lot's favour as Bicycle has been crying out for more ground all his career. And Yim is excellent value for his three-pound claim. He has been riding with plenty of confidence and banging home a number of winners in the past month.

He needs only five more before he fulfils a lifelong ambition and becomes a senior jockey and after Bicycle that number could well have become four. Yim, with all his talent and application, will be a senior rider before the curtain comes down on another season. He is also set to become champion apprentice for the second successive year. Not bad for a claimer who took over two years to ride his first winner.

He remains very modest and stands out as a role model to all the other apprentices in the territory. Lockhart's Lot is still likely to provide Bicycle with most to do as like the selection, he has benefited from a change in training methods. He is now with David Hayes and has improved physically over the past couple of months. That improved appearance translated itself into improved raceform last time out and Lockhart's Lot was only caught in the dying strides by Bicycle and did not have the best of runs through either.

If this had been over a mile, he would have been the first pick, especially at the weights. But the 1,800 metres could see Bicycle nail him close home once again. Others to consider for the tierce are Able Ride, Power Protection and Karaoke. Able Ride has very solid form credentials and will appreciate the trip. He is without question the third pick in the race. Power Protection is starting for Tony P. H. Chan for the first time and has done plenty of work. He has James Chan taking seven pounds off his back and this is another young claimer going places. He is certainly well worth his claim. Karaoke stays well and is always dangerous in this grade.