First-season sensation has Killer plan
Excellent first-season handler Ricky Yiu could be back on the scoresheet again this Sunday at Sha Tin given the way that Cold Killer has shaped since joining his stable. Yiu, generally, has been in splendid form ever since Cosmolife opened his training account at the start of the season, but he peaked at the city track on Wednesday night when saddling his first treble. Those winners took him to the 18-winner mark and within striking distance of long-serving Wong Tang-ping who currently heads the race to be the top local trainer at the end of the season.
Cold Killer has been in Yiu's care for the best part of two months now, somewhat ironically joining him from Ping. Make no mistake, Ping is himself a very fine trainer who could hold his own anywhere as his brilliant handling of such a potentially difficult horse as Pine Fame has once again underlined this season. But it still has to be said that Cold Killer is working with an added zest these days. The grey showed very little in a trial on April 9, but then he has never trialled well.
He did, however, work encouragingly in a jumpout on Monday morning when keeping tabs on stablemate Brotherhood who showed the merit of that gallop with a good second to Precious Bobo on Wednesday night. And yesterday Cold Killer came through a promising 1,200-metre hitout in one minute and 21.8 seconds under the top Australian jockey Damien Oliver who is, himself, now riding in great form.
Oliver has oozed confidence in recent Cup wins on Celestial Fortune and Rajput and he is looking every bit as classy as the good judges from Australia have reported. He looks to be a very significant booking by Yiu and from a handicapping point of view there is also plenty to like about Cold Killer's chances on Sunday when he is down to carry topweight of 136 pounds in a Class Five 1,800-metre event.
Earlier in the season, Cold Killer showed his best form when staying on well to be 31/2 lengths second to Supreme Universe over the same course and distance - but with an important exception. The run came in a reasonably strong Class Four contest. He ran to a mark of 42 that day, according to my private handicap, so he looks reasonably well treated on Sunday, despite topweight, when he is set to compete from a mark of 38.
When he ran second to Supreme Universe he had the likes of Gold Concept, Super Shine, Elite and Trust Myself behind and all these were either in form or went on to frank the form soon after. Planet II is virtually guaranteed of getting a run in Cold Killer's race for which he is first reserve. He had no luck at all at Happy Valley last time when forced to challenge out very wide. Despite his torrid trip, he still managed to stay on all the way to the line and his work yesterday suggested he will be a danger to the grey horse.
Anyone looking for a longshot to support on Sunday could do worse than the Alex Wong Yu-on-trained Scotch Dancer who appears to have improved markedly in his work. Scotch Dancer always hinted at ability as a griffin and last time he ran better than his 101/4 lengths eighth of 14 behind Fast Action may suggest. He was slowly away and made up plenty of ground in the straight on a day when the place to be was up on the pace.
Since then he has trialled a bit better and his last couple of gallops have certainly given cause for encouragement. He appeared to go better than stablemate Universal Boss earlier this week and yesterday he went pleasingly from the barriers under Jackie Tse who rides him in Sunday's Class Five 1,400-metre event reserved for local riders.
Of course, Scotch Dancer may well have been generally 'found' but should he slip under the general public's guard and start at big odds, then there will be many worse win and place bets before the season ends. He should also be suited by the move up from 1,200 to 1,400 metres. In other work yesterday, Ivan Allan's griffin Coach Maniac looked on good terms with himself as he picked up for a final quarter in 22.9 seconds.
He is set to make his debut in a tough griffin event next Wednesday night - probably too tough at this embryonic stage - but the way he is shaping he has a very definite future in the game. Jacqwin landed a handsome touch first time out for Sunny Yam's brother, Simon, and appears to have trained on well.
She is also involved next Wednesday in what promises to be one of the most interesting griffins events of the season, with Saint Tak and the track star Danzighill others sure to figure prominently in the betting.