Goliath set to slay rivals
SWEDISH champion Freddy Johansson can step into the trophy spotlight at Sha Tin today when he partners topweight Supreme Goliath in the Lane Crawford Cup. The smart three-year-old won on debut at big odds for Alan Munro and trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan, he later ran well when second to Mr Vitality in the Centenary Cup, and was an unlucky fourth for Mick Kinane before flopping under Lance O'Sullivan when stepped up to 1,400 metres in yielding ground at his last outing.
He is a good ride for Johansson who has gained quite a few admirers since his quiet entrance to the territory as a Club rider for the final three months of the season. He has ridden three winners - and a lot of ordinary horses, too. When he does get a chance the well-travelled Swedish champion is seen to advantage and Supreme Goliath will get plenty of assistance today.
And it will be a test for the Swede as racing takes place on the narrow and, to an extent, unsatisfactory D Course where outside draws are not favourable except possibly on the worst of soft or deteriorating ground and that is not likely to be the case today. Supreme Goliath has drawn 10 in the full field of 14 and carries 140 pounds which will not make his task any easier so Johansson, who will not want to cover any more ground than he has to, will get a chance afresh to show his talents.
Victory And Gold and Hong Kong Supreme, who both beat home Supreme Goliath in the race where he finished fourth for Kinane, face contrasting tasks at today's weights. Strictly on the book, Victory And Gold has no chance of confirming form with Supreme Goliath who was giving him 20 pounds with Eden H. K. Cheung's claim when beaten three and a quarter lengths by the Brian Kan Ping-chee sprinter.
With Cheung aboard again today - and from the unfavourable 14 barrier - Victory And Gold is not weighted to confirm the form. It is much closer with Hong Kong Supreme where there is only a three pound weight swing today for two and a quarter lengths.
The Patrick Biancone-trained Hong Kong Supreme does shape up as a threat to the selection, especially as he's been holding his form well in the mornings and has run brilliantly at both his past two starts. For a top-class race there does not seem to be a lot of depth to today's Lane Crawford Cup field with those at the bottom of the weight scale seeming to have little real chance on form and ratings.
Two of the more interesting runners are trained by Ivan Allan whose last-start winner Regal Ridge will again be ridden by Greg Childs and bids for a follow-up win following his recent Happy Valley success where he benefited from a fast pace. This is a slightly tougher race than the Valley sprint, but Regal Ridge is capable of putting together a couple of good runs and he has run good races in smart time over the longer sprint at Sha Tin. He will probably be at biggish odds.
With stable jockey Basil Marcus committed to Pasha, who has an outside squeak in the race, visiting rider Eric Saint-Martin comes in for the ride on smart Irish-bred sprinter, Quick Action. Saint-Martin has had a superb stint and Quick Action is back to the trip which is arguably his best so the partnership could have a say in the outcome of this feature race.
Quick Action finished third over 1,400 metres last time finding Pine Fame and Helene Star just a little bit too good in the L'Or de Martell Cup. This does look easier and if Quick Action is back to anything like his sprinting best, he will be there at the finish. There is usually good value to be had when handy girl claimer Win Chung Lai-fong is aboard one that has an each-way chance and former champion trainer Kan has booked her for versatile veteran galloper, Right Way.
These days the longer sprint is on the short side for the son of Ahoonora, but there are few gamer performers about and, if he jumps from the rails barrier for Chung, those taking the chance could be in for a bold sight.