Biancone loads up for final shootout
THERE'S no relenting in the Patrick Biancone-Ivan Allan scrap for training honours and yesterday's lengthy trackwork session saw the Frenchman's team in brilliant form. Biancone has more ammunition left to fire at this time of the season than in previous campaigns and, in particular, his two top Class One performers Michael's Choice and Deauville worked in fantastic fashion on the main grass track. Deauville finished someway ahead of Michael's Choice in the Derby, but then the latter was racing over a distance too far and was less experienced. Since then Michael's Choice has made outstanding progress and it is conceivable that the way he is developing he could even end up as the more highly rated of the pair.
Yesterday, Michael's Choice worked with another highly progressive type of Biancone's, the hat-trick seeking Double Expresso who can run along with the best of them in the mornings. Yet Michael's Choice played with him, that's how well he went. He cruised upsides and then easily held about a length's advantage to the line.
Deauville seems to have progressed, too, this time from his first run back from a short spell following that excellent Derby second to Che Sara Sara.
He did not impress in his first main gallop back from that spell when working on a wet grass track. But he then came out and ran a good second to Success Partners when markedly checked in the closing stages. That run appears to have brought him back to his best and yesterday he worked all over Time Strong. There were also seven barrier trials down the straight 1,000-metre chute, with a couple added to make up for the cancellation of this Friday's Happy Valley trials. Prior to the trials, Allan's griffin Quick Money went down as a likely future winner in some half speed work with Canny Star who contests tonight's Happy Valley Vase. Quick Money floats over the ground.
Lam Hung-fie's recent acquisition Corollary put in a much better effort in the opening trial. Allan's star stayer Privilege was given an easy time of it in the second. Biancone's top griffin prospect Consistent Win hit the line well in the third in which Green Maple also did well behind the classy Way Ahead and Option. Strike It Hot collapsed and died after the fifth though apprentice Win Chung was unscathed and was straight back out to ride in the final batch in which Ricky Yiu's lucky pick up from Oughton's stable, Skystone, showed tremendous promise. Wylie Wong's griffin Best Wishes went nicely in the penultimate batch where Biancone's newcomer Keep Me Busy displayed a tenacious attitude.
First trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, EQUINE SUPREMO (E. Saint-Martin); 2, Polish Admiral (C. K. Chung); 3, Al Grey (F. Johansson). Others (in finishing order): Corollary, William's Tact, World Leader, Supernova, Innovation, Optic Fashion, Evasive Tactic, Gold Concept, Learned Friend, New Source. Time: 0:59.3 (23.0). Distances: neck, 11/2 lengths. Winner trained by Andy Leung Ting-wah.
Second trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, ABLE MONARCH (W. M. Lai); 2, Treasure Hunter (J. Marshall); 3, Flying High (K. S. Yu). Others: King Of Flash, Super Fit, Hong Kong Legend, Viva Icta, Privilege, Prefect Swing, Kingstown, Gold Crystal. Time: 0:59.9 (23.3). Distances: 1 length, neck. Winner trained by Gary Ng Ting-keung.
Third trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, WAY AHEAD (D. Holland); 2, Green Maple (E. Saint-Martin); 3, Option (G. Childs). Others: Word From Rome, Golden Prosperity, Kenzig, Golden Jerrang, Consistent Win, Picador, Winning Wave, Sterling Town, Nightstalker, Charity First. Time: 1.00.6 (23.7). Distances: neck, short head. Winner trained by Geoff Lane.
Fourth trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, NERVOUS WITNESS (J. Marshall); 2, Shinnecock Hills (D. Oliver); 3, Mountain Champ (W. H. Tse). Others: Adamant, Golden Duke, Super Swift, Flower Drum, Wang Tak Supreme, Fortissimo, Super Lord, Hunter's Fortune, Super Boy. Time: 1.00.8 (23.8). Distances: 13/4 lengths, 2 lengths. Winner trained by John Moore.
Fifth trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, GOOD CHOICE (C. K. Tsang); 2, TEAM VALOUR (W. H. Tse); 3, Walk Big (D. Holland). Others: Allura Red, Top-Worth, Easy Par, Local Colour, Wonderful, Hoppsan, Planet II, All Smart Wins, Savvy Trio, Strike It Hot. Time: 1:01.2 (24.2). Distances: neck, 2 lengths. Winner trained by Chris Cheung Ting-pong.
Sixth trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, EACH OWN WAY (D. Holland); 2, Souper (C. M. Au); 3, Best Wishes (C. H. Ko). Others: Mannidear, Chief Commander, Intrepid Star, Keep Me Busy, Jonka, Winning Express, Joyful Delight, I Like It, Paradise, Star Clover. Time: 1:01.4 (23.6) Distances: neck, 11/2 lengths. Winner trained by Wong Tang-ping.
Seventh trial _ 1,000 metres: 1, KEY MAN (C. K. Tse); 2, Forest Spring (H. K. Yim); 3, Excel Kid (G. Childs). Others: Skystone, Midas King, Tres Vite, Cootamundra, Mabrouk, Good Progress. Time: 1:02.2 (24.8). Distances: 3/4 length, 3/4 length. Winner trained by Andy Leung Ting-wah.