Golden Era shines in Sha Tin showers for impressive win
TONY HARBIDGE (Topspeed)
Torrential rain did not just keep the crowds down to a record low at Sha Tin on Saturday. It made accurate time analysis virtually impossible. Whenever the going changes through a meeting any speed figure calculations will inherently have a greater margin of error, and it was no different at the weekend. Even so, there are still a few safe conclusions that can be drawn from the available data - the most noteworthy being the merit of Golden Era's battling win in the Ocean Park Handicap. Despite the shift in going from yielding at the start of the evening to very soft by the close of play, there is no doubt Golden Era recorded the most significant time performance of the eight-race card and a Topspeed rating of 60 may yet prove on the cautious side. Although given a fine ride from the front by Piere Strydom this was no soft win.
He needed to be rousted along to get the lead and then stuck to his task with admirable resolution when challenged by Local Colour, showing no signs of the bleeding attack suffered last season. True, Local Colour did not seem to go through with his effort having looked the winner 200 metres out and the runner-up probably does lack some resolve in the heat of battle. However, in clocking a time rating of 43, he ran right up to his best of last season and he probably simply ran right up to the limit of his ability.
Over the same 1,400-metre trip, Super Goal Star made a winning debut in the territory and there was a lot to like about the performance. But, the time was not one of them.
Racing on the best of the ground, he landed the evening's opener in a relatively poor time of one minute and 26.3 seconds, which ranks 1.8 seconds slower than Golden Era clocked an hour later, and equates to a time rating of just 27. So, although Super Goal Star is entitled to progress for the experience and may yet prove a good deal better than the bare result suggests, this is not a race to get too excited about.
Mediocrity is another who won plenty of friends with his gutsy pillar-to-post victory in the Nam Long Shan Handicap. But, despite the worsening ground, the early splits for this 1,400-metre heat suggest it was not a race run at heart-wrenching pace and an overall time of one minute and 27 seconds translates to a particularly disappointing 35 speed figure. Pasha got the fast pace he requires in the final Island Divided Handicap and Ivan Allan's charge stayed on in fine style, having raced in last for much of the way.
His only win last season came over the same 1,200 metres but he clocked equal figures over farther, and he certainly came into his own as the others cried 'enough' in front - a fact reflected in the relatively moderate 62 time rating.
With that in mind, Supreme Goliath (77) deserves special mention. He did particularly well to keep on for fifth after racing on the pace throughout. The Fo Tan and Lo Wu Handicaps are the two races to note from last Wednesday's action at Happy Valley. Rising Glory could hardly have been more impressive in winning the former contest and considering the style of victory a Topspeed rating of 46 stamps this one as an animal to keep on the right side of in the near future. Glory Of Pakistan showed he was fully recovered from a bleeding attack by earning a speed figure of 30. But he did win with something in hand and the true test will come when he is finally put under real pressure.