Choi keeps cool to blaze home on Fireball
By ROBIN PARKE
RISING star Fireball (2-1 favourite) accounted for Class Three company when scoring a strong victory in the seventh event at Sha Tin last night.
Fireball, who had to be led to the start after playing up under jockey Vickie C. W. Choi, officially scored by three parts of a length from rank outsider New Asia Sage (99-1) who tried to make all under female claimer Win L. F. Chung.
Choi, who now starts a nine-raceday suspension, rode a race of impeccable coolness and Fireball could not have been more impressive when asked the final question in the straight.
New Asia Sage had opened up a good break on the field and Fireball was probably spotting the leader 10 lengths on straightening.
But, just as he had done under Douglas Whyte on opening day over a mile, Fireball simply changed gear to surge towards the leader in the final 40 metres.
Choi had something to cheer about after a bleak week and said: 'I had to get him going coming towards the home turn but Fireball had to really race in the straight because the leader did not give in quickly.' Fireball does look potentially exciting material. He is clearly going to mature into a stayer capable of winning in company superior to this and wily trainer Wong Tang-ping will map up an astute plan for him.
The three-year-old son of Be My Chief is sure to be a threat in some good staying races before this season ends.
New Asia Sage was a complete surprise to punters but, as so many horses do, ran along well under the tender hands of young Chung and looked capable of causing a real upset halfway down the straight.
But he was finding the going tough and did shorten his stride close to home while trainer John Moore's Rocket Green (20-1) ran a very honest race for third.
While Fireball was expected to win and did so commandingly, there were disappointing runs from horses like Twin Dragons (5-1), the topweight who appreciates ground with give in it, and Feodor (8-1), who was never a factor.