Derby hopefuls put through their paces
THE big guns fired their final salvos before tomorrow's fascinating Derby trial during yesterday's Sha Tin trackwork session and it was Charming Talker and Deerfield who impressed more than Right Way. Charming Talker had disappointed in his gallop on the grass on Tuesday when significantly outpointed by stablemate Peace Gallery in a solid hitout. Trainer Patrick Biancone warned the work could well have been deceptive for two reasons. Firstly jockey Gerald Mosse had asked Charming Talker for an effort from fully 1,200 metres out and secondly, Peace Gallery, if allowed to relax in front, is a terrific work horse. Yesterday Biancone's words of wisdom were apparent when Charming Talker really flew home over the final 400 metres of his 800-metre work. His total time of 48.7 seconds for the 800 metres is nothing special but it conceals as much as it reveals as he impressed over the last 200 metres, quickening up in the style of a top performer.
But racing is never simple and Charming Talker does work exceptionally fluently on the equitrack. He worked in this manner before running fourth in the Stewards' Cup - the last time he raced in public. So just as last Tuesday's work may not do him justice, yesterday's work could flatter Biancone's Derby prospect. Deerfield worked in similar style to Charming Talker. His 800-metre time of 48.5 seconds was nothing out of the ordinary but the manner in which he came to the line over the last 200 metres was most impressive. He had bounce and zest and fluency and is clearly coming right back to form.
Right Way covered 1,200 metres on the equitrack in a creditable one minute 19.5 under Felix Coetzee. Trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee has kept him ticking over quietly since his brilliant last-start success as he is a horse who doesn't take too much work to maintain peak fitness. The best work of the morning came from another Biancone horse who is making great progress this season - Noble Dancer. He was unlucky last time when finishing fast to run second to Kadbridge, having been forced to come from a long wayback over 1,400 metres. Yesterday, Noble Dancer clocked a remarkable 1:12.2 for his 1,200 metres, hitting the line with tremendous power.
Biancone's dual winner this season, King Prawn, also went really well, this time from the barriers at the top of the back straight. He readily held stablemate and useful work horse Hung Hing despite being eased down over the final 100 metres. Hung Hing is one to watch out for on the equitrack, especially if he can be found a 1,030-metre sprint in Class Three.
Kan looks determined to score at the first time of asking with his young English import, Gold Yue Yee, who had exciting form when trained by Richard Hannon last season. He has put a series of most searching gallops into the young three-year-old and did so again yesterday, asking him to come home in 24.4 seconds for a total 1,200-metre time of 1:18.3.