'Quiet' Fownes team to turn up tempo
It has been a good season so far for the renewed partnership of trainer Lawrie Fownes and jockey Wendyll Woods and the trackwork signs point to more winners to come.
Fownes was adamant when Woods, his nephew, was eventually re-licensed to return to ride in the territory that this was no case of nepotism. The avuncular Fownes pointed out very forcefully that he hadn't spent the past 10 years building up his stable in both size and quality to then employ a jockey simply because he was family.
Rather Fownes wanted Woods because he felt he would be more than equal to the task come raceday, they had a very good understanding and because Woods is a big help at trackwork, too. Woods justified Fownes faith with a whizz-bang start to the season.
He won the very first race on Satisfaction Plus and went on to complete a treble at huge odds. After a brief lull, they are now back in good form with Fownes having trained a healthy 18 winners, 13 seconds and 18 thirds from 226 runners and Woods having ridden 17 winners, 18 seconds and 22 thirds.
Fownes is sixth in the trainer standings, 10 behind Ivan Allan and Woods is joint fifth in the jockeys' ranks, 14 adrift of Basil Marcus. There's plenty of young talent in the Fownes' camp which should be flourishing over the second half of the season with horses like En Rapport, Add More and Royal Performance starting to find their feet.
There could also be another win to come from Winningcombination and yesterday the likes of Sonic, Money Come-In, Port Hope and Captive Trick all showed enough to suggest they are capable of saluting the judge. Sonic has run three times and shown distinct promise the last two times, having been trapped wide on his debut when he also needed the outing.
Yesterday, he came through a solid hitout in company with Money Come-In in a pleasing one minute and 20.0 seconds. Sonic is improving with racing and is the type to pop up sooner rather than later, especially around a mile. Money Come-In is positioned to win races in the middle of Class Five. His last run can be forgotten as he blew the start and was then badly inconvenienced by Wonderful's fall.
There was also one 1,050-metre trial on the dirt yesterday morning and there was only one winner as Wylie Wong's Danzighill came through strongly to win going away by 31/2 lengths from the Alex Wong Siu-tan-trained Top Cat. The latter's racing future remains in some doubt as his owner has been stripped of his membership privileges for 15 months after being found to have bet with an illegal bookmaker.
SHA TIN ALL-WEATHER TRIAL Trial result _ 1,050 metres: 1, DANZIGHILL (P. Strydom); 2, Top Cat (L. Cassidy); 3, Colourful World (C. F. Chan). Others (in finishing order): Fighting Strike, Gold Capture, Lionheart, Wing's Honour. Time: 1:02.6 (23.6). Distances: 3 lengths, 4 lengths. Winner trained by Wylie Wong Wai-lit.