Deauville primed for Vase challenge
A holiday on New Year's Day meant a fairly hectic work schedule at Sha Tin yesterday with familiar faces back in action and any number of horses involved in today's 10-race Sha Tin card having their final tune-ups.
The Centenary Vase is the feature race and trainer Tony Cruz sent new stable star Deauville for a short pre-race livener with jockey Eric Saint-Martin in the saddle.
There is no doubt that Deauville does look particularly well and he breezed along in even time for the French jockey.
Deauville has tried to turn the tables on Privilege many times but gets a very realistic chance today and he does look ready for it.
In this final stretch out, Deauville looked every inch a fit horse, at ease with himself and, above all, ready for action.
Mazal, who would not object to any possible ease in the ground with the rain that has been about recently, finished his preparation under Mick Kinane and looked particularly lively coming home in 25.4.
Mazal has tended to be under-rated but if the two main hopes, Privilege and Deauville, happened to be not at their top, this fellow could take full advantage. He does look ready.
Racing resumes at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and Red Wine is down for the featured Volunteers' Challenge Cup over 1,200 metres.
The horse has shown a liking for the city track in the past and is on target for a top showing judging by his latest effort yesterday.
With Richard Quinn up, Red Wine was clocked in a comfortable 1:27.5 and came home in what seemed an unextended 24.1.
Red Wine is in good shape and can take a hand in this one.
There's not much to be said for Class Six horses but keep a watchful eye on Hoi Fung Star who is down for a 1,650-metre event on Wednesday night. Relatively sparingly raced because of several problems, he is currently going a little better than most in this division.
South African ace Piere Strydom was aboard yesterday in a useful hitout for this grade. He was clocked in 1:22.1 (24.5) and did the work in good fashion. On his day, Hoi Fung Star is better than the field he will be in and is worth noting.
There was some support for Feel Legend on his debut run and the confidence was not unfounded. The newcomer ran well and is definitely on the improve as his work yesterday suggested.
He was not asked to do much but simply looked very much on good terms with himself in the modest effort.
Feel Legend has come on from the race and is going to be that much harder and fitter next time.