Return of the big guns

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 1997, 12:00am

Take a chance on a couple of outsiders at this afternoon's Sha Tin fixture with Bruce Hutchison's Senator and the Wong Tang-ping-trained Miss Piggy capable of running good races at big odds in the concluding events. There's a great day's racing in prospect at the New Territories venue with Horse of the Year Mr Vitality back in action in the Centenary Cup and the headline-hogging Benji set to clash with Privilege in the P&O Challenge Cup. Senator and Miss Piggy could add value to these classy proceedings. Senator clearly has Ivan Allan's last-start winner, Bold Dancer, to beat in the eighth event and it won't be easy. Bold Dancer is an improving youngster, just the sort with which Allan excels as he takes them slowly through their grades, maximising their winning opportunities as they stay a step ahead of the handicapper while learning all about the racing game as they go.

Last time Bold Dancer was doing all his best work at the finish when pulling away from David Hill's wayward Allura Red over 1,200 metres and he should be suited by the move to 1,400 metres. But Senator now looks fully fit and he could give Bold Dancer plenty to think about. Senator has been running creditably all season, his best effort probably coming when 31/4 lengths third to Mount Kosciusko over today's 1,400-metre trip. He has not been beaten at all far on any of his outings and he was noted rallying close home, having been asked to work extra hard early in his race, when a gallant sixth to Allan's Inner Circle down the straight 1,000-metre chute last time out. That trip was too short for Senator, but he did well to come again at the finish and since then he has looked to be at his peak in the mornings. He appears to have tightened up and the Hutchison stable has generally been in very good form of late. If Senator doesn't beat Bold Dancer, at least he can run the quinella with him.

Miss Piggy should relish the return to Sha Tin and the move to 2,000 metres in today's final event. The eight-year-old has appeared unsuited by Happy Valley on his most recent outings, getting too far back and being unable to make up sufficient ground in the closing stages. But he has been making up enough ground to suggest a return to Sha Tin and the 2,000-metre trip will see him go close, especially on the kind of form which saw him run five lengths eighth of 14 behind We Know When over an inadequate mile from a rating of 73. Miss Piggy was hampered some 31/2 lengths that day, is now racing from a six-pound lower mark and over a much more suitable trip.