Chief set to rule with pace

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 1997, 12:00am

Chief Commander has slumped to the middle of Class Six, but could score at Sha Tin tonight where the midweek meeting is on the dirt. On this surface, which is infinitely superior to the old equitrack, it is of paramount importance to be up on the pace or, in a short sprint of 1,150 metres, actually leading. And the manner in which Crown Commander has been working for trainer Stephen S. L. Leung, who is enjoying an excellent season, suggests he will be very much to the fore in this bottom-grade event.

Chief Commander has always possessed some natural pace and has definitely been sharpened up for tonight's engagement in which he has also drawn the rails. That should be an ideal spot for a speedy beginner as he can spear to the front and, if necessary, edge away from the rails depending on the track bias.

There is no doubt that Chief Commander's main asset is his degree of pace and with girl claimer Win L. F. Chung in the saddle finished a solid second over 1,200 metres earlier this season - and that was in better company than this. Chief Commander has run only once since then and made absolutely no progress from the back in a similar race, again when handled by Chung. English jockey Philip Robinson takes over tonight and has been involved in the six-year-old's preparation for the 14-runner event in which the well-weighted Bold Print could pose a threat. The Brian Kan Ping-chee galloper races in famous colours, but he has not added much lustre to the 'Print' name over the past couple of seasons.

Now officially on a rating of two and with seven-pound claimer Sheri P. W. Kong in the saddle, Bold Print will carry only 108 pounds.

He, too, has pace and with this weight should enjoy the scamper under Sheri who notched a history-making double 10 days ago. The Wong Tang-ping galloper Fairy Fun looks the other big chance as he has always hinted at form a little better than Class Six. His runs have been sparing, but he has been in the frame at the past two outings and seems in good heart. Top local trainer Wong could go close in the opening event where Action Win looks well-placed. This Class Five contest over 1,800 metres is well within his scope and he showed a certain aptitude for the dirt two starts back when contesting a 2,400-metre event. He was then dropped back quite sharply to 1,600 metres for his last effort, but after a short break he could be just about right for tonight's trip on the all-weather.