Improving Middy can make Ng's day
It has been a tough season for popular trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen, but a recent resurgence can continue at Sha Tin today when he saddles up topweight Gallant Middy in the second event on a rather mundane card. Gallant Middy is a five-year-old who is now contesting Class Five events and he has demonstrated enough ability - particularly on his last outing - to suggest he can win a race in this grade. In fact, Gallant Middy is another example of a younger horse who has taken a long time to grow accustomed to racing life. But there was definite merit to his last two runs, the first over the unsuitable 1,000 metres at Happy Valley. That day he made up ground to be just over five lengths from Trademark who was possibly unlucky not to make it two on end in better company when the pace of the race did not work out. Gallant Middy then stepped up to what looked a more suitable 1,400 metres and finished a head second to last-gasp winner Heart To Heart who is generally held to be better than this modest grade.
Interestingly, he had Sonic and Po On Power behind him and the latter is expected to give an account of himself in another race on today's card while the Lawrie Fownes-trained Sonic will win a race. Gallant Middy has struck a modest race both in quality and numerically where we are three short of a full field for the 1,600-metre event. There may be a slight question mark over the extra 200 metres as Gallant Middy was caught in the shadows of the post last time, but he was ridden right out for speed.
Given a calculated ride in front and without being taken on, he will be right there. Since his narrow defeat by Heart To Heart, the gelding has not done a lot but what has been seen of him suggests he may well have benefitted from it.
After just two runs this season Gallant Middy now looks to be in peak condition for a real crack at the money and those supporting him should not be disappointed. It is tempting to give some sort of a tierce or quinella chance to the Fownes-trained Cootamundra who showed his only flash of form at his last start, course and distance, when four lengths sixth to So So after disputing the lead most of the way down the straight. Prior to that outing, Cootamundra's form had been nil and he looked a no-hoper. Now that he has shown something he could be worth including.
Despite his flash of form last time, he will almost certainly start at longish odds. Al Bundy, who once ran just off the placegetters in the New Zealand Derby, has descended to Class Five company without winning a race locally.
He has run a prodigious number of placings but the winning post still eludes him.
In this weak affair, however, he should definitely be inked in on tierce and quinella tickets as he will appreciate the trip and the track.