Take a shot at Fireball

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 1997, 12:00am

Fireball can provide a spot of punting cheer on tonight's special Martell-sponsored Grand National meeting at Happy Valley. The world's most famous race is covered extensively by Britain's premier racing journalist, Jim McGrath, on page four.

See the centre pages for an in-depth horse-by-horse guide plus Topspeed's exclusive ratings for this 41/2-mile jumping spectacular. But prior to the National, follow Fireball in the third. The Wong Tang-ping-trained youngster burst onto the scene with two good victories earlier in the season. He has always looked a decent stayer in the making and should now be honed to perfection to strike again. He had a small training setback and had been off the course prior to his last start where he was noted making good late headway to finish just behind the placegetters in the mile event won by Super Goal Star at Sha Tin. That was a weak form race, but the point of the outing is that it should have left Fireball in peak condition for tonight's 1,800-metre affair. The drop back into Class Three will also help Fireball as will the seven pounds that the talented apprentice Alex Yu can take from his back. Yu looks one of the best young riders.

He has already had a final warning with a lengthy riding suspension for not giving Super Shine every chance earlier in the season. But if Yu learns from his indiscretion, and it is to the Jockey Club's credit that he was afforded the opportunity to so, he has the raw ability to become a very fine senior rider. Fireball has trialled well since that promising run back from a spell, hitting the line hard at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning and it looks very significant that Wong now applies blinkers for the first time to Fireball in his races. The blinkers should fire up Fireball who has had a tendency to lack a bit of dash early on before flying home. Proud Of You looks a serious quinella chance as he had no luck in running on the dirt behind Ablaze last time and prior to that his form was very strong. Win It All will find this harder after a wide-margin win from a weak field but he has improved in his work.

High Powered will relish the move up in distance and is worth keeping safe in the quinellas and tierces. He was badly checked last time and still went well to the line. Nansen looks best of the others as he had a tough trip up on the speed and still battled on well to hold third to stablemate Fat Choi Together here last weekend.