Exciting Mako put through final paces
Interesting griffin Mako makes his racing debut in the opener at Sha Tin today and he certainly looks ready to run a big race.
Wendyll Woods, who has been in fine form all season, partners the Wong Tang-ping galloper for well-known owner Annie Wang and wound up his preparation for today's debut with a quick tune-up yesterday.
Mako has worked and trialled well for some time and in yesterday's piece of wrap-up work in a shade over even time he did look in extremely good shape. Few who've seen Mako going through his paces over the past six weeks doubt that he has the innate ability but key factors today will be fitness and greenness.
First-up over 1,400 metres is a bit of a task for a juvenile but, as Woods pointed out yesterday, astute local handler Wong would not have him in there were he not fit enough to give an account of himself.
'The topweight [Master Magic] is the one to beat, but Mako is going to be a very nice horse. I have been impressed with him and he will run a bold race,' said Woods, minutes after dismounting.
Those taking a chance on Mako today - and a quinella with Master Magic is recommended - will know that, if things do not work out here, it will merely be a question of waiting to get the money back. Mako will oblige.
Champion jockey Basil Marcus has several chances on today's programme with Regal Ridge a likely favourite for the featured Lane Crawford Cup.
He put the Irish-bred sprinter through his final piece for the race yesterday morning with Regal Ridge clocking an easy-going 1:02.6. It is doubtful if the horse has ever been fitter and looked bursting with energy and full of himself in this final tune-up.
Marcus and retaining trainer Ivan Allan are probably fed up with the sight of Kowloon Pride who has narrowly beaten them at the past two outings.
They get their chance for revenge today, but Allan cautioned: 'I am not happy with the draw and it might be tough enough. On the book we have the beating of Kowloon Pride, but he might well defy the handicap. And races aren't run on the book.' Last-start winner Dance Control seems to be going in the right direction and the form of his race will get a boost if Midas King wins the final event today.
Dance Control is down for the Indian Recreation Challenge Cup at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and will be in fine shape for the contest. He was given a brisk little workout yesterday (51.7) by Piere Strydom and has clearly come out of his last race very well.
Excellent youngster Bumper Storm remains in great shape and on target for the Chairman's Prize judging by his latest piece of work yesterday.
With Eric Legrix up, Bumper Storm fairly sizzled along but looked quite happy doing it. He sped through the sectionals and was timed in 1:12.9, one of the better overall efforts of a busy morning.
The time by itself would not necessarily have meant that much but coupled with his overall fitness and the real zest to his work, this was exciting stuff.
Last-start winner Aggressive Dragon is also continuing in the right vein and looked ready for further action in a pleasing piece of work for Douglas Whyte. Returned to the sprinting distances last time out, Aggressive Dragon duly obliged and trainer Tony Cruz is clearly eyeing another suitable race for this good type.
Aggressive Dragon is ready to make it two-on-end and must be kept under notice for a 1,200 or 1,400-metre event.
Trobis continues to work the place down, having trialled like a coming winner at Happy Valley last time out.
Yesterday, with Paddy Payne up, the Bruce Hutchison-trained gelding was timed in a quick 1:22.7 and fairly zipped along. It is the continuation of an excellent preparation and there will be keen interest when he steps out.