Newcomer Ah-sai's Star is still rising
Caretaker trainer Lai Lap-sai's winning spree is far from over on the evidence of Star Of Wah Yan's work at Sha Tin yesterday.
Ah-sai has struck eight times since taking over the licence of suspended Stephen Leung, most notably in the Champions and Chater Cup with Indigenous.
Star Of Wah Yan failed to boost that tally last time but only after a ding-dong battle with Mr Brinker at Happy Valley where the pair pulled some six lengths clear of their rivals and Mr Brinker's greater experience told in the finish.
It was an effort which marked Star Of Wah Yan down as one not to miss next time and yesterday's work confirmed that. He was sent out in company with the good worker, Glory Of Pakistan, who led this 800-metre piece that Ah-sai favours for his horses.
The in-form Australian rider Patrick Payne was aboard and he was at pains to keep Star Of Wah Yan in behind Glory Of Pakistan for most of the way, letting out the minimum of rein as they went past the post towards the end of their work.
The response was immediate and impressive, with Star Of Wah Yan finding another gear to ease himself upsides and then by Glory Of Pakistan.
They didn't run any particular time, it was just an easy 800-metres in 54.0 seconds with that final 400 metres up the home straight in 25.9 seconds.
But they didn't need to. Star Of Wah Yan was fluent and happy and is primed to win.
The other track stars were Bruce Hutchison's and Ivan Allan's last-start winners, Trobis and Citadel, and David Hayes' griffin, Hunting Lad.
Hutchison set Trobis to score from Aipoder last time in an excellent piece of training.
The Australian import looks to have progressed from that run and yesterday was far too good for his in-form stablemate, Aspiration.
On the evidence of this work, Trobis could win again before the end of the season in the colours of Shah Pervez Hussain, a dual Pakistan Derby-winning owner.
Citadel blitzed them in a 1,400-metre event last time and yesterday had no trouble matching strides with the improving Class One performer, Citadeed.
They only came through 800 metres but they did clock a very fluent last quarter in 22.8 seconds with Citadel, if anything, showing a touch more zip.
Make no mistake, this was good work as Citadeed is in cracking form and much more experienced than Citadel who is improving all the time. Finally his owner, Gerald Godfrey, looks to have a decent horse and no one will begrudge him that as he has been such a firm supporter of racing.
Hunting Lad was unlucky not to beat Kimber last time when twice checked by Inventor on the run to the line.
If anything he's now going better and yesterday positively flowed to the line under apprentice Jimmy Wong, though it may also have been the case of Wong not being able to hold him as he ended up clocking a lightning one minute and 12.4 seconds for his 1,200-metre workout and that's not the Hayes' style.
Hayes' Blazing Ballad is also in fine form and can be supported first up from his spell.
In other work, Ah-sai's Sky Coast went really well on the grass as did David Oughton's Fortissimo in company with Mazal. Fortissimo probably has more improvement to come.
Oughton must also be happy with the way his Derby winner, Che Sara Sara is progressing. He can pull very hard but yesterday he floated over the ground in a very relaxed manner for Eric Saint-Martin.
Moore's Country Lad went well in blinkers with Joint Account and Peter Ng Bik-kuen's stayer, Charity First, can win again given the way he handled Win It All who usually works well.
Andy Leung's Genius flew under Brian Rouse while Lawrie Fownes' exciting griffin Taurus had no trouble handling Conticasta.
SHA TIN DIRT TRIAL RESULT 1,050 metres: 1, SEATTLE PRIDE (P. Payne); 2, Straight Way (K. M. So); 3, Snip Pour Roi (P. Strydom). Others (in finishing order): Aqua Princess, Powernamic, Classic Boy, Marquee Universal, A Strength. Time: 1:02.8 (23.5). Distances: 1.5 lengths, 1.25 lengths. Winner trained by John Moore.