Octagon Star shaping up nicely for Tiley and Wong
By Racing Editor LAWRENCE WADEY
ANOTHER Monday and once again Nigel Tiley and Alex Wong Siu-tan were the only team to ask their horses to work along.
None more so than the useful young sprinter Octagon Star who clocked one minute 13.0 seconds for a very testing 1,200-metre hitout.
This was a slightly upside-down piece of work as Octagon Star's quarters became progressively slower.
This is usually a sign of bad work, no matter how fast, as it indicates that a horse is bolting with his riding and running himself into the ground.
But that was not the impression that Octagon Star gave to track watchers yesterday morning. The differentials in sectionals were also too close together to be of any consequence.
Rather, the work indicates that he is fit and will be pretty straight in condition when next seen on the racecourse proper.
Do not worry about his first-time failure in Class Two. River Verdon is the only horse who has made a successful transition from the griffin ranks to Class Two.
Every other subscription or private purchase griffin has needed at least one run to acquaint himself with the different racing pressures which exist in the higher echelons before prevailing.
Lucky Century was another of Tiley and Wong's to impress. He went far, far better than stablemate Race To Win as they clocked 1:16.5 for their 1,200-metre workout.
Lucky Century is still only a young three-year-old with bags of time to improve. He was keen to go a good bit faster yesterday morning and could have pulled several lengths clear of Race To Win without coming off the bit had Tiley desired.
Freedom Reigns, who looks a good chance for the stable in tomorrow's second event, looked on excellent terms with himself as he pottered up the straight in a comfortable 26.0 seconds for his last 400 metres. He has been doing plenty of work.
Patrick Biancone's Helene Star looked in terrific shape as he cantered round the inside track.
The French trainer has nurtured the International Bowl contender into one of the best-looking horses in training.
Wong Tang-ping's Star Of Marble is also going the right way. He was another out for light exercise on the inside track and he looked to be in excellent condition - if somewhat slower and more limited than Helene Star. He should win again.
There was good work from the barriers at the top of the back straight from Schnitzer in preparation for his clash with Chiu Chow Warrior over 1,235 metres at the Valley tomorrow. Schnitzer could represent good value.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen's good young sprinter, Orchestra, also impressed in readiness for this race. He had far too much pace for Great Admiral and Golden Emperor in a solid piece down the back straight.
John Moore is slowly bringing back to race fitness the bad-legged Democrat who looked like becoming one of the territory's top horses last season until developing knee problems.
Democrat seemed sound and fluent when working home solidly to the line yesterday morning, though he is almost certainly best watched rather than backed when first sent out to race.