High-profile pair in low-key hitouts
Class One stars, Bumper Storm and Smashing Pumpkin came through their barrier trial in smooth though not spectacular fashion at Sha Tin yesterday morning.
The Patrick Biancone-trained Bumper Storm, who had worked with such brilliance on Saturday morning, came through late to take the long-time pacesetter, Prince Fortune, on the line.
It was a solid effort from Bumper Storm but then Biancone hardly ever asks any of his for a serious effort in their trials, dirt or grass, and he gives them a particularly easy time of it on the all-weather surface.
Smashing Pumpkin had looked to go exceptionally well in a grass gallop with Strikers last Tuesday morning, moving slightly the better of the pair. A study of the video of the gallop indicated that his rider was almost waiting in front for Strikers to catch up.
So Smashing Pumpkin was expected to trial well yesterday morning which he did without being asked a serious question.
It didn't appear anything special to me, certainly not as encouraging as his past couple of workouts which had been really something else.
But trainer David Hayes was very pleased with the effort and intends to run him in the Sha Tin Trophy on October 4.
Prince Fortune showed good speed in the blinkers in this trial while Lawrie Fownes' Centurion Trophy winner, the progressive En Rapport, was not at all knocked around and came home pleasingly.
Hayes took the second trial via the improving Hunting Lad who has come back into work this season looking a most impressive individual and ready to improve on his griffin success of last season.
He travelled very easily indeed for Basil Marcus in behind the speed set by David Hill's sprinter, Sharp Shooter, and was not troubled to ease clear in the run to the line.
Fownes' Chiu Chow Boy came home well for Wendyll Woods and is another who can improve and win more races this season.
Mighty Mac, a Biancone youngster in the same ownership as the admirable Big Mac, had appeared to be going better this season but yesterday's trial suggested otherwise and a watching brief is advised for the time being.
There was plenty of work prior to the trials with the Fownes' pair of Captive Trick and Inventor going into the notebook. Captive Trick was one of the first on to the track and he repeated some previous good work, this time in company with the consistent Lynx.
Inventor improved from run to run last season, which was his griffin year, and he is set to do so again this time round.
He's developed into a lovely looking individual and moves and uses himself well.
He didn't work any better than stablemate and first-up winner, All Thrills, yesterday but he did impress on looks and appears to have trained on from last season.
Fownes' Ablaze, who ran an encouraging fourth over an unsuitable sprint distance on his seasonal bow, completely dominated Metro Express in their workout. Ablaze went well, Metro Express didn't.
Fownes' Straight Way is another to follow judged by his work.
The David Hill-prepared Casey's Drum has come out of his reappearance second to Happy Monies looking even fitter. If anything the run has brought him on.
Smart Kid looks great after his recent Class One triumph for Alex Wong Siu-tan.
SHA TIN DIRT TRIALS First trial _ 1,050m: 1, BUMPER STORM (E. Legrix); 2, Prince Fortune (Y. S. Wong); 3, Intuition (D. Harrison). Others (in finishing order): En Rapport, Smashing Pumpkin, Lucky Afleet, Encore, Gainsborough's Boy. Time: 1:02.7 (24.6). Distances: 1 length, 3 lengths. Winner trained by Patrick Biancone.
Second trial _ 1,050m: 1, HUNTING LAD (B. Marcus); 2, Chiu Chow Boy (W. Woods); 3, Sharp Shooter (P. Payne). Other: Sunshine Dancer, Merry Maple, Coup Pour Roi, Mighty Mac. Time: 1:04.0 (24.3). Distances: 1.5 lengths, length. Winner trained by David Hayes.
Third trial _ 1,050m: 1, STRONG WIN (D. Whyte); 2, Spring Of Windsor (T. Kwok); 3, Golden Mascot (B. Marcus). Other: Fortune Partner, Devotee, Golden Prosperity, Easy Win, Golden Boy. Time: 1:04.5 (24.3). Distances: 2.5 lengths, head. Winner trained by John Moore.