Champ poised to come out fighting
Champion trainer Ivan Allan looks well worth following in the coming meetings given the way his horses have been racing and working of late.
At Sha Tin yesterday a number of them impressed out on the main work track prior to five trials down the straight 1,000-metre chute.
Allan's Vantage Point led the way. He was not asked for a serious effort at all as he cantered up the home straight in company with Coach Maniac but he still left the distinct impression that he will be ready to explode from the barriers when next seen out.
Last time he showed much-improved form to win eased down at Happy Valley and that experience appears to have brought him along considerably.
A feature of Allan's training, perhaps the main one as far as finding winners is concerned, is how he allows his youngsters to find their feet via racecourse experience rather than hard galloping in the mornings.
This appears to be the case with Vantage Point for not only did he look much improved physically, he now looks much more mature from a mental standpoint.
Coach Maniac, who ran such a good race at the ratings in the St Andrew's Challenge Quaich, seemed on excellent terms with himself too. A staying event is surely around the corner for him.
Holy Grail is clearly one of Allan's very best youngsters, if not the best.
He was out and about yesterday morning and the way he looks he is going to be very hard to beat when next greeting the starter.
Then there was City Warrior who finished all over the top of them to score last time, having been unlucky in running the time before.
He's much more together, again both mentally and physically, for his racecourse experiences this season and can win again.
He tracked Lucky Partners in his work yesterday and was not asked to keep up when Lucky Partners was ridden clear in the last 100 metres.
Bold Dancer is another of Allan's to watch out for.
He looked good as he breezed home with the lazy Swifty-Swifty.
David Oughton's team has generally been performing well of late. A-Strength and Espresso can continue this trend.
A-Strength still seemed green last time before staying on in the closing stages and probably needs a mile plus.
Yesterday he galloped strongly to the line and is beginning to trim down and wise up.
Espresso is much improved this campaign and moved sweetly with Oughton's Class Six winner, Kick The Habit.
Allan also appears to have found leading owner and Jockey Club steward, Larry Yung Chi-kin, a decent private purchase griffin in Starlite Express.
He went promisingly in the first of the five trials in which Chris Cheung's newcomer Flags Up went with some hope as did Andy Leung's Colourful Era.
David Hill's Woodside Park confirmed his recent runaway Class Five win with a super effort on the bit in the second trial in which Tony Cruz's newcomer, Lion's Share, went like an almost certain future winner. John Moore's Rare went well, too.
The third heat saw a seemingly top effort from Derek Cruz's Solid Contact, however, he may have been going a bit too keenly in blinkers. Others to note from this trial were Hill's Sheer Madness and Moore's Rusty Babe.
Tony Cruz's Primo went well in the fourth and is one to follow.
SHA TIN DIRT TRIALS First trial _ 1,050m: 1, CHIU CHOW BOY (W. Woods); 2, Colourful Era (J. Weaver); 3, Evasive Tactic (K. H. Ting). Others: Straight Express, Flags Up, Grand Slam, Spectacular Champ, Big Thrills, Lord James, Nanning Treasure, Shanghai Fortune, Top Spy, Winner's Special. Time: 1:00.2 (23.6). Distances: 1 length, length. Winner trained by Lawrie Fownes.
Second trial _ 1,050m: 1, MY SYMPHONY (R. Fradd); 2, Lion's Share (P. H. Tse); 3, American Eagle (C. F. Chan). Others: Pakistan Hero, Woodside Park, Always Cheerful, Mission Sealed, Rare, Heart To Heart, Treasure Island, Winning Stride, Charming Success. Applause For Me. Time: 1:00.4 (23.6). Distances: short head, 1.5 lengths. Winner trained by Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
Third trial _ 1,050m: 1, SHEER MADNESS (P. Payne); 2, Solid Contact (B. Marcus); 3, Floral Regent (J. Murtagh). Others: Ellen's Won, King Red Wine, Triumphant Smile, Lynx, Rusty Babe, Somluck, Echo Bay, Guts, The Rich Man. Time: 0:59.8 (24.6). Distances: length, neck. Winner trained by David Hill.
Fourth trial _ 1,050m: 1, FIT FOR ROYALTY (P. Payne); 2, Universal Winner (W. Woods); 3, Good Putt (K. H. Yu). Others: Piece Of Cake, Determinater, Primo, Mississippi Blues, De Integro, SAR Tourism, Wining Record, Winning Pet, K-Tack, Highland Laddie, Shadow Speed. Time: 1:01.1 (24.1). Distances: 1.5 lengths, neck. Winner trained by David Hill.
Fifth trial _ 1,050m: 1, FULL THROTTLE (R. Fradd); 2, Rising Glory (K. M. Chin); 3, Perfect Combo (K. M. So). Others: My Friends Say, Lord Of Warriors, Majulah Superstar, Expertise, Crystal Clear, Wisdom, Golden Bullet, Lucky Luck, Par Excellence, Golden Choice. Time: 1:00.6 (23.7). Distances: lengths, short head. Winner trained by Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.