The Best Winner kicks off Hutchison's New Year celebrations

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 January, 1998, 12:00am

Trainer Bruce Hutchison's excellent recent run continued at Sha Tin yesterday when he greeted the Year of the Tiger with an excellent victory in the eighth event.

The Best Winner (6-1) relished his return to the turf after an ordinary outing last time on the dirt and accounted for very smart first-up performer Sweetheart (7-1) in the Classes One and Two, 1,400-metre event that turned out to be one of the most interesting races on the holiday programme.

Steven King, whose fortunes have also taken a decided turn for the better, had been impressed with The Best Winner before the event - and decidedly more so later. 'His first run was very good and you simply can't hold anything against a horse who doesn't do much on the all-weather,' said King.

'I had been very pleased with the way he had been working and I was very sure he would give an account of himself. He ran well and he had certainly benefited from the earlier runs. I don't know where he's going from here but Bruce should have a couple of nice options with him.' Sweetheart was at an attractive price for a horse who has been working the place down for some time and he did run most encouragingly, suggesting that Derek Cruz has yet another decent one to work with in the future.

Fitness was scarcely a factor as he has been in work for some time and trialled well, but the classy New Zealand import will surely benefit from this and is a coming winner.

Punters were on target in the fifth event when Colourful Era (9-5 favourite) handled the rise into Class Three with a victory over the Brian Kan Ping-chee-trained Hornet.