Keep Legitimate on side

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 April, 1998, 12:00am

Consistent Legitimate should be at a backable price in the ninth event at Sha Tin today and he has the qualities required to win this test of stamina.

Only 10 face the starter for the distance event on today's marathon card but there are more than a couple of chances in this 2,200-metre event for Classes One and Two.

It would be difficult to put the pen right through any single contestant which suggests there will be good odds available although combination quinella betting may well be the best way to snare a meaty dividend.

Legitimate would have lost few admirers last time out when finishing just two lengths away in another hot little contest at the Valley.

On that occasion the kudos went to city track specialist Pinky Long Legs, but Legitimate's run under Douglas Whyte was good.

Very much in favour of the David Oughton-trained stayer today will be the step up in distance to 2,200 metres after the Valley outing over 1,800 metres.

The added ground makes it that bit easier for Legitimate who, by Hong Kong terms, is a genuine stayer.

It will be interesting to see the riding tactics employed as Legitimate does like to bowl along in front if he can gain an easy lead.

But that will not be straightforward as Fat Choy Together, who is drawn outside the selection, will certainly want to get his way in front.

It could work well for French jockey Eric Saint-Martin as he can take an easy sit off the pace and from barrier four he will not have to worry about being carted wide.

On form, Legitimate looks capable of winning this and he is going into it a fitter horse than at any time this season. He should jump at odds of around 6-1 and is worth an each-way wager while betting him through quinellas, too.

Fat Choy Together is reunited with Felix Coetzee after an abortive outing last time under female claimer Willie W. Y. Kan and the front-running tactics required will be admirably produced by the South African.

Forget the last run and Fat Choy Together must come into the reckoning for this event and it would be risky to oppose him.

Conversely, it may be worth taking a stand against topweight Citadeed who does not win that many races. He has been racing over much shorter trips and steps up dramatically this time from his last outing over the longer sprint.

He will also be burdened with 137 pounds and is not going to find it any easier from barrier 10. Although leading jockey Eric Legrix can be guaranteed to give him a top ride, Citadeed can be opposed.

China Cruise put in a good run last time over a mile and he also moves up the distance scale dramatically for this contest.

He has been a great servant to the Lawrie Fownes stable but, when it comes to the crunch, he may be another to take the chance with.

Having almost a second to none chance in the race is Drifting Away who ran a cracker of a race last time out under an apprentice and this time has the attentions of leading rider Whyte.

It is a potent combination particularly as Drifting Away rarely puts in a bad run and now gets a distance that is ideal for him.

He looks to be in tip-top shape and the Tony Cruz stable is bang in form at the moment.

Golden Duke has been in decent form but his best efforts have been over slightly shorter than this trip although that does not rule him out of contention.

Regular rider Jimmy K. H. Ting is aboard and he might sneak Golden Duke into that vital third spot for the tierce.

This is harder for Celestial Fortune but the horse is undeniably in form and champion jockey Basil Marcus is hunting back-to-back wins. It will not be easy but the distance will suit.

Master Magic does not make much appeal despite recent fine efforts on grass and dirt, albeit over shorter trips. This is unknown territory and he is striking a decent field.

All Good's best runs are when fresh and Super Goal should be found wanting at this trip with claimer Kan aboard.