The Oscars is star quality

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 1998, 12:00am

The Oscars makes a final return to Happy Valley this season and on his favourite track can capture the fifth event on the final night meeting of the campaign.

The Oscars is a different horse at the city track and loves scampering round those bends and delivering a frequently telling final assault over the last 150 metres.

For whatever reason, the Gary Ng Ting-keung stable star has never been the same threat to a sprint event at Sha Tin where his placings are few.

But Happy Valley is different - every time the Australian-bred speedster steps out in a suitable race he is a potent threat.

Trainer Ng had a disastrous season until a couple of months ago but he then turned the corner in fairly dramatic fashion and can end it on a bright note here - particularly with the astute move to engage South African ace Felix Coetzee for the ride in this high-grade longer sprint.

The last time The Oscars was at the Valley he finished third to Kowloon Pride - top form given that horse's overall record this season - with the quinella spot going to Supreme Goliath.

Forget his last two runs at Sha Tin and be prepared to take The Oscars as a banker in quinella and tierce bets.

Although his Valley form is cast iron and obviously fully exposed, there is still a chance in what is a quality field that he will start at decent win odds.

Coetzee has drawn well in barrier two with Douglas Whyte on Engineman on his inside.

Ironically, it would seem that Engineman, no slouch when he's right, seems to reserve his best performances for Sha Tin. He has not run up to anything like his best form at the Valley in the past but he has drawn extremely well although, if Debonair shows his speed of earlier years, the David Hill sprinter could show them a clean pair of heels for some time.

Coetzee will be able to lay off what should be a very strong early pace and The Oscars has shown many times in the past that he can rattle home to take issue when it really matters.

Topweight Fastest Star has had a long season and there must be the feeling that this is just one too many.

He will be ridden by inexperienced claimer Eric K. W. Lee and they certainly enjoyed no success the last time they took their place here in the race won by Kowloon Pride.

There were reports that Fastest Star was not quite himself that night but his subsequent efforts have been nothing to enthuse over and this late return to Happy Valley smacks of a last-gasp effort with little to lose.

It does not pay to discount the chances of any David Hayes' horses these days and Dance Control has good form at the trip although this is going to be harder than anything he has faced to date.

The Australian import does not look a real winning chance but those with a tierce bet in mind could do a lot worse.

In the desperate battle for the championship, Ivan Allan has also thrown in Regal Ridge who, on his better form, is certainly not the worst.

He ran two good races at the Valley early on this campaign and his overall form at the city track does merit respect.

Robbie Fradd takes the ride and he may actually end up being the better chance of the two Allan-trained runners.

Polar Star has been beset by too many injury problems to be worth a bet and recent efforts have not impressed while Aipoder, the Hayes second string with claimer Peter Y. S. Wong up, has a lot more on his plate this time.

Two other modest chances in the race could be Express Duke, who is not well drawn, and Grandstand, who has no aversion to the Valley and was the only galloper engaged tonight who saw the work track yesterday.

Bottomweight Happy Forever has turned into a real winner for the Brian Kan Ping-chee stable and girl claimer Willy W. Y. Kan is aboard tonight.

This is harder and Sha Tin has been the happy hunting ground in the past, but stranger things have happened.