Dragon to scorch rivals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 October, 1998, 12:00am

Which ever way you look, it is hard to oppose Born Dragon in the sixth event on tonight's Sha Tin card which features a live simulcast of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe from France.

Born Dragon's form claims are just too strong to ignore and there is every reason to believe he is going to improve, to boot.

The Lawrie Fownes-trained galloper has only raced three times in his life, twice last season in his griffin campaign, and then when rallying determinedly to run a close fourth to Many Happy Returns down the straight 1,000-metre chute on the first day of this season. Born Dragon had already gone down as a very likely future winner prior to that fourth as he's been a good worker from the moment he set foot on the Sha Tin training tracks.

He showed very good speed on debut and then ran most encouragingly on his only other start.

He might have just needed that reappearance effort and should be suited by the move to 1,400 metres.

He's certainly bred to get this trip with ease, indeed to be better for it, and that was how he raced down the straight in a race which is working out extremely well.

Many Happy Returns has franked the form by winning since and other outright winners to come out of the race are Survey Star (third) and Speedy Dragon (sixth).

All My Love (fifth) has since been controversially awarded a race in the stewards' room in a piece of ill-conceived thinking while Patrician (second) has again filled the runner-up spot since.

It won't be that easy to find the quinella behind Born Dragon.

Preference is for one from Namjong Brothers, Bold Dancer or Bravissimo but that's not to say the likes of My Buddy, Ever Triumph or even Basketball Leader don't have quinella and tierce claims.

Top Cat was heavily backed to win after a protracted absence but beat a poor Class Five field and now has much more on his plate.

The rest of the card has a very tricky feel about it, though a combination of Kaapargen, Botany Bay, Classic Boy, Quick Commander and Regular Win should dominate the third event.

Botany Bay is marginally preferred as he has always worked as if a pretty decent sort and should strip fitter for his debut run when he suffered interference, without which he would have been closer.

Kaapargen can race well fresh and appears to have been set for a bold first-up showing by trainer Geoff Lane, who also has a big chance of winning the domestic feature race, the American Club Challenge Cup, with French Fry.

The last is a quality event with the main hopes probably Smart Kid, En Rapport, Strikers and the tough and genuine Privilege.

Smart Kid goes well fresh but he'll have to to beat En Rapport, who's had a run and should relish the 1,900-metre trip.