Marquee responds to Oughton touch
Thank God it's Friday seems to be the motto of most trainers with yet another quiet morning at trackwork yesterday.
But amongst the relative calm of the session it was no surprise to see some of David Oughton's team brighten up the day.
Oughton is one of the few mentors to give some serious work to his team at the end of the week.
And the training regime seems to be working, as after a slow start to the season, the dapper Englishman is starting to see his yard firing on all cylinders.
Oughton has developed a good relationship with retained rider Alan Munro and it is doubtful if Munro has ever ridden better, as evidenced by an intelligent ride to get Che Sara Sara home on National Day.
Yesterday it was Marquee Universal who caught the eye as he worked strongly over 1,200 metres with stablemates Flying Tiger and Perpetual Harmony.
The promising youngster is physically stronger since the summer break and has made improvement since his outstanding effort to finish second to the brilliant Fairy King Prawn first-up.
The trio didn't set any time but the impressive part of the work was the way Marquee Universal hit the line as the tempo quickened a little the last 200 metres - he looks one of the more progressive horses in training.
Perpetual Harmony has been moving along in good style since joining Oughton's stable and should run a race when first produced. The five-year-old only had six runs when in the care of Chris Cheung but three of those were wins, including an easy success last time out in the Purves Quaich back in May.
That win sees him up in Class Two but he does appear to have the ability to handle that company.
Oughton also seems to have a promising type in Holy Wine and this American-bred three-year-old is improving with racing.
He was given an easy time over 1,200 metres with American Champion but is looking fitter and should be watched closely at his next couple of outings.
Oriental Express appears to have frightened most rivals away from next Wednesday night's Happy Valley Vase. And anyone who saw his Riverside gallop with Classic Jester on Thursday would understand why.
But Supreme Goliath moved nicely in his work and could add a bit of value to exotic bets.
Meanwhile, there were two trials on the all-weather with Asian Express leading all the way to take the first and dirt specialist Abba showing his readiness for a first-up tilt by taking the second.
Others to work well were Horse Of Fame, Veloce, Easy Star and Treble Gold.
SHA TIN DIRT TRIALS First trial _ 1,150m: 1, ASIAN EXPRESS (E. Saint-Martin); 2, Beijing Star (W. S. Yu); 3, Super Competitor (W. M. Lai). Others (in finishing order): Wind Chaser, Top Practitioner, Fred, China Game, Ever So Easy. Time: 1:08.9 (25.2). Distances: 1.25 lengths, neck. Winner trained by Tony Cruz.
Second trial _ 1,150m: 1, ABBA (G. Boss); 2, High Sky (S. King); 3, Little Plaything (B. Doyle). Others: Transcendental, Mabrouk, Brilliant Star, Fay Fay. Time: 1:09.3 (25.2). Distances: 1 length, .5 length. Winner trained by John Moore.