Stay with Drifting Away

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 January, 1999, 12:00am

Trainer Alex Wong Yu-on is enjoying a mid-season winning streak which can continue courtesy of out-and-out stayer Drifting Away in the final event at Happy Valley tonight.

Wong, who gets his share of winners and usually a good horse every couple of years, is not one to hog the limelight but could be back in the headlines after this Classes One and Two event over 2,200 metres.

He enjoyed a tasty double at Sha Tin 10 days ago and turns to Douglas Whyte, who partnered Universal Boss and Forest Spring that day, for the riding duties on Drifting Away a horse with whom the South African is well acquainted.

This season Drifting Away has been partnered by Ricky C. W. Choi, who is no longer involved in racing, and the switch to Whyte is most certainly a major plus.

So, too, is the return to 2,200 metres - and Drifting Away will not be bothered about the city track where he has scored before.

The run that matters most when assessing tonight's 11-runner contest was the St Andrew's Challenge Quaich won by Monza from shock performer, Team Honour.

Drifting Away finished seventh but was under four lengths from the winner who is a cut above what he faces tonight.

After those exertions, Drifting Away returned to Happy Valley where he was sent over an unsuitable 1,650 metres. He was not disgraced, easily doing his best work at the line and finishing just over five lengths from handy winner Winning Scene.

As a genuine stayer Drifting Away will appreciate a good pace in this contest and it should be supplied by either topweight Fat Choy Together or Inventor.

The selection is drawn against the rails but Whyte looks sure to be able to settle him closer to the pace than midfield and take it from there.

On his best form, Drifting Away is easily good enough to win this and recent indications are that he is very much on the right track.

Fat Choy Together's most recent runs have had nothing much to recommend involvement but it could be different now that he is back to Happy Valley and with a good barrier draw over a distance that suits.

If David Harrison can get him to the front from his inside draw and dictate terms, the Brian Kan Ping-chee stayer is not without hope.

Legitimate is another proven stayer who comes into this off the back of a last-start win over 1,800 metres at the city track and the extra distance is not against him.

If trainer David Oughton has kept him to the mark, then Legitimate must be a definite chance and certainly one for quinella and tierce tickets.

Gaylord, who moved from Oughton to John Moore after winning on the dirt at Sha Tin, can also press reasonable claims and finished a solid second at Sha Tin last time out over 1,800 metres. He, too, has a liking for the Valley and Moore has engaged champion jockey Basil Marcus. They could easily give a sight.

Deauville is not the horse he once was and is best opposed while Inventor is bang in form and not hopeless although the trip may be a bit of a test for both horse and now seven-pound claimer, Henry K. C. Tsang.

Wasabi is as game as they come and did a few people a turn by winning last time but this is very much unchartered territory for the son of Twilight Agenda. There has to be doubts about the trip.

Sound Gallop should find this a shade tough while Celestial Fortune could also be looking for something easier.

Super Goal and Mr Brinker are not hopeless but can be opposed.