Hill holds hope for Pride

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 March, 1999, 12:00am

Happy Valley specialist Kowloon Pride is head and shoulders above the field he meets in tonight's fourth event over the longer sprint at the city track, but he's never run well for an apprentice.

That's the quandary punters face when assessing the best race on tonight's programme but it may still be worth taking the chance with the David Hill-trained sprinter who must be the best there is over the longer Valley sprint.

Course and distance and on weight with a maximum allowance, Kowloon Pride simply cannot be other than a top contender for honours - but even his trainer has reservations.

Said Hill: 'It is a bit like the devil and the deep blue sea. You cannot send him round carrying 141 pounds but he has never produced a good run for an apprentice.

'In the end, I had no real option but to have a go with him and, at least this time, he is more favourably drawn which should certainly be a help. He is a horse that you cannot possibly leave out at Happy Valley.

'And he is certainly in good heart. With a bit of luck, he'll do most of it himself because he is a good, honest type of horse,' added Hill.

Maximum claimer Eric K. W. Lee has been engaged for the task and the pair will jump from barrier five.

Two starts back, Kowloon Pride and his apprentice parted company not long after the start but his many fans will be hoping for something much more positive from the sprinter tonight.

Hill also has speedster Debonair involved from barrier one but it is hard to see him running out 1,200 metres first-up after a long break. He won on the second day of the season over the short sprint at the Valley.

Debonair should blaze along from his draw and Kowloon Pride can be handy from his good draw but it must be borne in mind that racing is on the 'C+3' course which should mean a front-running bias.

Kowloon Pride showed his well-being by winning the special 1,200-metre trial at Sha Tin last Tuesday to test the track after it had been shorn.

It was a solid effort and there is no doubt that the sprinter is ready to run a tip-top race.

Given his 117 rating, it is not surprising that it is difficult to pick out a red-hot threat to Kowloon Pride and one is left to suggest horses that may not be in the peak of form.

The King Of Cloyne has been going around without overly exciting anyone but will be suited by this trip.

The Oscars, like the selection, does like the longer Valley sprint but has not been sighted since very early in the season so there must be reservations.

Supreme Goliath is suggested as the main danger, largely because he, too, seems to find course and distance to his liking. He ran only fairly over 1,200 metres last time at Sha Tin but will be better suited now.

Whytellyou had an outing in the Derby last time without ever looking like getting near the winner.

He will be better suited back in distance but how much the effort in the Classic took out of him remains to be seen.

Danswinner will be ridden by Douglas Whyte for Wong Tang-ping and they, too, shape as a major chance outside the selection.

Although he has done most of his racing at Sha Tin, Danswinner is all right at the city track although his recent efforts have left plenty to be desired.

But this is easier and re-united with Whyte, they do look a hope for the quinella or tierce.

This is tougher for Colourful Era who was narrowly touched off last time out by Red Zone but he is a horse in form.

Unfortunately, he has not drawn advantageously or there would be more confidence about his chances. However, he should be kept safe.