Commander hints at more in store

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 April, 1999, 12:00am

Luckless Derby runner-up Commander Charlie showed he was maintaining his good condition with a solid piece of work on the Sha Tin all-weather surface yesterday morning.

Accompanied by stablemate Braveheart, Commander Charlie looked right at his top as he matched strides with his lower-rated companion over 1,200 metres.

The pair ambled through the first 800 metres before quickening up the last quarter and although there was little between them at the end of the gallop, there was no doubt Commander Charlie had plenty in reserve.

The four-year-old has been a good money spinner for connections, but has only been able to win one race in two seasons of racing.

However, he is still attractively rated on his performances and potential and a big-race win is not beyond him before season's end.

Saafend Rock had plenty of support on debut at Happy Valley recently but a slow getaway put paid to his chances.

To finish within five lengths of winner Grassland Star was a good effort in the circumstances and his work yesterday indicated he had benefited from the experience no end.

Trainer Peter Ng Bik-kuen sent him over a telling 1,200-metre gallop alongside Born To Win with the pair putting the sectionals behind them in fairly even times. It was a serious piece of work and Saafend Rock responded stylishly to Robbie Fradd's urgings.

Fradd rode the three-year-old first-up and his continued presence on the youngster's back is a tip in itself as the South African mounts a serious late challenge for the rider's title.

Gold Winner has only had two local starts and dropped out tamely both times after showing good speed.

However, he has trialled three times since his last run and the three-year-old is starting to come to himself in his work.

Douglas Whyte has been on him in those trails and he again had the seat as he worked with Proud Of You over a relaxed 1,200 metres.

Gold Winner had some impressive two-year-old form in Australia before arriving in Hong Kong and he should be kept in mind when he is next produced - he is just the type to take running down over 1,400 metres if he is allowed to dictate terms in front.

Two mediocre trials were held on the dirt track with Terrific Typhoon running on from the back to take the first from a quietly ridden Desert Fox while Rising Glory cleared out to take the second heat from Bruin Supreme and Grand Vefour.

Others to work well were Mughal Palace, New Asians, Midas King and Iron Tycoon.