Red-letter day for Hutchison camp
Veteran mentor Bruce Hutchison gained a lifeline last week when the Licensing Committee accepted his submissions and granted him a training licence for next season.
And trackwork at Sha Tin yesterday morning suggested that Hutchison will be taking big steps to vindicate the decision at Wednesday night's Happy Valley meeting.
His Red Zone looks certain to be one of the favoured runners in the night's feature, Indian Recreation Club Challenge Cup, and he looked primed for a big effort as he dashed the last quarter of an 800-metre gallop in impressive style.
The Irish-bred five-year-old was a certainty beaten last time out when finishing fourth to Grassland Star over 1,000 metres and the step up to 1,200 metres should be ideal.
Red Zone has done nothing but improve in recent weeks and Hutchison has him going better than at any stage this season.
Brilliant Leader is not one of the better workers at any time as he goes about his work with a distinctive shuffle.
But the promising son of Danehill looked on good terms with himself as he went over 1,200 metres with Antonhill Boom.
Douglas Whyte was on board the gelding and Brilliant Leader looks very hard to beat if he accepts in the 1,800-metre Delhi Handicap.
Hutchison has not pushed the three-year-old this season and his patient approach is starting to pay dividends as Brilliant Leader looks certain to reach his best next term.
Antonhill Boom is another entry for the meeting and he gives the stable bright prospects of training a treble.
The youngster has not had a lot of luck in a couple of races this term, but his work was very good and expect him to be right in the finish of his race.
The Derek Cruz-trained Skase Race is set to make a reappearance in the Class One Bangalore Handicap and although not out to make any time, he looked quite forward as he ambled up the straight.
He won a couple of races early last season and doesn't carry a lot of condition - he could easily play a part in what does not look to be a hard contest to win.
Eric Legrix caused a few raised eyebrows with his decision to ride Whytellyou in next week's Chairmans' Prize at the expense of likely favourite Best Of The Best.
But the four-year-old looks sure to be one of the main chances and his work for the French ace was excellent.
He wasn't out to stop the clocks but stretched out fluently over the last 200 metres of his gallop.
Only time will tell if Legrix has made the right choice but there is no better man at getting a horse right on the day than Patrick Biancone.
Others to work well were Royal Performance, Chiu Shan Glory, Alexandra Palace and Express Lot.