Hill eyes Supreme glory
Trainer David Hill can pick up his second trophy in five days on the final day of the racing season at Sha Tin this afternoon but this time it will be a case of winning it on the track and on the day.
Hill and the owners of Kowloon Pride landed the L'Or de Martell Cup on Wednesday morning when the race was taken off disqualified Whytellyou who was positive to a prohibited substance after the Valley race.
It meant three in a row in the trophy race for the Valley-loving Kowloon Pride.
Today the silverware comes from the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners' Association and topweight Supreme Bases is Hill's big hope of ending the season on a high note.
Supreme Bases is coming back in distance from the 2,400 metres of the Queen Mother's Cup but, like many horses from the stable, he has not been knocked about and can take this season-ender in his stride.
He was over this trip two starts back with champion jockey Basil Marcus aboard and finished 3.75 lengths from Hunting Lad in a Class One event. Supreme Bases was probably rather farther out of his ground in the early stages than was desirable and came home quite well.
Hill has opted for claimer Howard Y. T. Cheng today and it gives the Irish stayer a reasonable racing weight.
Said Hill: 'I don't really think I had much of an option. I would not want to send a horse out with 138 pounds on its back when it is possible to use a claimer.
'The lad has ridden a couple for me and he is quite all right. Supreme Bases is not a tricky horse to ride but you do have to get the timing right with him.
'He is in good heart and came out of the Queen Mother's Cup well, otherwise I would not have run him. It is not an afterthought but a run depended on how he pulled up after the mile and a half race.' Supreme Bases is just a little short of top class but he is a useful stayer in the right race and is going to be a bit fresher than some of those he is up against.
He certainly looks prime each-way material.
Schubert tackles the trophy race for champion trainer David Hayes and Marcus who, by the time the ninth event rolls around, will both have been officially confirmed and crowned.
The blinkers have come off Schubert but the main query is how well he runs out a strong 1,800 metres. He has failed over the distance before but is by no means a write-off. He is out of a Bluebird mare and his progeny can usually get a mile.
Win For Lily was desperately unlucky last time when Douglas Whyte's saddle slipped and horse and rider did remarkably well to finish third to Ho Ho in the Queen Mother's Cup and on that form he clearly has the measure of Supreme Bases.
But the major difference is the trip and Win For Lily is undoubtedly better off over longer than today's distance.
Rugby Supreme should also be up for one last crack at the money this season and is a good ride for Robbie Fradd in the absence, on business in Tokyo, of Eric Saint-Martin.
He has been sparingly raced and returns to Sha Tin after two outings at the Valley, one of which was particularly successful.