Fortune makes strides on path to greatness
Of all the horses in training there may be one or two working as well as Fortune Maker but it is hard to think of any working better.
The son of Mi Preferido arrived from New Zealand with a big reputation and may only now be starting to fulfil his potential.
He opened this season with a win down Sha Tin's 1,000-metre chute that was accomplished with rare ease.
Rarely do you see one in Hong Kong swinging off the bridle from trap to line. Maybe in a griffin race, or maybe one of Ivan Allan and David Hayes' future Class One youngsters in Class Three or Class Four, and occasionally one of Patrick Biancone's used to win in Rolls-Royce fashion.
Biancone's Derby winner Helene Star was like that in his second season and of course the great River Verdon went from Class Four to Derby glory in this manner.
Fortune Maker probably isn't going to be a top-of-Class-One horse. He's too exposed for that.
But as Mark Richards says on television twice a week, you can only say how it is from the paddock.
And saying it as it is from trackwork, trainer Derek Cruz has Fortune Maker absolutely flying.
He's worked and trialled enormously since his win and yesterday he came through a scintillating 1,200 metres in 1:11.9, under Cruz himself.
That is the fastest 1,200 metres recorded this season and basically as fast as they ever go in trackwork.
There were plenty of other potential winners on view at Sha Tin yesterday morning.
The Alex Wong Yu-on-trained Scotia put in a huge run first up over an inadequate 1,000 metres at Happy Valley under Carol Yu.
The demon Douglas Whyte was on board yesterday morning as Scotia picked up to clock an eye-catching last quarter in 21.1. That is quick.
Scotia is a lovely individual, full of quality and should be winning sooner rather than later.
Whyte is sure to mount a serious challenge to Robbie Fradd in this season's race for riding honours. He appears to have another winner waiting in the wings in David Oughton's Thank Heavens.
The English import was desperately unlucky not to win last time out when blocked for a run for most of the length of the home straight behind Winning Boy and New Trumps.
Yesterday's 1,200-metre hitout in 1:24.3s augurs well for when he's next seen out.
Dragon Power was beaten at short odds at Happy Valley last time but that was due to a profound bias to those on the inside and/or racing on the pace.
Yesterday the Hayes-trained gelding confirmed his well being with a sharp last 400 metres in 23.3 for an overall 1,200 metres in 1:22.4 under his riding boy. Keep on the right side of this one.
The in-form Lawrie Fownes stable took the two all-weather trials.
Taurus won the first in a better time than Millennium Magic took the second but then the latter had less to beat.
Millennium Magic, a good second on his reappearance to Fortune Maker, despite hanging, is worth another chance.
He disappointed after that second but could well have fallen victim to the 'second-up syndrome'.