'He really seems to enjoy it and his breeding is all for speed'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 12:00am

Romantic Symphony can take his straight-course sprint to a higher level by lifting this afternoon's feature event, the Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup.

The Tony Millard-trained four-year-old has repeatedly shown his liking for the Sha Tin 1,000-metre chute. He landed an old-fashioned gamble for connections when making a winning debut midway through last season and, after some further consistent efforts last campaign, he returned for a bloodless first-up success when pulling three lengths clear of The Most Dauntless and Handbag's Honour.

That victory came in a run-of-the-mill Class Three contest. This afternoon's feature event will be far more indicative of the quality of animal with which Millard has to work this season.

Yesterday the Derby-winning South African trainer said: 'He's come back a bigger and stronger horse this season. You can see his physique is much improved and his race form is getting better all the time.

'But I've decided to keep him to racing down the straight as that is where he's shown his best form. He really seems to enjoy it and his breeding is all for speed.'

Millard then added: 'This is a step up for him. I think he is improving all the time but this will tell us how high we might be able to go with him. But before we start thinking about that we do have to get over this hurdle.'

It is worth noting that Romantic Symphony recorded an extremely strong Topspeed figure when trouncing The Most Dauntless last time. A figure which supports Millard's assessment that he's progressing all the time. It is also a figure which suggests he can win his way through Class Two.

There are plenty who could be queuing up to run the quinella behind him.

Looking down the card, Handbag Dragon likes the straight and has improved for his two runs back this season.

David Hayes seems to have Celestial Chief going nicely for his reappearance. He has to be respected, especially with the brilliant Shane Dye on top.

Last time out Dye rode the Ivan Allan-trained Success Magic who found himself trapped off the track in a Happy Valley sprint before going firmly into the notebook in the home straight. Champion jockey Robbie Fradd is now on top and Success Magic, who had previously run Asia Rising to a neck down the Sha Tin straight, must enter all quinella calculations.

No Money No Honey also had no luck when trapped wide from a bad draw last time having previously run well in the Asia Rising, Success Magic event. He's not out of this. Nor is Supreme Goliath who will strip fitter for his first-up effort and is now on a decent mark, one which is further enhanced by the booking of the 10-pound claimer M. W. Leung.

Those looking for the quinella with Romantic Symphony may well want to stick with this batch of Celestial Chief, Success Magic, No Money No Honey and Supreme Goliath as they are all drawn together out wide and should help each other along. They are preferred to the rails trio of Handbag Dragon, Bullish and Kimber.

Graphic: s1000glo