Rainbow pointing the way to a bright future

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2000, 12:00am

Rainbow Seeker continues to work as fluently as ever and is well worth following when next seen out.

The Alex Wong Siu-tan-trained veteran yesterday came through his 1,200-metre hitout in a solid one minute and 23.7 seconds under his riding boy, picking up nicely over the final 400 metres.

He had appeared to improve markedly in his work prior to his last-start second to Luck And Fortune over 1,800 metres on the Sha Tin dirt, and staying events on the artificial surface appear to be his forte these days. He can handle the grass but is probably better on the dirt, unless he encounters a wet grass track.

As they were loading for the Luck And Fortune race, it was interesting to listen to the Jockey Club's English language presenters debate how on earth Rainbow Seeker had once managed to win a 1,200-metre sprint given his confirmed staying qualities these days. Indeed it is extraordinary, but it just goes to show how horses can change as they get older, not just in distance but also in going preferences.

For the record, that 1,200-metre success came at the Valley in December 1996 on an officially good track but one which was actually taking the kind of print Rainbow Seeker likes to make when racing on the turf. One of the purchases from the inaugural Select Sale (topped by Saint Tak of all things) which has now become the International Sale, Rainbow Seeker came through late to beat the 5-2 on favourite Rising Glory at the delightful odds of 23-1, this despite being a last-start winner.

In all, Rainbow Seeker won three races that season for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fie and the way he's working with all his customary bounce, he can keep winning races for Wong Siu-tan.

Next Wednesday's 1,800-metre Class Four contest is one of the three International Jockeys' races. Romantic Venture appears to have been set specifically for it by trainer Geoff Lane and shaped well again yesterday morning. The chances of Sound Gallop and Handsome Man could also be worth respecting. Sound Gallop went strongly yesterday under Alex K.S. Yu, clocking a useful 1:18.6 for his 1,200 metres, while the more freegoing Handsome Man registered a similar time. He comes into the contest off the back of a much better run than it looked at the Valley last time when closing well despite being trapped off the track the whole way behind Hail Winner.

In the morning's only trial, International hope Billion Win held the talented Cream by a short head, the pair clear of the others as they should have been at the relative ratings. Cream has had plenty of training problems and needs to be able to work solidly and consistently for some time.