Bend offers a Prime chance

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 January, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 January, 2001, 12:00am

Prime Witness is likely to find it tougher than when he last drove his rivals round the bend, but he still looks the form solution to this afternoon's traditional feature event, the Chinese Club Challenge Cup.

The David Hayes-trained four-year-old scored in a sizzling 1:08.4 when donkey-licking his rivals in his last race round today's 1,200-metre Sha Tin trip. On that occasion he beat Whytellyou by 3.5 lengths without Shane Dye even having to think about getting serious on him.

The third home, Triple Expresso, has to some extent franked the form by winning since, though he was ridden forward from a bad draw against Prime Witness in a race where there wasn't going to be much speed on. His win came when ridden back.

Red Zone, who ran fifth, has come out and done well, too, with two highly creditable seconds.

This afternoon Prime Witness can still get across and lead as the likes of Danzighill and Expedient almost certainly don't have the same early speed. This could be the key to the race. If Prime Witness can get to the front, he's going to be extremely hard to run down.

Connections have always had the highest faith in Prime Witness. His racing-mad owner Archie Da Silva, one of the sport's most popular and colourful enthusiasts, has always maintained his good-looking gelding would get to the top of the sprinting ranks. If you don't know Archie, just listen out for him. His will be the voice above all others come the last 200 metres.

It could still pay to give Expedient another chance. He blew it in the barriers last time. That is a worry as he blew it likewise first time out this season. But he's trialled enormously well since.

Whytellyou looks a million dollars right now and is working the track down. He's worth including in the quinella and tierce, having run second to Prime Witness round that bend and now being 16 pounds better off for 3.5 lengths, though the margin probably could have been five lengths and Prime Witness has handled the rise in the ratings since.

Plenty-Plenty and Crystal Charm both beat home Prime Witness in the Hong Kong Sprint but that was at set weights down the straight.

Graphic: S1200glo