Barrier rogue behaves
Classy four-year-old Northern Gold Ball passed his latest barrier trial with flying colours yesterday on the Sha Tin all-weather. Jockey Tony Culhane, who has worked with trainer Wong Tang-ping to overcome Northern Gold Ball's aversion to the starting gates, gave the galloper full marks yesterday morning. 'That's the best he's been, touch wood,' Culhane said. 'We've just done a few little things differently on him and the horse has responded.'
Northern Gold Ball was perilously close to a compulsory retirement late last season but the stewards gave him a final chance and yesterday's effort was step one on the trail.
Culhane could find no fault with yesterday's performance. 'I mean, he was fine in the stalls, got away fine and then he trialled very nicely on top of that, which was a bonus,' he said.
First trial - 1,050m (dirt): 1, BORN TO WIN (J. Egan); 2, Capital Star (S. King); 3, Good Friends (E. Legrix). Others (in finishing order): Caracoler, Projectstar, Frame's People, Desert Storm, Billion Win, Cyber Gulch, My Friends Say. Time: 1:01.9 (23.8). Distances: 3 lengths, 1 length. Winner trained by Peter Ng Bik-kuen.
Second trial - 1,050m (dirt): 1, BY INSTINCT (F. Coetzee); 2, Grandstand (W. S. Yu); 3, Applied Supreme (E. Legrix). Others: Holy Ranto, Golden Warrior, New Dynasty, Unconditional Love, Smart Money, Gold Flask, Trusty Steed. Time: 1.02.0 (23.8). Distances: Head, .5 length. Winner trained by Gary Ng Ting-keung.
Third trial - 1,050m (dirt): 1, LOOK WHO'S ANGEL (S. K. Sit); 2, Kingston Treasure (D. Whyte); 3, Well Express (A. Marcus). Others: Northern Gold Ball, Top Quality, Good News, Projectvision, Top Light, Manor Star, The Rich Man. Time: 1.02.8 (24.2). Distances: .5 length, 1 length. Winner trained by Francis Lui Kin-wai.