Exciting Firewheel shows lots of spark
Rookie handler Danny Shum Chap-shin could be the trainer to follow in the final weeks of the season judging by the way a couple of his unexposed gallopers performed in turf trials at Sha Tin yesterday, one of those being Firewheel (rated 85) who won the fourth heat.
The New Zealand import, a son of Entrepreneur, won two of four starts before arriving and has clearly taken no time to settle in.
He travelled strongly all the way for Glyn Schofield, who could have stretched the field if he had been prepared to give the gelding more rein.
Derek Cruz's Super Winner took a little coaxing from Olivier Doleuze in the final 300 metres but found the line with a good deal of purpose. He was convincingly beaten (173/4 lengths) on debut in February but has improved a significant margin since then.
Cruz had the winner of the third heat with Mangrove, a $1.3 million purchase at the International Sale in December. Six griffins competed in the trial and he was by far the best of them on this piece of work. He clocked 48.5 seconds for the 800 metres heat and scored by a decisive margin without being pressured at any stage.
Shum and Schofield teamed up to win the fifth heat with another International Sale graduate in Steps Ahead. The son of Night Shift, who was bought for $1.5 million, has undoubtedly come on in leaps and bounds since his turf trial earlier this month. He looks fitter now and looks ready to prove competitive in the griffin ranks when he steps out for the first time.
Back in third was Tony Cruz-trained Dreams Come True, who showed good early speed and obviously has some potential. The son of Marju is in the early stages of his preparation but he has shown above average ability and is one to keep a closer watch on.
Tony Cruz also had the runner-up in the sixth heat with Lucky Danske (rated 52), who looks to be loaded with potential. He confirmed some promise shown in a riverside gallop last week by jumping straight to the lead in the qualifying trial and travelling well througout with being tested at any stage by Felix Coetzee. He is a nice prospect.
Douglas Whyte's mount Fortune Warrior won the trial but was inclined to hang in when asked for an effort in the final furlong. He was doing his best work on the line but had to be vigorously ridden to snatch victory. He is another that is open to substantial improvement.
Caspar Fownes recently acquired Visorhill (rated 117) who won the opening heat of the morning on the all-weather track. Given his rating it was no surprise to see him win but he looks fit and well and it was a positive piece of work.
Whyte never moved a muscle aboard last-start winner Swiss Lad, who finished third and continues to display plenty of zest.
Another Fownes acquisition, Native Language, also caught the eye when finishing second in the second dirt trial. He stretched out well in the final 400 metres after turning into the straight well back in the field. He looks in good order and his recent work has been sound.
Ones To Note: Firewheel, Mangrove, Lucky Danske