In-form Fownes has feature in his grasp

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 12:00am

Sophomore trainer Caspar Fownes couldn't have wished for a better start to the season, having won two features in the opening two meetings and the young trainer has a top chance to make it three from three with Visorhill in the Kwangtung Handicap Cup over 1,400 metres.

Fownes will be hoping history can repeat for Visorhill who won this event last year when trained by Ivan Allan, on a good-to-yielding track.

And given the inclement weather over the last few days there's every chance the track will be on the forgiving side again today, which suits Visorhill right down to the ground.

Like many from the Fownes yard, Visorhill has impressed in his work, following a solid preparation. His trial win for Patrick Payne last month indicated he is primed to run well on his seasonal reappearance.

There are a few serious dangers and Golconda, who finished third to Visorhill in this event last year has to be among them.

Former trainer Ivan Allan turned around his form by winning a race on his final start last term. He meets Visorhill 13 pounds better this season and, in theory, could turn the tables.

His recent all-weather trial was a sound piece of work but the main concern will be how much pressure is applied by Wyndam Easy in the lead.

David Hayes-trained Wyndam Easy may well make the race a true test of stamina - that would certainly help the cause of stablemate Elegant Fashion, but it won't do Visorhill any harm either, as he's won up to 1,800 metres.

However, the Cox Plate-bound mare is a long way from hitting her peak but she has quality on her side.

She has only missed the frame twice from 15 local starts and while she is conceding weight all round, it is hard to rule her out of figuring in the finish again.

In-form trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing enters Self Flit, who must be considered a leading chance. He has recorded three wins from six starts over the course-and-distance and only missed the frame once.

He has won first-up in the past and his all- weather trial indicated he is primed to run well.

John Size has a quartet of entries - Grand Delight, Palette Natural, Wintrow and Wealthy Treasure. The former indicated he is coming back to his best when fourth to The Duke last weekend in the HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup.

He loomed as a real threat at the furlong before his condition gave out. He is open to improvement and must be kept safe.

Consistent performer Palette Natural finished sixth in the same event and will relish the step up in trip. Douglas Whyte has stuck with him and although he rarely wins, he is a solid chance to hit the frame.

Wintrow, resuming after a bleeding attack, leaves the impression he will find a few too good in this event and naturally has not been put under too much pressure at this early stage of his comeback.

But Size could have another decent chance with Wealthy Treasure, but only if the track becomes rain affected. He excels in such conditions and is competitively weighted.

Meridian Star has been a great money spinner for connections but the seven-time winner over 1,400 metres appeals more as a place chance given his overall form. To a large extent his chances depend on the tempo of the race but even if the early sectionals were quick he may have to settle for a minor place.

He is another right at home on softer ground.

Tony Millard has opted to remove the visor and tongue-tie from Blue Stitch, who had a rather disappointing season last term. His form reads better second-up and he is best watched for the time being. Blue Stitch's stablemate Sirocco looks outclassed but will be better for last week's run in the the Chief Executive's Cup.

It's difficult to recommend ageing Red Pepper who has placed just once from five starts over the course-and-distance and he will probably find a few too good once again. He's better off over more ground, with his last win coming in January over 2,000 metres.



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