The ready to win stable
Tiger Ridge on the way to bigger races
Tony Millard-trained Tiger Ridge did exactly what was predicted for him at Sha Tin last week in landing a strong Class Three race, despite having to shoulder topweight of 128 pounds.
The northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old was given the run of the race by Dwayne Dunn - who, incidentally, is riding as well as anyone in Hong Kong at present - and showed great determination to fight off all late closers in the final 200 metres.
Tiger Ridge established a new personal-best rating in victory, with the race rating four pounds above standard for this grade. It means he'll be more than capable of winning at the bottom of Class Two when he is inevitably forced to take the next step up.
Because Tiger Ridge is such a progressive horse, with so many admirable qualities, we're going to keep him in the stable and back him to be successful again in stronger company, where he'll get significant weight relief from the proven C2 performers.
Another of our favourites, Win For All, was unlucky to be beaten by David Hayes' promising galloper Lucky Dragon on the same programme. Win For All was strung up behind a tiring horse coming to the home turn and the ground he lost at that point of the race was greater than the margin by which he was beaten. Lucky Dragon was backed for a stack, late in betting, and without detracting from the quality of his performance (he was wide throughout) his supporters were probably lucky to collect.
Win For All backs up this week, taking a weight rise but a class drop, and can definitely win the race. Stick with him.
Grand Master ran well at his second start, confirming his ability and quality with a close third to Paul O'Sullivan's first Hong Kong winner, Trophy. About the only thing Grand Master didn't get here was the right result - it was a pleasing performance from a young, inexperienced horse, and should have him primed to break through next start.
There were two Ready To Win horses who ran below par. Sharki felt the weight rise at his second-up run this time in and couldn't finish off his race the same way he had at his seasonal bow. Sharki is going to be a much better horse in the spring, with a bit more maturity behind him, and it may be wise go give him a rest from our stable for the time being.
Floral Dynamite had his chance to go forward in the ratings in the final event at Sha Tin, but went backwards instead, failing to finish his race off behind improving South African-bred galloper Sambuca. Trainer Tony Cruz and jockey Felix Coetzee believe Floral Dynamite is looking for further than 2,000 metres now but his form with his previous trainer suggests otherwise.
The safest option, considering Floral Dynamite has now had three runs (for two second placings) for the stable is to let him go and call on a fresh replacement.
FAT CHOY FOREVER, 3g, Desert Style - Brilliance, by Cadeaux Genereux, trainer, Dennis Yip: This British-bred three-year-old did a terrific job on debut when fourth to Fashion Jewellery up the Sha Tin straight on October 17. We almost put him straight into the Ready To Win stable at that time but ultimately chose to wait and see what trainer Yip did with him.
Fat Choy Forever has progressed very nicely since that first-up race and looks like a horse who will require more ground than the 1,000 metres over which he raced on debut. He gets everything made to order for him at Sha Tin today, where he is number 1 in race four. Brett Prebble, who won on Cosmo Success for Yip at the midweek meeting on Tuesday night, takes the reins.
GOLD STRIKER (3g, Faltaat - Lady Centaine, by Centaine). Trainer, John Size: This big fellow has been very impressive from the first day he was allowed to run along and make time. He impressed even more so at the trials and has now had two races, which have brought him right on the verge of winning condition. In other words, READY TO WIN.
Updated full stable:
Dashing Thunder, Fat Choy Forever, Gold Striker, Grand Master, Hip Hip Hooray, Kaiser's Prize, Lightning Star, Summerville Power, Sunrise Rainbow, Tiger Ridge, Win For All, Zabebe, Total 12.
Hip Hip Hooray (race 9, No 14), Win for All (race 10, No 13).
Best of luck.