Mid-tempo Concert rehearsal
CONCERT King continued his preparation for the International Bowl with an adequate trial on his less-than-favoured equitrack surface at Sha Tin yesterday.
The brilliant galloper had looked almost peerless in winning a grass trial at the beginning of the month, a hitout that also included River Verdon, Quicken Away and troubled Deerfield.
There was not such an illustrious line-up on the ''wet sand'' at Sha Tin yesterday and Concert King, not asked for too much by Gary Carter, finished officially a short head behind Golden Rule.
He was, in fact, eased down in the run home and Golden Rule only just got his head fractionally in front. Significantly, there was a length-and-a-half back to third-placed Mr Snip, who is also coming along sweetly.
The value in this trial for Derek Cruz and Concert King's connections was simply keeping this superb horse ticking over before his expected debut for the season in the Remo XO Cup in a fortnight.
Randy Romero won two of the three trials, deputising in the opener for the unwell Mick Kinane and winning with well-known sprinter, Third Time Lucky.
The David Oughton-trained galloper generally needs a run to bring the best out of him and he does look to be ready to do something very shortly. He was beaten on his seasonal debut but has come on from that and went to the line 11/2 lengths clear of stablemate, Lucky Swallow.
Third Time Lucky rarely runs out of a place and on the evidence presented yesterday he is on course for further success.
There were two interesting runs in the third trial from Super Tension and Wind Dancer.
Super Tension was a distinct disappointment last season but is on a mark now where he could really show something. Romero brought him through as sprinter Winning Vic weakened and Super Tension quickened up nicely to go on and win from Wind Dancer, who also came from off the pace to take a pleasing second place.
Super Tension did not look really right last season until the back end but he does appear to have had a good summer and come to himself quite readily.
First trial: 1, THIRD TIME LUCKY (R. Romero); 2, Lucky Swallow (K. Chu); 3, Optic Style (B. Marcus). Others (in finishing order): Super Delight, Fun And Smile, Flying Dragon, Berkut, Crescendo, Scan Lord, Jupiter Pioneer. Time: 1.09.2 (24.3). Distances: 11/2 lengths, 11/2 lengths. Winner trained by David Oughton.
Second trial: 1, GOLDEN RULE (K. H. Ting); 2, Concert King (G. Carter); 3, Mr Snip (C. W. Choi). Others: Sound Print, Splendid, King Star, Real Perfect, Swordford, Royal Horse, Vital Point. Time: 1:08.3 (24.6). Distances: short head, 11/2 lengths. Winner trained by Wong Wai-lit.
Third trial: 1, SUPER TENSION (R. Romero); 2, Wind Dancer (G. Carter); 3, Active Market (D. Beadman). Others: Happy Birthday, Long March, Winning Vic, Feodor, Truly Easy, Commander. Time: 1.09.2 (24.0). Distances: neck, 1 length. Winner trained by Gary NgTing-keung.