Storm set to shake Sha Tin
Caspar Fownes' West Australian import Hail The Storm has made a fine impression on both starts and bids to improve on those performances by landing the final event at Sha Tin this afternoon.
The consistent son of successful sire Metal Storm won three of four starts in Australia, from 1,000 metres to a mile, and looked an exciting prospect on debut when finishing a gallant second to Yellow Diamond.
The form out of the race has taken a major boost, apart from the winner prevailing on his next outing, Tchaikovsky (third) bolted home for an impressive on his next appearance.
Hail The Storm followed a sound effort first-up by finishing a neck away in third to Noble Silence over 1,400m.
It was a sound effort in defeat as he looked a little wayward at times in the straight but hit the line full of running. Hail The Storm seems versatile enough to be positioned anywhere Robbie Fradd desires to settle him, but suffice to say there looks enough pace in this race to ensure it should be truly run. There is little doubt Hail The Storm should be close to his peak now, having won an all-weather barrier trial this month and he should prove hard to beat.
One of the main threats has to come from Kingston Winner, who ran a blinder when resuming from an eight month break and finishing sixth to Fantasy over 1,200m at Happy Valley. Kingston Winner, who needs to defy gate 11, will appreciate the step up to 1,400m and has class on his side to be a top chance.
Stablemate Devil Moon, owned by Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli, has not competed since March last year, and in theory, should need the outing after an 11-month break.
He has had four trials this preparation, but other race-hardened opposition are preferred at this stage.
The recent all-weather trial win of Groom Raider was particularly impressive, the application of the visor appearing to make a profound difference. He finished fourth in the race won by Noble Silence, which was a sound effort given he was caught three-wide without cover around the bend. With the gear change applied, he is certainly open to improvement. He will need a tactically astute ride from Anthony Delpech having drawn gate 12, but must be kept safe in all multiples.
Tony Cruz-trained Great Leader has been given a series of serious morning workouts leading up to this event, and the signs have been positive. The debut performance of John Moore-trained Rice Field was creditable, finishing fourth to Flashing Star over the minimum trip at Sha Tin. He left the impression he was looking for more of a test of stamina, and he gets that today. He should be sharper for his last run and from gate three will have all favours.
Jolly Good Fortune has been a model of consistency this term and his best chance to prove competitive is if he is allowed to dictate the pace. If Shane Dye can set some steady sections, then Jolly Good Fortune has place claims.
David Ferraris' King Hesperus ran a decent race on debut when ninth to Sanbenito over the course and distance. He is bound to have progressed since then, but others are preferred at this stage.
The recent form of Ambitious Tycoon hasn't been overly inspiring, while Krovnah is competitively weighted but should be outclassed.
Dave's Best has reached his mark and this doesn't look any easier than what he has been running against.
Sean Woods' Best Luck is another that has struggled since winning over the course and distance on New Years Day.
He has the fitness advantage off an unlucky run last week, but the outside barrier is a negative.
New comers Meath and Sambouyant don't make much appeal based on their respective turf trials and are best watched for the time being.