McKeown hopeful of a Sunshine day
ENGLISH rider Dean McKeown has had a frustrating wait for his first Hong Kong winner but it could come in the second leg of the Double Trio at the excellent Sha Tin meeting tomorrow.
McKeown gave 11-year-old sprinter Morning Patrol an excellent ride on Wednesday night but found one runner, half the gelding's age, a bit too strong.
That has been the story of his short stay to date - his only winning chances, about three, have all found one rival that bit too good.
He rides Perfect Sunshine in the fifth event tomorrow and, given the four-year-old's excellent run behind Explorer at Happy Valley, he will be right there at the finish.
From a Double Trio standpoint, he looks good banker material and McKeown's lack of success to date could mean a bonus of a point or so over the horse's rightful odds. It is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good, as they say.
The manner in which Perfect Sunshine stormed home over 1,235 metres at the Valley suggests that the step up to 1,400 metres in this Class Three race is exactly what he is after.
This is borne out by his overseas form as he was a two-length winner of his only race in New Zealand before export and that was over 1,300 metres.
He has certainly matured since then and has also continued to hold his form in the mornings.
Although Perfect Sunshine, penalised four pounds for his second placing, looks ideal banker material he is not absolutely past the post.
In this full field of Class Three gallopers there are a couple ready to do something useful.
Star claimer Francis K.S. Lam partners Red Star and, if he handles this fellow, then he will also have a say in the finish.
His obvious ability apart, Lam would seem to be in the happy position where horses run for him and he may need that with Red Star who would not be everyone's idea of a claimer's ride. But the horse has very definite ability.
Turf Apex is on a hat-trick and local star Tony Cruz sticks with him, suggesting that this test may not yet be his ultimate one.
And Sky Horse could scarcely have won more handily when coming home strongly to win course and distance last time. He does not look badly positioned here and there is nothing in his work to indicate that he has regressed since his last good win.
It looks another handy ride for Dave Penna in the absence of Darren Gauci who parades his talents in Melbourne today.
The season's first sponsored race, the Remy XO Cup, sees the reappearance of the champion, River Verdon.
Naturally, the 1,200 metres of the Class One event is too short for him but he will be storming home and it would be foolhardy to leave him out of calculations.
It is an intriguing race and I have no hesitation in putting forward River Verdon as a top DT chance.
Despite his 138 lbs, the banker bet for the first leg is the Derek Cruz-trained Concert King. He was spectacular in a trial win a month ago and goes into this race as fit as hands can make him.
It is impossible to know just what adverse effect last season's bleeding attack may have had on him until full racing pressure is applied but he still looks a little bit special.
Quicken Away impressed in a trial earlier this week and shapes again as a major chance as he bids to retain the trophy he won so valiantly last year and both Fastabob and Mount Hansen must come into the reckoning.
The latter appears to have now fully acclimatised and off his minimum weight could end up surprising them all - although this is his stiffest test by a long way.
Fastabob has worked and trialled in good style and trainer John Moore could not be happier.
It should be a great race.