The Duke and Treasure prove their star quality
Sophomore trainer Caspar Fownes landed two of the three all-weather trials at Sha Tin yesterday where conditions were far from ideal following a deluge of rain in the early hours of the morning.
Fownes's stable stalwart The Duke won the opening heat, where only three horses competed.
However, the lack of numbers didn't detract from the quality of the work and The Duke moved very strongly from start to finish under Shane Dye, clocking a quickest time of 1:11.2 seconds for 1,200 metres.
Dennis Yip Chor-hong's Evergreen went stride for stride with The Duke but had to be pushed along vigorously in the final 100m to keep in touch with the winner.
Evergreen had shown little potential from a handful of starts but this was clearly better work.
Fownes's Present Treasure won the second trial with Jackie Tong Chi-kit on board.
Tong had Present Treasure settled in a prominent position throughout, and when the challenge came from Gold Sandfield 100m from the wire, Present Treasure kicked away to win effortlessly.
He had been working superbly prior to the trial.
Gary Ng Ting-keung's Awesome Eagle finished second and has picked up the quality of his work. He also appears a little fitter now following just two starts this term, and is one to keep safe the next time he races.
Almond Lee Yee-tat teamed up with Corey Brown to win the final trial with Sweet Smile, who displayed marked improvement. Sweet Smile (rated 34) is still a maiden but has only had two starts for his new yard.
David Hill's Dantheman caught the eye when flashing home to finish second with Douglas Whyte on board.
He has moved stylishly in other trials this season and Hill's patience is finally paying off.
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