Scintillation is in good order
Group One winner Scintillation may have had to bow to the might of Silent Witness in yesterday's Sha Tin barrier trial, but his performance would have been a winning one on any other day.
Scintillation, a son of the late, great sire Danehill, ran a scorching trial for second to the world's number one sprinter, beaten just one and a half lengths.
Shane Dye positioned him in second position, behind tearaway stablemate Jolly Good Fortune (Way Leung Ming-wai) and at the 600 metres he was three lengths ahead of Silent Witness.
Scintillation kept on strongly after Silent Witness claimed him at the 250m and was not pushed out by Dye in the final stages. The winning time of 1:11.2 was a clear second faster than the average of the four trials of the morning.
Scintillation has been off the scene since finishing a disappointing fifth behind Silent Witness in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup over 1,400m at Sha Tin on April 24, but two runs earlier he had recorded his career highlight with a hard-fought victory over Sambuca and High Intelligent in the Group One Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile.
Jolly Good Fortune is going well as he registered blistering early sectionals. Leung didn't spare the Australian-bred five-year-old, who charged out of the stalls and ran the first 600m in 34.7 seconds, and the first 800m in 46.9 seconds.
Bullish Luck (Gerald Mosse), hero of the inaugural Asian Mile Challenge, worked home nicely for fourth, another 13/4 lengths behind Jolly Good Fortune.
David Oughton-trained Leilati, piloted by Douglas Whyte, was never off the bridle in finishing a pleasing fifth, indicating his best campaign is still ahead of him.
British handler Sean Woods racked up his 12th win in barrier trials so far this season when Soprano overcame a wide passage to win the second trial in the slowest time of the morning.
Soprano was ridden by apprentice Paul Lo Pak-hin and was never closer than four deep at any stage of proceedings.
Clearly the best trial, however, came from Royal Decree, who switched yards during the summer and is now with freshman trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai, Woods' former assistant.
Royal Decree, handled yesterday by Robbie Fradd, crossed from gate 12 and led in the early stages of the race.
Group One winner Perfect Partner (Felix Coetzee) got up on his inside on the circle but Royal Decree kept on well over the final 400m without Fradd being too tough on him at all.
Woods may not have won the third trial but his Irish-bred private purchase Capitaland was probably the most impressive triallist.
Capitaland, again ridden by Lo, sat three deep outside the leaders and was marginally in front at the 100m before the apprentice gave him a very gentle run to the line, ultimately finishing fourth behind winner Move It (Fradd).
Move It, trained by Andy Leung Ting-wah, probably had the hardest trial of any in this batch and the minor placegetters, California Prince (Dye) and Ocean Tranquil (Olivier Doleuze) did it considerably easier.
HORSES TO FOLLOW:
Leilati, Royal Decree, Capitaland.