Casablanca looks set to make up for miss
By ROBIN PARKE
LEADING trainer Ivan Allan is backing up Casablanca after her good run on Saturday and it is worth taking a chance with the mare in the first leg of tomorrow night's Double Trio at Happy Valley.
Casablanca was well placed in the run during Saturday's 1,600-metre seventh event won by Outerwear and was easily closest at the finish, being officially two lengths from the handy winner.
Allan puts regular stable rider Frankie F. C. Lor back on Casablanca tomorrow night for this Classes Three and Four, 2,000-metre run, which is a conditions event for jockeys without more than 250 career winners.
But punters need not shy away because of this engagement.
Lor has done solid work for the stable and, more significantly, was on board Casablanca when she came from a long way off the pace on equitrack two starts back to finish second to Jogador.
The step up in distance to 2,000 metres is exactly what Casablanca needs as she is by French Derby winner Darshaan and is definitely bred to get this trip - and further.
It was worth noting on Saturday that Casablanca was travelling off the pace, but in about sixth position for much of the run - and going quite well for South African Jeff Lloyd.
That point is made because equitrack so often merely suits horses that have speed and make the pace or lie right up on it. In the case of Casablanca, of course, she came from ninth position to blaze home from second last on the turn over the 1,600-metre trip on the synthetic surface.
But over this longer trip Casablanca should be handy enough to the lead and there can be no reasonable doubt that she will finish on very strongly.
But this is a race of several chances and DT punters have every reason to be wary.
Topweight Speed Way is an out-and-out equitrack freak and showed it afresh last time when finishing three parts of a length second to Valiant Red over this trip. Both horses, in fact, relish this surface and Valiant Red re-opposes tomorrow night and couldconfirm placings with the topweight.
Maximum claimer Eddie W. M. Lai, who is probably worth the claim, is engaged for Valiant Red and, on actual weight carried, he is quite well in. Valiant Red is down to carry 12 pounds extra for that last win, but with the claim that comes down sharply.
So, too, does that of Speed Way, who will be ridden by Richard K. M. So, another 10-pound claimer. Punters do face a problem here in that a 2,000-metre event should prove a test for any maximum claimer - although So has done well over this distance in thepast with Speed Way.
Captain Ron and City Raider add spice to the event in that both perform admirably on the surfaace with the latter a course and distance winner earlier this season.
Captain Ron has the services of boom claimer Francis K. S. Lam, while City Raider will be partnered by Simon H. K. Yim, who has yet to win a race. Clearly, preference here must go to Captain Ron.
The second leg of the DT is a moderate affair but nonetheless open for that.
Good Health ran a solid race for second to Green Maple at his last start, but that form was not franked by the winner on Saturday.
However, Good Health showed no aversion to equitrack at his previous start when finishing third at his first outing of the season to News Flash over 1,400 metres.
In-form Darren Beadman takes the ride on Good Health and given the initial early speed of the selection, backers should get a real sight from his good barrier draw of three.
It is on the short side for Rose Garden, but the Geoff Lane-trained galloper is a course-and-distance winner and ran quite a solid race over the turf version of the Valley mile at his seasonal debut.
Fortune Collect put in a shocker last time, but can definitely do better than that on the synthetic surface while seasonal debutant Four Winds is certainly not the worst.