Oughton has a smart winner in waiting
David Oughton has had a quiet season so far but that will be changing very soon judging by the effort of his British private purchase Walkonthewildside at yesterday's Sha Tin trials.
Walkonthewildside is bred to be outstanding, being a son of champion racehorse and emerging young sire Giants Causeway from the outstanding Danehill filly Wannabe Grand, winner of the Group One Cheveley Park stakes for juvenile fillies at the back end of 1998 and second in the Thousand Guineas of 1999.
Walkonthewildside was handled by Douglas Whyte in the 1,000 metres down the Sha Tin straight course and was never out of second gear. Admittedly, there was nothing to make the four-year-old work but the way he went about his business suggested this is a smart colt.
He was one of the leaders throughout and was travelling so easily that he pricked his ears and fairly floated along in the middle stages, with Whyte sitting quietly at the end of a long rein. In the final stages, the champion jockey exerted no energy at all and Walkonthewildside scored by a very soft length margin from unraced New Zealand bred three-year-old New Triumph. Walkonthewildside raced six times in England under the colours of Michael Tabor, from the stables of David Loder. He was slow to find his feet, failing to land any sort of blow at his first two starts but improved markedly third-up with the visor applied.
He returned the following season as a three-year-old for just two starts and won them both, scoring over seven furlongs (1,400m) at Warwick and the same distance at Sandown, where Racing Post (UK) credited him with a 103 rating.
Walkonthewildside has not raced since July last year and had his introduction to Hong Kong competition in a hot barrier trial at Sha Tin on February 7, won in fast time by Natural Blitz.
The newcomer raced greenly that day, lugging noticeably and was ultimately 11th of 13 runners, some 16 lengths from the winner. However, it was a transformed unit that Oughton produced yesterday, galloping smoothly all the way and winning with any amount in hand. He arrived here with a domestic rating of 80.
Runner-up New Triumph did well, remaining comfortably on the bridle throughout for Corey Brown. The gelding is trained by freshman handler Me Tsui Yu-sak, who is enjoying a good opening term and must be commended for winning the Happy Valley Million Challenge with born-again black sprinter Amo.
Circular Machine won the fourth trial over 1,000m for the Danny Shum-Shane Dye combination. This smart son of O'Reilly has raced three times for three minor placings, the latest behind Lucky Packet over 1,400m at Sha Tin on January 15.
In this trial, Circular Machine was either joint or outright leader throughout and always well on the bridle for Dye. He got home with a half length to spare over the David Ferraris-trained private purchase Pickett, who also caught the eye.
Pickett won a juvenile maiden at Hamilton, Britain last July before going to Goodwood for the Group Three Molecomb Stakes (1,000m) and running second on good-to-soft ground. That run seemed to peak him, and his form trailed away in two subsequent runs before his sale to Hong Kong.
American bred three-year-old Wild Cat took his second trial in the space of two weeks in the 800m dash up for griffins.
The son of veteran sire Wild Again was one of the leaders throughout and travelled well for jockey Chris Munce, keeping on under the gentlest of hand rides to score by a neck from Winning Fellowship (Dye), with Safety First (Alex Yu Kin-shing) 11/2 lengths back in third place.
HORSES TO FOLLOW:
Walkonthewildside, Circular Machine, Victory Style.