Fastabob quickens away to win trial
By Racing Editor LAWRENCE WADEY
INTERNATIONAL Bowl runner Fastabob confirmed his well being with a workmanlike rather than brilliant trial win on the all-weather track at Sha Tin yesterday morning.
The Australian import was kept under a tight hold for much of the way by his in-form rider John Marshall before being shaken up to hold Red Star by a neck, the pair drawing two lengths clear of Longain.
Trainer John Moore, also in top gear as he attempts the near impossible feat of four successive training titles, was clearly trying to strike the right balance with Fastabob in this trial.
Fitness is a very important factor but by the same token he doesn't want to overdo him with the $4 million International Bowl still the best part of two weeks away.
Chris Cheung's Red Star has been disappointing in his races since two very good early-season trials.
Darren Gauci has now teamed up with him in the mornings, after riding him at Happy Valley last time and Gauci's presence should help Red Star's cause.
Red Star is well treated on his best form of last season and it would be a shade premature to write him off just yet. How he runs next time out should be telling.
From a betting point of view the run to note was by Ivan Allan's Stellar Express who really should be winning a low-grade handicap on his work and trial form.
He raced easily on the pace yesterday with horses rated many, many pounds higher than him.
The opening trial saw a decisive win from Derek Cruz's Rocketeer who prevailed in similar style in a grass trial at Happy Valley eight days ago.
Prior to that Rocketeer had disappointed when sent out over 1,400 metres and may need to come back in distance.
Moore's Cop The Cash went nicely in behind Rocketeer and looks up to winning in the not-too-distant future. He's improving and is a good type of horse.
Alex Wong Siu-tan's stayer Race To Win also put in another solid effort in running fourth while Kenny Kam's first-season import Sir Michael just had a potter around at the back under Tony Cruz.
In yesterday's work, there was a fine piece from Neville Begg's Chiu Chow Kid who worked home strongly with stablemate Magic Joy.
Begg's Bowl runner Winning Partners enjoyed a solid hitout on the grass, quickening up pleasingly over his final 400 metres.
David Hill's Red Ruffian, last season's sprint champion, was rather unlucky to miss out on a Bowl place.
He appears to be recovering from the cracked heels which have marred his efforts so far this season.
Yesterday he went appreciably better than stablemate On The Double in a couple of very strong laps.
There was also good work from Bruce Hutchison's Hankow Star and Spirits Bay.
Hankow Star went fluently to the post and should be in peak condition next time out following his good second to Gold Capture last time.
Spirits Bay now appears to be in peak condition in readiness for Saturday's 2,400-metre Po Leung Kuk Centenary Cup at Happy Valley.
He didn't work quite as well as stablemate Esteemed who is one of the best workers at the track but the piece confirmed that Spirits Bay is in good heart and probably fitter than at any stage of the season.
First trial: 1, ROCKETEER (G. Carter); 2, Cop The Cash (J. Marshall); 3, Top Gun (W. R. Swinburn). Others (in finishing order): Race To Win, Long Run, Phantasy Way, Magician, Sir Michael, Privilege, Top Performance. Time: 1.03.4 (23.2). Distances: 7 lengths, neck. Winner trained by Derek Cruz.
Second trial: 1, FASTABOB (J. Marshall); 2, Red Star (D. Gauci); 3, Longain (C. K. Chung). Others: Stellar Express, Colourful World, Electric Power, Light-Hearted, Able Quest, Freedom Reigns. Time: 1.02.3 (23.8). Distances: neck, 2 lengths. Winner trainedby John Moore.