Hall steals spotlight from TV stars
Australian lands his first three-timer in Hong Kong and leaps into the top 10 in the trainers' standings
Australian trainer David Hall turned on a show among the stars attending the ATV Cup at Sha Tin yesterday, going within an ace of landing his first four-timer but settling for a first Hong Kong treble and some nice thoughts for the future.
Hall and Robbie Fradd landed Can Opener in the second race, then the trainer teamed up with Brett Prebble to bring home Victory Code in the Trendy Guide Handicap (1,400 metres) and Hawkes Bay in the Showbiz Update Handicap.
'And My Choice didn't have the best of luck getting out into the clear or he would have won the ATV Cup instead of running second,' he said. 'It's lovely to train a treble but also nice to do it with a couple of horses I have plenty of time for in Hawkes Bay and Victory Code.'
Hawkes Bay has made a very solid impression in his handful of starts so far, bouncing back yesterday from a poor scope when he was well beaten in the Derby Trial last starts, to overcome his shyness in the final race.
'Gee, I thought he was in trouble on the home turn. He's still a bit frightened of having the other horses around and he wanted to run away from them on the corner,' Hall said.
'If you remember, he got really scared in his first run here and then I put the visor on him and he's been a lot better but what I saw today suggests he still has a long way to go mentally.'
That can't be a bad thing when Hawkes Bay has already been able to post two wins from five starts.
'We tried him at the deep end in the Derby Trial and he wound up with the mucopus but I did say after he had won the first time that he wanted another six months,' Hall said. 'I think he's the makings of a very nice horse and I'm in two minds whether he should run again this season.
'I wouldn't mind putting him aside but one reason I brought him back in May was that he might get some give in the ground. He's an English horse and they definitely relish some give underfoot. So it's possble he could run again, especially if we get rain.'
The firm footing didn't deter Victory Code either but Prebble told Hall the lightly raced four- year-old was feeling the firm going despite registering his third win.
'Brett said the horse responds to his riding, stretches for a step then stops, then does the same thing again,' Hall said.
'He is a better horse with some cut and I'm hoping he'll get some soon but he's another nice horse. I've always felt he was better than this sort of grade and up to the better classes.'
Victory Code was coming back from a defeat in his first attempt at 1,600m to 1,400m yesterday but Hall is convinced the gelding won't be troubled by a mile.
'It was the hard ground the other day. I backed off him and freshened him up for this but the mile isn't a worry,' Hall said. 'The thing I'm hoping is that next season he might just toughen up a little as a five-year-old and will cope better with the firm tracks.'
The treble gave Hall his first wins since Bodacious scored at Happy Valley on April 12 but the trainer has enjoyed an improved sophomore season.
After leading in 18 winners last season, Hall has moved to 26 this term already and joined Manfred Man Ka-leung in the top 10 on the ladder with yesterday's effort.