Jollity ready to brighten the evening's entertainment
IT is generally advisable to steer clear of young horses racing on equitrack for the first time as the winning strike rate is not high. But sometimes it is worth making an exception - as was the case recently with the Ivan Allan-trained Team Valour.
On a miserable equitrack card at Happy Valley - and the weather might just be in keeping with the entertainment on offer - there is a glimmer of hope in the sixth event, which is a Class Three contest over 1,400 metres.
International Cup-winning jockey John Marshall takes out Jollity for retaining trainer John Moore and the horse is clearly good enough to win in this company. He turned in a couple of sparkling performances towards the end of last season and has been in work for some time.
The rising five-year-old has trialled well and worked along in commendable fashion for some time so he will be fit enough for this 1,400-metre outing.
Clearly the question mark is over the surface. He has drawn in barrier eight which is also not normally a help at this distance although Marshall said yesterday: ''I would not be quite so worried about that. If you are a bit wide you can stay out of the kickback. As long as you don't end up right out of it, it can be all right.'' While there must be a slight risk attached to Jollity on ability he has what it takes and is worth supporting.
The clear threat is Mr Bunny who generally loves the trip and the synthetic surface but he did turn in a very poor run, course and distance, at his last outing.
There were no discernible excuses but winner California Gold did run them right off their feet that night and Mr Bunny could not get into the race, eventually finishing fourth.
The other threat and obvious quinella leg is Link Treasure who has had two runs this season over the straight 1,000-metre course at Sha Tin and the minimum trip on equitrack.
His equitrack run was particularly significant as he flashed home for second from some way back and went under by a neck to Picador. He is also well drawn in barrier three and there looks certain to be solid support for this fellow.
As Link Treasure is, to a large extent, proven on this surface as is Mr Bunny, punters are entitled to decent odds about Jollity. But if he does take to the surface, he looks a good prospect.