Biancone increases the training tempo
A BUSY morning on the Sha Tin work tracks yesterday most notable for the continuing increase in tempo in Patrick Biancone's team.
It has been a peculiar season for the great French trainer with only four winners to date despite the midpoint approaching fast.
In fairness to him, it seems that many of his older handicappers are too high in the weights or have had the guts knocked out of them by last season's 'flu virus or a combination of both.
His younger horses, many of whom are showing very good promise like his private purchase griffin star, Long Run, have yet to come on stream.
But the way things are shaping at trackwork, Biancone could be poised to hit one of those rich veins of form which saw him notch seven consecutive doubles last season.
Yesterday it was the turn of his King Prawn to impress in a very solid and fluent piece with stablemate Busy Win.
Interestingly, they seemed not only to run to a different tempo but also in a different style.
Maybe I missed them on their first lap. It was just after 5 am, freezing cold and the first coffee of the morning had still to take it rejuvenating effect.
But it seemed that they were not asked to complete their normal slow first lap before moving into first work.
These double rounds, even when one of his horse's is galloping on the second time round, have been a feature of Biancone's trackwork style.
Some have claimed that he asks too much of his horses and maybe this is a new idea on his part.
Whatever, King Prawn and Busy Win appeared to go more or less straight into their fast work with King Prawn effortlessly moving past Busy Win in the home straight to pull a couple of lengths clear at the post.
There looked to be plenty left in the locker and he could well improve again this season and end up a decent Class One performer around 1,400 metres.
By the same token, Busy Win would be hard to recommend as a bet on the strength of this work.
There was also a very good gallop from Lawrie Fownes' Cricket Lord who, despite being a stayer has a fair bit of natural speed and was not hard pressed to hold his sprinting stablemate, Speedy Winner.
Now that Cricket Lord has started to win he could and should keep on improving. Next season he could be a more than useful stayer.
Wylie Wong's Fun And Smile is surely another stayer in the making. Yesterday he did very well to keep tabs on Great Admiral in a solid piece and could improve over 1,800 to 2,000 metres at Sha Tin. A mile on the equitrack was patently too short for him last time.
Eddie Lo's Star Greeting missed work going into his last start but won prior to that and now looks to be going better than ever. He went smoothly yesterday morning and should be noted.
A poor barrier trial on the all-weather went to Derek Cruz's speedy Lucky Touch.