O'Sullivan's Fellowship ready to show his best
It has been a slow start for the Paul O'Sullivan stable but the New Zealander can turn things around in style at Sha Tin today with a form reversal from Fellowship to win the Panasonic Cup (1,600m).
By this time last season, the eventual runner-up to Caspar Fownes in the championship chase already had seven wins on the board, but this time around O'Sullivan has had more runners but just four winners.
But the team looks on the turn with a solid line-up on today's card and Fellowship (Manoel Nunes) ready to turn the form book upside down in the feature.
Only five months and three starts ago Fellowship was looking one of the most promising horses in Hong Kong after very strong wins at his first two outings to add to his impressive wins from just a few starts in New Zealand.
But it all went wrong after that and O'Sullivan was forced to give the gelding a decent break before his third start when he failed but that could be forgiven as he did not seem to be on top of his game in the lead-up to that event.
Everything was back on track before Fellowship's first run this term, though, with an excellent barrier trial giving the indication he was back in form.
The five-year-old wasn't able to confirm that on October 14, overracing before finishing down the course behind Dao Dao, but jockey Olivier Doleuze may have had the reason when he told the connections that Fellowship had swallowed his tongue during the race.
O'Sullivan has fitted a tongue tie to Fellowship to overcome the problem and the real Fellowship will certainly give the Panasonic Cup a shake with a light weight and a good draw. With natural front runners like Helene Pillaging, Natural Blitz and Nilometer engaged, the race should be conducted at a true tempo and the light-weighted runners in the lower half of the field are going to make their rivals carry their handicaps.
Consistent River Jordan (Darren Beadman) appears a strong danger from gate one after being posted wide last run after two excellent efforts under big weights to start his campaign.
The David Ferraris-trained Towering Feeling (Anthony Delpech) had little luck at his last run under 128 pounds behind Enthused and he too is a lightweight chance with strong claims.