Down Town is back with a bang
Down Town has been 'out of sight, out of mind' since winning the Sha Tin Trophy on October 21, but the grey flash has been one of the star trackworkers this week.
Down Town missed his engagement in the Cathay Pacific International Mile Trial on November 17 after a setback, but since returning to full training after an eight-day break on November 20, he has not missed a beat.
On Monday morning, Down Town roared down the back straight on the turf, stopping the clocks at 44.7 seconds for 800 metres, the final 400 in 21.8 - horses simply don't go any quicker. And yesterday, with race rider Douglas Whyte again on board, the ghostly grey merely cruised down the metric half mile in 53.5 seconds, the ultimate 400m in 25.2, looking fit and well.
Shane Dye returned from a spin on Sprint runner Royal Delight yesterday and predicted a big run from the Premier Bowl winner.
'In that race he was off a light weight and it's obviously a lot tougher against the best in the world at level weights,' Dye said. 'But I'm thinking he can run in the first five at least. He's got natural speed so we won't be far away in the run. I've been on him most mornings and he's fresh and in great form.'
Laurie Laxon, the Singapore-based champion trainer, watched Sprint hopeful Why Be work out on the turf, ridden by Sam Subian, and was happy enough with what he saw.
'I couldn't fault his work,' Laxon said. 'Everything has gone well with him. He travelled well, has eaten up well since he's been here. He's at his winning racing weight, around 530kg which is good, as he can tend to get a little heavy, but he's spot on.'
The Japanese contender for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup, Shadow Gate, worked wide out on the course proper but didn't go any faster than pacework. He did, however, impress with his general appearance and his sound, fluent action.
Jockey Katsuharu Tanaka noted: 'He seems to be in better form than when he won the Singapore Airlines International Cup in May.'
Likely Mile pacesetter Kongo Rikishio, runner-up to Daiwa Major in a classy international field in the Yasuda Kinen on June 3, stretched out superbly in a gallop on the course.
Kongo Rikishio, sporting his now-familiar pink blinkers and black-net muzzle, galloped 1,200m in 1:19.5, the final 400 metres in 23.3 seconds and impressed onlookers.
Trainer Kenji Yamauchi said: 'The horse looks in good form. As for the draw in gate one, it's perfect for us.'
Rested and ready
A break from racing looks to have done Down Town a power of good
The Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained grey has not raced since his win in the Sha Tin Trophy on this date in October: 21st