Old stager still value to defy his 10 years in sprint

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 February, 1994, 12:00am

VETERAN sprinter Highway Patrol has never hit any great heights in his lengthy local career but he has won his share of races - and you can't say that about too many horses who find themselves getting closer to the bottom of Class Six.

His years are catching up on his zip but Highway Patrol has been relatively sparingly raced this season and the 10-year-old can give regular rider Johnny K. S. Ho a welcome win today.

Highway Patrol is in the second event over 1,200 metres, a distance at which he has been effective in the past.

His runs this season have had considerable merit and with just a stroke of luck he would already have won a race. Basil Marcus came very close in a short dash on equitrack and then Ho came from a long way back to be a near certainty beaten in a longer sprint at the Valley.

This 13-runner affair is not redolent with chances and from barrier five Ho should have Highway Patrol in a good position during the run.

His last race was a disappointment when he was backed into 2-1 but found little in an event won by Love Not War, who had finished well behind Highway Patrol in their previous run. Class Six form, however, can be decidedly patchy.

The switch to Sha Tin and the longer sprint here will suit Highway Patrol and he has done enough to suggest that he might now be in better shape than at any time so far this season.

In an obviously ordinary affair, another veteran sprinter in Mehboob II deserves consideration. Again, he has been successful in better company than this and is honest and game. He is also a Class Five horse taking advantage of the overlapping system and the 10lb claim of apprentice Richard K. M. So brings the Lawrie Fownes-trainned galloper firmly into contention.

Green Peace was an all-the-way winner of a 1,400-metre race on equitrack last time and is not beyond repeating. He is a course and distance winner from last season.

In the final event today, it is worth taking a chance with the Ivan Allan-trained Stellar Express who faded for fourth in a 1,400-metre run last time.

But he was not suited to be ridden up on the pace and if settled in behind today could run home strongly enough to win this Class Four, 1,600-metre contest.

Champion jockey Basil Marcus has been replaced by Frankie F. C. Lor so those taking the chance are entitled to reasonable odds.