Piggott could have a wonderful debut
By LAWRENCE WADEY
IT'S been great to watch the maestro Lester Piggott back in action at trackwork and this afternoon he is involved proper with some promising mounts at Sha Tin.
One of them, the Ivan Allan-trained Wonderful Way, he put through a spin at yesterday's Sha Tin work session.
It was a pretty informative morning after the lull in trackwork during the break for Chinese New Year but no barrier trials were run.
Wonderful Way has improved with each of his three runs since arriving from Ireland.
He needed the first behind Zeus and then was unlucky to run up against John Moore's Derby trial runner, Cop The Cash, and Lawrie Fownes' smashing New Zealand recruit, China Cruise.
Wonderful Way is pitched in against China Cruise again this afternoon but this time on six pounds better terms for a neck defeat. He is also competing over a mile whereas last time they met it was over 1,400 metres.
It could well turn out that China Cruise has so much improvement in him that he can beat Wonderful Way again, even at the revised weights. That is the view held here.
But it would be sheer folly to dismiss Wonderful Way, especially with the wily Piggott on board and especially given the manner of Wonderful Way's work yesterday.
He came home in a very comfortable 24.9 seconds for his final quarter under Piggott's guidance off a pacework quarter of 26.7 seconds.
He must have a bright chance of running the quinella given the work, the way he is improving and the extra distance.
Interestingly, Fownes also sent out China Cruise for an easy spin on the all-weather under his big-race jockey Darren Gauci.
Most racegoers are wary of the ''second-up syndrome'', which seems to bedevil so many first-season imports that win or run so well on their debuts and then disappoint on their next start only to find good form a couple of runs farther down the line.
But even with ''second-up syndrome'', in mind, it is still hard not to conclude that China Cruise has done well from his win and Fownes has him in fine fettle.
There was an eye-catching final 400 metres from Neville Begg's Local Colour in readiness for today's final event.
Local Colour is being asked to go out into the unknown and compete over 1,800 metres which may sap his stamina.
But there is one thing for sure - he goes into the race working really well since his run over a mile on the Happy Valley grass.
He went well in a trial at the Valley and was then noted moving strongly in a jump out down the back straight with stablemate Jolly Good Winner.
Yesterday Local Colour hit the line in a fluent 51.7 seconds for his 800-metre hitout with a particularly pleasing final section in a quick 23.4 seconds.
There was also good work from Brian Kan Ping-chee's English recruit Medic Star who has yet to run out here.
Medic Star raced once for one win in England when trained by none other than former England international footballer, Mick Channon.
He was ridden to a decisive victory at Goodwood at big odds by Lawrie Fownes' former stable jockey, Wendyll Woods, who has been enjoying a three-month stint in Macau.
Another who looks worth following is Stephen Leung's Happy Cheers who has been working very well for sometime now and should make an impact at the first time of asking.
Happy Cheers again impressed in his work yesterday morning and should be as fit as it is possible to get him without an actual race when Leung produces him for his local debut.
Leung's Winford is also beginning to pick up and could well make his presence felt in a low-grade staying contest in the near future.
It should also be noted that Gerald Mosse has come in for the ride on Source of Life who failed to land a gamble last time, when ridden on the pace, but had earlier put in two of the most eye-catching runs imaginable.