Lightly raced Witch's Broom looks the part for Wilson
Emma-Jayne Wilson has been given a number of opportunities by trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah and the latest of them, The Witch's Broom, showed he is ready to deliver an improved performance by taking out a barrier trial at Sha Tin yesterday in fast time.
The Witch's Broom bounced out and settled second, at the quarters of Be My Song, in the second of two heats. Wilson asked the gelding to flatten out at the 300m and he did so willingly, getting the better of Be My Song (Vincent Sit Shun-keung) to score by half a length.
Be My Song battled on well for second, albeit under hard riding from Sit, but the impressive part of the performance of both first and second was the quick time - 1:09.9 for the 1,200m - and the big spread of margins behind them.
Third placed Sir Lago (Olivier Doleuze) was three lengths away, while Tactic King was another five lengths back in fourth place.
The Witch's Broom won in December over 1,650m at Happy Valley when having only his fourth start. He was ridden on that occasion by Gerald Mosse.
The gelding has not been disgraced in three runs since, and he was caught wide without cover at his most recent outing on February 13 after beginning from barrier 11.
Wilson is now into the second month of her initial term as a club jockey and is still looking for her first winner after 46 rides. She has been second twice, with two thirds and two fourths, so a breakthrough should happen any time now.
The Canadian impressed during her visit as part of the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship meeting in December and it was that performance which earned her a call-up when the riding ranks started to thin out in late January due to a spate of careless riding suspensions.
The opening trial was taken out by veteran Kiwi Dash, ridden by Brett Prebble for trainer Paul O'Sullivan. Kiwi Dash was asked for an effort by Prebble in the concluding stages but the seven-year-old stretched out nicely and was a comfortable winner by 1? lengths.
Kiwi Dash was in full work earlier in the season before he damaged his right front suspensory ligament, specifically the lateral branch. O'Sullivan did the only thing he could do - give the chestnut the required rest and rehabilitation.
Although he's only a 48-rater and situated in the middle of Class Four, Kiwi Dash has been a success story for O'Sullivan. At the end of the 2005-06 season, Kiwi Dash was close to the 27-point rating threshold which, at that time, meant compulsory retirement at the end of the season.
The trainer prevailed upon former handicapper Ciaran Kennelly to reward a minor placing by Kiwi Dash with two points, because he genuinely believed he had found the secret to the gelding, who at that time had raced four times for O'Sullivan for two wins and two seconds.
Kennelly helped out with the required two points, kept Kiwi Dash in the game and the long-striding galloper rewarded O'Sullivan with three wins during the 2006-07 term, taking him out of the bottom grade and well into the next class.
Runner-up to Kiwi Dash in this trial was First Among Equals, ridden by Howard Cheng Yue-tin. Cheerful Heart worked home late for third, three lengths behind First Among Equals, while South Breeze (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) and Spare A Dime (Glen Boss) hit the line nicely in the final 200m.