Valley trials a joy for Magic's Begg
MAGIC Joy looks set to make his presence felt in Class Two following a super-smooth barrier trial success in the fourth of six heats run on the Happy Valley grass yesterday morning.
The trial morning at the city track was a big success, as it has been on two previous occasions this season, and there were plenty of trainers and jockeys on hand to make a plea for more Happy Valley barrier trials.
''I think they are a very good idea,'' said champion trainer-elect Ivan Allan.
''Young horses have to learn about the bends here,'' pointed out champion jockey Basil Marcus.
Neville Begg has been a consistent supporter of the Valley trials as he feels they not only teach the young horses about the idiosyncratic course but also get them accustomed to travelling in the floats from Sha Tin to Happy Valley.
Yesterday his Magic Joy put in one of the most impressive performances of the morning, coming from just off the pace under crack apprentice Francis K. S. Lam to win by a neck from Allan's sprinter, Sumotori.
For what it is worth - some will say it means everything and some will say it means nothing whatsoever - the overall trial time was one minute 14.7 for the 1,235-metre trip.
This compared favourably with Deerfield's all-the-way effort under Mick Kinane in the following heat as Deerfield clocked 1:14.6 though his final quarter was a couple of lengths faster.
Magic Joy scored by 2 1/4 lengths from Fat City last time out, with his field well strung out, to make it three wins so far for Begg this season and yesterday's effort suggested there could be another in the bag.
Sumotori is gradually improving while David Hill's Muhim and Geoff Lane's Laureate stayed on well enough, especially the former as he was asked such a serious question early in the run.
Allan slapped the blinkers on Active King in this trial. He showed predictably more speed but he didn't hit the line in a manner to suggest he is worth a bet.
Deerfield won the fifth as he liked and he really is a super worker.
However he has been finding it hard to get his head in front and Walter Swinburn's impressions after his last-start second to Kadbridge over 1,800 metres are worth recalling.
Swinburn said of Deerfield: ''He feels like he wants five furlongs when you ride him in the mornings and two miles when you ride him in his races.'' Deerfield has also been punished for his consistency as he had gone up 11 pounds in the ratings this season prior to that second to Kadbridge without winning. That's tough.
Begg's Australian import, Saladin, went nicely in the second won by Allan's former top New Zealand two-year-old, Galaxy.
John Moore's recent acquisition, Splendid, came with a strong late run to take the first from stablemate Super Bomb.
A poor third heat went to Optic World from the improving Acquisition while Lawrie Fownes' progressive stayer, Cricket Lord, looked the pick of the final event won in somewhat meandering fashion by Golden Emperor, who should have prevailed more comfortably.