Be Grateful raring to go after solid trial performance
Be Grateful showed substantial improvement from his first trial to his second, and the way he put away his rivals on the all-weather track yesterday morning indicates an early win for the Michael Chang Chun-wai yard.
The American-bred griffin, handled by Zac Purton, was in touch with the leaders throughout, before racing away in the final stages to defeat Class Four sprinter Happee Gift (Derek Leung Ka-chun) by a length, with Racing Spirit (Alex Lai Hoi-wing) a respectable third.
Be Grateful had trialled respectably behind Matsukaze on February 17. He was always close to the leaders on that occasion but kept on well in the concluding stages to be beaten two lengths.
This time, Purton elected to give Be Grateful a wake-up call inside the final 200m and it may have been exactly what the son of Fusaichi Pegasus required. He lengthened stride appreciably and hit the line with purpose, recording good sectional splits. Although the overall time was slower than the morning opener, won by Ambitious Owner, Be Grateful's final 200m of 11.64 seconds was evidence this well-bred colt is on the way up.
Ambitious Owner scored an every-chance win for 10-pound claimer Leung at the expense of Alice Too, Smart Currency and Rely on Me.
The Tony Millard-trained five-year-old enjoyed a perfect run along the rails, four lengths behind leader Smart Currency, and showed a pleasing turn of foot when Leung asked for more effort inside the final 200m.
Alice Too, who disappointed on the dirt last time, battled on well for second, beaten only a short head, despite having worked three wide without cover all the way.
A number of Derby contenders went around in the mile trial, with honours going to Vigor Delight (Brett Doyle) ahead of Excellent Boy (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) and Classic Mile runner-up More Bountiful (Olivier Doleuze).