Ever-improving Penglai Xianzi shows a lot of zest
Penglai Xianzi's barnstorming burst in the straight to win last Friday's 1,200m all-weather track barrier trial at Sha Tin indicated all is well with him and he will return a better horse.
The three-year-old colt by Encosta de Lago, prepared by Tony Cruz, went back to the trials after his mediocre performance last start over 1,400m behind Algarve.
He sat behind Baby Wave and Gaucho until heads were turned for home and then kicked away to score by 21/4 lengths under the guidance of Matthew Chadwick. It was serious work from the youngster, with the last quarter being covered in 23.6 seconds (1.11.55).
The top apprentice asked nothing of the horse in the early part, but when Chadwick pushed the button at the 300m he shot off like a rocket.
Penglai Xianzi was used up early in his first campaign, but his brilliant win when resuming showed he is best when switched off in his races and using his good turn of foot when it counts most.
So when he returns to competition, he will prove a handful, judging from his latest trial workout.
A three-quarter brother to the stakes-performed Sydney galloper Glowlamp, Penglai Xianzi is from group-performed Danehill mare Isle of Gibraltar. He cost A$300,000 (HK$2.1 million) at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast. And he was bought by Benson Lee for HK$3 million at the International Sales.
Isle of Gibraltar is a three-quarter sister to former champion globetrotter and leading Coolmore sire Rock of Gibraltar.
And Penglai Xianzi will prove that money is well spent.
Baby Wave, now with Gary Ng Bik-keung, trialled nicely for Marco Chui Kwan-lai and is ready to get his career back on track.
In the opening dirt heat, Global Win (Weichong Marwing) and Dumbarton Rock (Kelvin Leung Ka-wai) produced solid performances to show they will be competitive when they return to the races.
They both went to the line strongly, indicating the solid work that trainers David Ferraris and Caspar Fownes have poured into them is paying off.
Global Win, however, showed significant improvement from his October 13 all-weather track trial behind super sprinter Medic Power.