Sizzling O'Sullivan serves up three-timer
Trainer Paul O'Sullivan has welcomed the new year in the best possible fashion by leading in a treble - and continuing his recent hot streak of form.
O'Sullivan has now trained 14 winners, with eight of those victories coming in the past six meetings, and yesterday's effort of three wins from four runners helped boost that strike rate further.
Derby hopeful Napa II, promising newcomer Brave Heart and the gutsy Amazing Journey all saluted the judge in what was a terrific start to 2010 for the stable.
'It's a great year so far,' O'Sullivan said. 'Napa wants to race over further for sure, and I'll be paying the entry fee for the Derby with him just in case.
'I think he'll end up a mile and a quarter [2,000m] horse, but he still wants to pull a bit and, once he learns to settle, he'll be a better stayer.
'He hit a flat spot again today, but once he is held back off midfield I think it will let him hit the line even better,' he added.
O'Sullivan also pointed to the horse's overall record to suggest he has the quality necessary to tackle a Derby campaign.
'He has had seven starts for three wins and four placings, and has been a very consistent horse over what haven't been his ideal distances,' he said.
'I think we have to just keep stepping him up in grade until we get to the bottom of his talent.'
O'Sullivan appears to have another potential-filled newcomer in Brave Heart, who dominated the first race and can progress through the grades, according to his trainer.
'He just has a bombproof temperament this horse, and it will take him a long way,' O'Sullivan said.
'He trialed well, and if you watched him work in the morning you'd say he could be anything, but we'll just let him go through his races and see where he gets to before we get carried away.
'He was bought as a yearling in New Zealand for NZ$350,000 [HK$1.97 million] and is obviously a very nicely bred son of Elvstroem, so it is nice that he has adapted to Hong Kong racing so readily.'
Amazing Journey was the meat in O'Sullivan's treble sandwich and produced a gutsy win in the Mount Parker Handicap with apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun in the saddle. 'He's a top class, Class Four horse,' O'Sullivan joked. 'Whenever he goes around in this class he runs well, but he could pop up in a Class Three race if he gets the race run to suit one day.'