Taverner ready to make his mark for lucky O'Sullivan
Paul O'Sullivan knows enough about the fluctuating luck of the racing game to accept the lucky break that seems to have come his way with the arrival in his yard of impressive Taverner.
Yesterday, Taverner handsomely won the fastest of two heats over the 1,050m all-weather track at Sha Tin under the guidance of Douglas Whyte.
The international sale graduate was transferred to O'Sullivan after four runs for David Hall, but it has to be said Hall had the four-year-old looking a treat and he won his first two starts in grand fashion before Taverner missed the jump and never threatened in his final start for the Aussie trainer.
That's the merry-go-round in this part of the world and O'Sullivan has experienced enough of the other side to accept an incoming transfer with good grace.Taverner, a 85-rater, hasn't missed a beat since and has been coming along nicely with a series of smart gallops.
He travelled strongly throughout, with Whyte never asking the son of Flying Spur to extend himself. He shaded Charitable Star turning for home and went under his own steam in the final 400m to hold off fast-finishing Penglai Xianzi, with New King Prawn another to catch the eye third.
Taverner stopped the watch privately at 69.9, significantly faster than the Jockey Club's official time of 1.01.4 and five seconds quicker than the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained Carissima 15 minutes later on the dirt.
Tony Cruz may have another nice horse in Love Lockdown, who arrived with a rating of 90 after winning four races from seven starts as a two-year-old in Ireland. He has already made a big impression in the mornings and his trial (second heat) win indicated he is ready for a big debut effort.
He showed plenty of improvement this time under Matthew Chadwick, clocking 59.7 down the straight, with Shifachi Tradition and Euro Power finishing second and third.
Fourth placegetter Elite Of Chiu Ton, from the Tony Millard yard, also impressed with his powerful finishing burst. The British import won his only two starts as a two-year-old at Carlisle and Ascot, but has been at Sha Tin since August 2008 and it appears the four-year-old is only now acclimatised.
He was at the rear with 500m to go and when Jeff Lloyd asked for an effort he let down nicely. It was his second encouraging trial appearance.