Extra distance will encourage Lionheart to roar for DT
TOPWEIGHT Lionheart will appreciate the step up to 1,400 metres and looks the one that matters most in the second leg of the Double Trio at Sha Tin's meeting tomorrow night.
Lionheart resumed after a break 10 days ago and ran a most encouraging second over the longer sprint and that came about after an early check in the race.
There is little doubt, too, that Lionheart will be much better for that run. He had worked well before the last race but there is nothing like a good, hard race to bring a horse on and a perfect example of this from trainer David Hill can be drawn from River Serein.
The mare resumed after a very long break in a 1,235-metre event at the Valley and backed up on Wednesday to win over 1,650 metres. Distance and fitness played their respective parts in her win and much the same will be the case with Lionheart.
There are a number of them involved in this Class Three, 1,400-metre event who just aren't in good enough form to be considered reliable chances and Lionheart does stand out as a banker for the second leg of the popular bet.
But the Derek Cruz-trained Leprechuan has been going well in the morning and the stable is running into form. The gelding is badly drawn but in a race where there are not that many solid chances.
About the only other runner really going well in the mornings is the Wong Tang-ping galloper, Star Of Marble.
In most seasons, the bigger stables all get their turn and Ping's yard is currently in very good form. Star Of Marble has been responsible for some eye-catching recent work and is going to be rock hard and ready to run a top race here.
In lesser company, he has quickened up at the end of his races like a really good horse and he should pass the test here. Overall, Lionheart has the more solid form in better company but Star Of Marble could run him close and is certainly a must for a DT leg.
Sandal Emperor is a moody customer but at his best would be some hope here.
The featured Piaget Gold Cup is the first leg of the Double Trio and this could develop into an interesting contest.
Deerfield looks the answer as far as the banker goes as the Neville Begg-trained galloper should finish in the first three.
But it took a hard ride from Mick Kinane to get him home last time and there are certainly doubts about him winning what is a competitive event. Lance O'Sullivan, who is enjoying a good stint, takes the ride.
Some of them here should be found out by the 1,900-metre trip but the improver could be Victory And Glory who ran a decent race behind Deerfield last time and has definitely come on.
Our Pal will be ridden by Greg Childs for Derek Cruz and the Derby contender of this year put in a shocker last time out. It was a run almost too bad to be true and it might be better to play safe with this fellow and put him in.
And don't leave out Fortune Leader. Trainer Hill has turned to Rambo Tse Wai-ho to ride his Irish import who is also likely to strip fit and ready to run a mighty race here.
Last start winner Ready is clearly the other chance as his form is faultless.