Kharu makes massive noises
Trainer Peter Ho Leung has got the season off to a good start with two winners and six placings from 14 runners and his Class Four youngster Kharu put himself into the Black Book with a sound effort for second at Happy Valley on Wednesday night over the 1,000m.
He wasn't ready on the business end of things as a griffin last season, beaten more than 10 lengths in each of his four outings at Sha Tin, but appears to have come back from the break with a better mindset for racing.
In the eight-horse field, Kharu was given a quiet time early on, wedged between runners and worse than midfield under the handling of Alex Lai Hoi-wing. He was seven lengths off the leader Megabucks at the top of the straight but dashed nicely to take second in the final bound, clocking a good split of 22.53 seconds.
It's interesting that his best performance came over the 1,000m as his pedigree suggests a runner with an affinity for much further.
The three-year-old is a son of Marju, better known in these parts as the sire of the champion stayer Indigenous, crossed with a bottom half of the family that is bred to stay all day. His second dam, Mountain Lodge is the winner of the 1983 Irish St Leger over 2,800m, while his dam, the Shirley Heights mare High Barn has produced two runners by Zilzal, who have won over 12 furlongs (2,400m) and over hurdles at 16 furlongs (3,200m).
Off a rating of 49, Kharu has plenty of upside potential and will show his true colours for his artist/actor owner Natalis Chan Pak-cheung when connections decide to step him up in distance.
Another runner worth taking home is Best Military, who finished an unlucky fifth behind Fun Rider in Race Six, a Class Three affair over the 1,650m.
The Danny Shun Chap-shing-trained five-year-old jumped best of all from gate one before handing up and tracking the expected leaders Regency Winner and Silver Sun. But unfortunately for his rider Zac Purton, Best Military never got his run and was pocketed behind the leading pair in the stretch drive, only getting out when the race was all over to finish fifth.
Best Military, a 2009 runner-up in the Manawatu Classic (NZ-G3, 2,000m), had done little in his first three runs last season before staying on fourth best in early April over the Valley mile. However, after coming up lame the morning after racing, Shum decided to cut short his campaign.
With the summer recess under his belt, the son of Redoute's Choice appears to be well into his acclimatisation process and, off a current rating of 71 (11 less than his initial mark), should be picking up some major prize money over 1,600m to 2,000m for his trainer's syndicate.