NZ Special shapes as stayer of distinction
By LAWRENCE WADEY
WINNER'S Special could well be adding to Wong Tang-ping's end-of-season haul, the way he has been working of late.
The New Zealand import has done very little since arriving last season to start his Hong Kong career from a rating of 84 in Class One.
But he has dropped steadily down the handicap scale after a series of unplaced efforts mainly at sprint distances and he's entered for a mile event in Class Three at Sha Tin next weekend.
The distance looks to be the key as much as the drop in the ratings for Winner's Special was noted staying on well last time over 1,400 metres in the race won by Jollity.
He again got behind in the run but made up significant late ground on the far rail to finish sixth of 14 in a manner which suggested he could do something when sent out over farther.
Since then his work has been something of a revelation. He has improved no end and has been beating virtually all his galloping partners.
He even went every bit as well as the top of Class Two-rated Full Speed Ahead in a strong piece on Tuesday morning, having pulled lengths and lengths clear of Everwell Times the week before in another solid hitout.
Yesterday Wong didn't ask Winner's Special to run any time but what he did, he did pleasingly, coming home in a very comfortable one minute 20.7 seconds, looking to go that much better than Super Class.
Wong also put a more searching piece into his private purchase griffins, America Supreme and Leading Star.
They gradually upped the tempo throughout to clock a fast 1:16.7 for their 1,200-metre gallop and both have improved significantly over the past month or so - as recent trial wins have indicated.
They have always shown ability. America Supreme could be the better medium-term prospect of the two as he seems to have more natural speed.
But Leading Star, who came in for enormous but misguided quinella support in his first griffin start, should be winning his fair share of races in due course.
Gary Ng Ting-keung's Dolphin looks another griffin with more than enough ability to be winning races.
He runs in this afternoon's second event and could easily inject some much-needed value into the quinella and tierce.
He's surprisingly well bred for a subscription griffin, being by Marscay out of Brief Courtship who won a couple of fair 1,400 metres races. Dolphin's second dam, Runaway Bride, won a South Australian Oaks and has done well at stud.
So full marks to Bill Burns and Kieran Moore for snapping up Dolphin at the sales at a price within the scope of the subscription griffin scheme.
He really is a better type than used to be sent up from Australia and was out and about yesterday, looking to have improved appreciably in himself for his creditable debut effort down the straight behind Hussar.
It's all a bit intangible but he just seems to have more of a confidence and a swagger about himself for that experience and it wouldn't surprise me at all should he run close this afternoon.
He also seems to have tightened up a fair bit for the sprint down the straight.
There were also two modest trials on the all-weather yesterday morning.
John Moore's Australian-bred private purchase griffin, Country Lad, looked a nice horse in the making when taking the second heat.
Peter Ng Bik-kuen has Arman's Sax back going well. The grey stayer made all to take the first in cosy fashion.