Size can plunder more Treasure
John Size has ended 2010 firing on all cylinders with a three-timer on Monday at Sha Tin, and National Treasure looks certain to be saluting the judge in the new calendar year after a sound performance in the Class Two Ho Chung Handicap over an unsuitable 1,000m.
Douglas Whyte niggled him along to hold a prominent position in the second tier of runners in the centre of the track from gate three, was asked for an effort under a hands-and-heels ride at the 400m and came up a stride short of gunning down Super Boy for second in his season debut.
National Treasure stamped himself as a promising type in eight outings last season and this first-up run helped to cement that status. He chalked up four wins over 1,400m (Sha Tin) and over 1,650m (Happy Valley) and four placings, while rising 34 points to a mark of 86.
The four-year-old son of Pins and the Centaine mare Trigon Lass is a half-brother to Prevaricate - a multiple winner from 1,500m to 1,800m. His dam Trigon Lass is a sister to Listed winner Centie Lassiea - and Me Centie, a Group Two-placed winner and half-sister to Dansing Fun - a former local performer who was a 1,400m winner under the guidance of Tony Millard.
National Treasure was well prepared for his first-up task, including four nice trials. The patient handling may prove the key for this fellow, who has bigger things on his mind - including a possible shot at Derby glory in March.
Chater Mikado, who encountered a brutal trip, caught the eye when flashing home to finish sixth - only 11/4 lengths behind upset winner Happy Prestige.
The David Ferraris-trained four-year-old made his run second from the rear and two-off the outside fence after copping a bump at the break from El Zonda, was held-up at the 450m until shifting to the centre of the track for a clear run at the 250m and finished off nicely.
Chater Mikado was a wellperformed import, who raced under the name The Mikado in Australia for trainer Tim Martin, where he won three races including the Listed Eskimo Stakes at Randwick over 1,200m.
Almond Lee won't be far off a win with the lightly raced Tomodachi after a much-improved performance behind impressive winner Shibala in the Class Four Yim Tin Tsai Handicap (1,200m).
He was backed and beaten behind Supreme Taiji after racing fiercely in his debut 29 days earlier over the 1,000m at Happy Valley for Whyte, but travelled a lot better for Zac Purton with the addition of a pacifier and hood.
The four-year-old is a son of the speed influence Bertolini and is the first foal of the Grosvenor mare Full Of Class, who was a winner at 2,200m.
Tomodachi is still learning, but the chestnut should be finding his way into the winner's circle in a sprint race up to 1,400m.
New Leader never looked a threat in the Class Four Sai Wan Shan Handicap (1,400m), but his effort gave the impression that he is ready for a bounce off his rating of 47.
Whyte had little option and rode him for luck from a wide gate, straightened widest out with a good deal of work ahead and the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained four-year-old ran on well to finish a distant fifth behind Sammy's Falcon with a return to blinkers.