Newcomer Eagle Regiment ready to soar
More than a few newcomers caught the eye on debut at Sha Tin on Sunday, but none more so than Eagle Regiment in the Class Four Samsung Handicap (1,000m).
The Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained three-year-old lived up to his eye-catching trackwork and trials with a solid performance to go down by a half-length to The Prince.
He gave himself a good deal to do after spotting the field nearly three lengths after jumping poorly, but Olivier Doleuze quickly gathered him up and had him jogging ahead of midfield and, with only Fair Navigator travelling underneath him at the 700m, was placed under a hustling ride at the 400m, drew stride-for-stride with The Prince for the lead at the 200m before his condition gave way in the final 20m.
He will certainly come on for the run and will be hard to beat, no matter where he makes his next start.
He is a son of the Conquistador Cielo sire El Moxie - better known as the sire of the legendary sprinter Silent Witness - and his mother Fire Lake is a winner of six races from 1,000m to 1,400m.
Eagle Regiment's near-term pedigree says he is a sprinter, but digging a lot deeper, his fifth dam, Rain Bird, was a 1945 winner of the Melbourne Cup and the dam of a South Australian Oaks winner. He is a strong stamp of horse, weighing in at 1,195 pounds with a good appearance and precocious bloodline that should see him excelling over a sprint-to-mile distance and be competitive on the all-weather track as well.
He appears to be going places and is well on his way to recouping the A$150,000 (HK$1,160,000) price tag that Man put the hammer down for from the Magic Millions 2009 National Horses in Training Sale at Gold Coast in Australia, the same sale he picked up another up-and-comer in King Of Fish II.
From the same race, John Size's debutant Elusive Prince - son of the effective sire Elusive City - battled on for fourth after settling in the run to go under by 23/4 lengths. He has the makings of a nice type and should be heading higher in the ratings.
Trainer Almond Lee's Gift Is Gift has the potential to be something useful after a game first-up win in the Class Four Siemens Handicap (1,200m) and so does the Size-trained runner-up I Smell Money and David Ferraris' fourth-placed Lucky Chevalier.
I Smell Money as taken to to the lead after a box-seat trip and was nailed by Gift Is Gift, while Lucky Chevalier travelled three back and on the fence, pulled off heels of I Smell Money at the 200m and went to the line well.