Polar Star leads Wong five-star performance
POLAR Star spearheaded an amazing Wong Tang-ping-trained five-timer on Ladies' Day at Sha Tin yesterday with a breathtaking rout of his opposition.
The American-bred private purchase griffin circled his field from barrier 12 in the third event, was buffeted even further wide coming out of the bottom bend, yet still cleared away for a dominant 41/4 length success from Able Monarch in a lightning quick time.
Polar Star's one minute 22.2 for the 1,400 metres not only eclipsed Lucky Century's previous best for 1,400 metres in Class Three, it was also 0.2 seconds faster than Concert King's Class Two record for the trip and only 0.6 seconds slower than the all-time record for the distance held jointly by Gilgit and Winning Partners.
It was a victory which oozed quality and Wong revealed after racing: 'I didn't really know how good he was.
'Now I'm hoping he is going to develop into a really good horse and I mean really good.' Wong trained one of the all-time greats of the Hong Kong turf in Co-Tack and he didn't mind venturing the view that Polar Star could well develop along the same lines.
'After this run I'm at least hoping he will become as good as another of my top Class One horses like Carry On Winning and who knows how good he might eventually be.
'I stress I'm hoping but then you have to after a win like this.
'It's not just me, either. After Darryll Holland rode Polar Star in a trial down the straight 1,000-metre course the other day, he came back really, really impressed by him.' Julie Krone, too, shared everyone's huge opinion of the son of Maudlin. Asked which of the horses she rode yesterday impressed her most, she replied: 'Let's put it this way. If there was one horse I could take home it would have to be Polar Star. I really enjoyed him.' This comes against the background of Krone also scoring on Wong's Class One handicapper, Northern Fire Ball in the second event.
Wong will now look for a mile or a 1,400-metre race for Polar Star who is an entry in the International Bowl.
The Bowl is likely to come too soon for the lightly-raced three-year-old who was only starting for the fifth time in his life.
Polar Star had ended his griffin campaign with a third to You Bet and Quick Action in the Kukri Trophy.
That form is beginning to look pretty smart for the winner, You Bet, as well as Polar Star, who was unsuited by the 1,200 metres.
You Bet's trainer Patrick Biancone had his first real setback of the season with the eclipse of another of his Derby hopes, Royal King Prawn in the second, but at least he could leave the course wondering at just how good his You Bet is going to be.
He will have to be smart to catch up with Polar Star who was not trained so hard as You Bet last season.
Wong's other three winners came courtesy of the progressive Miss Piggy in the feature Ladies' Purse, Top Performance in the sixth and Star Of Marble in the eighth.
The trainer was quick to praise in-form apprentice Simon 'Hong Kong' Yim who rode a copybook race on Miss Piggy. 'He rode exactly to my instructions,' said Wong.
Wong had offered the mount to Krone but she opted for Winning Chance who ran three-quarters of a length second.
Third-placed Time Fit battled on well for third, just tipping Wonderful Way out of the tierce spot in the final bound.
Jockey John Marshall was of the view that Time Fit was a little unlucky in running and could improve over farther.
Top Performance was scoring for the second time in two outings this season and Wong pointed to both he and Star Of Marble as improving types.
Top Performance won by a facile 31/2 lengths from Big Mac, the favourite, who found nothing off the bit. Big Mac may be suited by a drop back in distance. He could just be an out-and-out sprinter.
David Hill's Top-Worth, a smooth winner of his only start as a griffin, was all the rage in the eighth as the public forced him down to 2-1 favouritism.
He had every chance in the run but only stayed on at one pace to finish just behind the placegetters as Vickie C. W. Choi brought Star Of Marble with a well-timed run.