Gurus Dream and The Wand look the part
Ten-time champion jockey Douglas Whyte came away empty handed on Wednesday night at Happy Valley, but left the city venue glowing about the prospects of his two newest rides - the imports Gurus Dream and The Wand.
Trained by Dennis Yip Chor-hung, Gurus Dream arrived off a mark of 68 after a handy all-the-way win of his only overseas start at Arawa Park in New Zealand by four lengths over the 1,200m on a soft track. He was well found in the betting as the near 2-1 choice in the Class Three Dorset Handicap (1,200m) following some promising trials and trackwork.
Whyte had to use him up early to recover after a sluggish break and held a position in fifth along the fence, peeled out four deep rounding the final bend, worked to the front 100m out but could not repel the rush of promising Time After Time at the 50m mark. They spaced the rest of the field.
With this run under his belt, the four-year-old will take plenty of beating when next stepping out.
He is a bay son of Ishiguru, who was a classy Group sprinter in Ireland and has produced eight winners from 13 starters over 1,400m to 1,800m in Hong Kong. However, Gurus Dream must be the black sheep of the family, as his maternal line is quite ordinary. His dam, the Kessem mare Kessem's Dream never hit the board and her three previous foals have also come up empty.
The Wand, a 12-1 chance, spotted the field a good two lengths at the start in the Class Three Devon Handicap (1,000m), was niggled along to tack on at the 600m, straightened three deep and about six lengths off the leader Ride On The Fire. He was coming the best of all when he hit a wall of horses over the final 100m before going under by only 11/2 lengths in eighth.
The four-year-old chestnut gelding was trained in Australia by Robert Smerdon, where he was a winner of his only start in a good formline race against two-year-olds by a half-length over the 1,000m at Moonee Valley on a yielding track.
He is a son of the Group winning sprinter-miler Magic Albert, who has been responsible for the smart sprinter Vital Flyer and Good Strike from as many starters in Hong Kong.
His dam, the Centaine mare Centre, was a double winner at 1,100m and 1,200m and has produced five other short-course winners, including Regal Centre, a multiple Group-placed winner of 16 races up to 1,400m, and Mr Centrefold, a listed-placed, 11-time winner from 1,200m to 1,700m.