Young bloods able to get Lee back in groove
Trainer Almond Lee hasn't enjoyed the best of seasons with only 18 winners on the board, but he can take comfort from some of the new bloods he has, and Red Lucky Star and Happy Score left no doubt that they will be among them.
Red Lucky Star showed massive improvement at his second outing as he hit the line with plenty of merit, despite having had cast his left front plate in the run. The three-year-old was a 17-1 shot under Zac Purton in the Flamingo Handicap (1,200m). He jumped nicely from the widest 10 barrier to slot in second on the fence behind The Prince, angled out for a clear path, worked to the lead 200m out and was overhauled in the final 10m for the win by Cat Storm.
It was no surprise the gelding ran well as he had caught the eye in his trials and workouts prior to his first-up outing on April 9 and for this run.
With only 15 meetings to go, Lee will have him ticking along nicely and have him ready for a good assault next campaign.
He raced as Sirrio in New Zealand for trainer Lance Noble, winning his opening start over the 880m on a yielding track at Ellerslie, before staying on for two listed seconds from his next six starts, including a neck effort behind Victoria Derby hero, Lion Tamer, over the 1,100m at Pukekohe.
Red Lucky Star, who arrived on a mark of 74, is a son of Captain Rio, a Group-winning sprinter at Maisons-Laffitte in France and is the sire of four winners from eight local starters, including Class Three performers Euro Power and Master Rio.
His dam, the Clay Hero mare Lacy Tops was a four-time winner at 1,200m to 1,400m and has produced two winners from three other starts from 1,200m to 1,800m.
Happy Score encountered a chequered passage in the straight, but still got up to take third at a massive price of $1,070 in the Phoenix Handicap (1,400m).
Happy Score had shown little in his educational runs on both surfaces but, after some good workouts, appreciated a step up to the 1,400m with Keith Yeung Ming-lun on board.
The four-year-old was rated behind midfield and on the fence, was steadied at the 200m by Sunshine Kid, before finishing off well for third behind the winner Lucky Nistelrooy.
He is son of the versatile Keeper and the Zabeel mare Stareel (a daughter of the champion three-year-old filly in New Zealand in 1991-92) and is also a brother to Toweezy, a four-time winner at a mile.
Happy Score has a pedigree that will improve with maturity and will be scoring at a mile to 1,800m.
- Almond Lee may be having a quiet season, but he has some smart youngsters to increase his win tally