Witness Crown-ing moment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2011, 12:00am


Crown Witness relished his debut outing at Happy Valley and his first step up to a mile last start, and the bulky Tony Cruz-trained galloper makes huge appeal as a banker in the middle leg of tomorrow night's HK$8.7 million jackpot Triple Trio.

Matthew Chadwick took the initiative on the front-runner last run and utilised the Cruz polish to stretch his rivals with some solid early sectionals.

Crown Witness fought on well in the straight, but the race was won earlier as Chadwick utilised his horse's stamina to run his rivals ragged and take the sting out of their final sprint.

His last-start 1 1/4-length win came over the 'B' Course and, with the rail moved to the 'C+3' this time, Crown Witness looks an even stronger proposition in the Cricket Club Valley Stakes (1,650m).

Chadwick will have been tickled pink to receive barrier two, and should have little trouble scooting to lead on the rail, with only Elephant Cheers to cross early.

Crown Witness had too much early speed for the John Size-trained Flora Danica, and Mark du Plessis is more likely to take a sit from a good barrier this time in the hope that recent racing has taken the fierceness out of Flora Danica's demeanour.

Bouncer has been racing well and gets stronger jockey Tye Angland and the tongue tie replaced for this run, but he will need to make up a lot of ground on Crown Witness from the turn.

Sunrise (Douglas Whyte) and Wo Ai Ninn (Jeff Lloyd) may find themselves in the same boat as Bouncer, and would need a soft tempo and a condensed, sit-sprint affair to be any chance of making the required ground in the straight.

Ricky Yiu Poon-fai has had an outstanding season with 45 winners to sit fifth on the trainers' table and he can add to that tally with the lightly raced Honour List in the opening leg.

Honour List will be sporting the visor for the first time and, from gate 11 in a race lacking obvious speed, connections will not be in two minds about what to do at the start. Expect the astute Alex Lai Hoi-wing to drive Honour List straight to the lead with 117 pounds on his back.

Sitting on his shoulder will be Chater Power and Whyte, and the pair will be keen to finally convert on an overdue victory after three minor placings this season.

Super General (Zac Purton) and El Grande (Brett Prebble) make appeal from good draws and might land closer in the run, while Star Of Fame and Classic Figure are also worthy of consideration.

The final leg gives the Caspar Fownes-trained Many Gains another chance to improve on his already stellar season, which has yielded three wins and a placing since the horse moved to Fownes' yard four starts ago.

Fownes has lifted the gelding to a ratings peak of 62 and has now turned to his trusty apprentice, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, in a bid to extract another win from the Fusaichi Pegasus gelding. After Ho's claim, Many Gains will carry 110 pounds, and if he can get the horse away from the gates cleanly and drive to the front from barrier 10, the in-form galloper will take plenty of gunning down.