Warrior looks good catch for next season
Alex Wong Yu-on will be retiring after this season, but he appears to have unearthed a useful type in Lucky Warrior for some lucky trainer after the debutant turned in a brave effort in the Class Three Gallop Handicap (1,200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Lucky Warrior had a quick preparation, including an ordinary trial over the straight 1,000m earlier this month, and started at massive 67-1 odds from an awkward gate of 12 for Howard Cheng Yu-tin.
He went into the first bend five wide without any cover while prompting the pace, eased back to settle two lengths off the leaders at the 600m, rounded the final bend six deep before keeping up a good gallop to edge out pacesetter Win A Dozen for fourth - two lengths off four-time winner Gift Is Gift.
Lucky Warrior showed ability in three outings - a win (1,600m) and a second (1,200m) - in New Zealand as Xerxes for trainer Ashley Meadows.
The three-year-old is a son of retired Hong Kong performer Lord Of Warriors, who claimed the Group Three Happy Valley Trophy (1,200m) and Centenary Vase (2,200) under the guidance of Tony Cruz.
Lucky Warrior is also a brother to ultra-consistent Class Three performer Double Dragon, a speedy 1,400m winner and placed 10 times from 1,000m to 1,600m from 26 starts.
Weighing over 1,100m pounds, the gelding will make his sire the talk of the town by climbing up the ladder in no time.
Almond Lee's brightest star this season has clearly been Gift Is Gift, who remained unbeaten, but the stable's Celestial World put in a much-improved second-up performance with a commendable fifth in a Class Four over the 1,400m.
Celestial World jumped well, despite being fractious in the gate for his debut on May 21, and never made an impression behind Ponderosa over the Sha Tin straight.
For his latest contest, the 141-1 outsider was fitted with a hood and jumped with the field from gate four for Zac Purton. He rounded the final bend five wide in some traffic behind Panna and Super General, barged his way into the clear at the 200m before staying on well to finish a distant fifth - 5 1/4 lengths off winner Delish.
The three-year-old is a son of Traditionally, a Grade One winner in America at 1,600m and 1,800m and the sire of five winners from nine local starters, including Moonwalk and Ole Ole; combined with the sprint influential blood of St Covet mare La Serenade.
Celestial World is still learning the ropes, but will come on further for this run and prove effective next season up to a mile or possibly 1,800m. His connections should give the all-weather track a serious look according to his sire's pedigree.