Zeal helps Hall carry on the good work
The early season rejuvenation of the David Hall yard continued last night at Happy Valley with another promising type continuing his emergence for the Australian trainer.
Carry The Zeal made it three wins from five starts with a tidy come from behind win in a Class Three Handicap (1,200m).
Hall had a below par 2010-11, but has indicated early this season that his stable could be on the right path to redemption.
Sunday at Sha Tin Hall revealed debut winner B Choice and although Carry The Zeal has been well-exposed already, his first-up victory showed he had improved in the off-season.
Brett Prebble had the five-year-old settled near the rear and had to skirt wide on the turn, where he still spotted the leaders more than three lengths. He made up the ground surprisingly quickly to score by half a length.
Hall indicated the gelding would learn plenty from an excursion to the city track. 'It was a good win he got well out of his ground and he is still learning how to race,' he said.
'I think he has taken a bit more of a step from last year - so he is still on the right side of the ladder. He is heading up and hopefully there are more wins in store for him.'
Prebble hoped the horse, rated 73 before last night, would stay in the same grade, for now.
'He probably wants to stay in this grade again before he goes against better grade horses,' he said. 'He's only a little horse and 126 pounds is probably maxing him out at the weights but he did a good job' 'Hopefully he will stay in Class Three.'
It seemed Carry The Zeal was a tad slow away, but Hall said that was by design as he expected there to be speed in the race, which he got.
'We didn't think we'd get a position from barrier seven, but we do think he'll be able to take a position when he does draw well.
'He has shown he will be a pretty versatile horse and we can look forward to a bit more distance with him,' Hall said.
He has certainly got a good future in Hong Kong.' Jockey Oliver Doleuze grabbed an early double, one of them for trainer Richard Gibson, who continued to impress in his first Hong Kong season. The former French-based Englishman now has three winners, two of them from last night's Class Five winner Easy Gold.
Doleuze rides much of Gibson's work and they had combined in the jockey's homeland previously.
'I'm very happy to have ridden a winner for him,' Doleuze said.
'His stable is going very well and his horses are going very well. You always have a doubt when you have this situation, he has dropped along way into the ratings.
Howard Cheng Yue-tin also rode a double, which included a sensational last-to-first effort on Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Cheer in a Class Two Handicap (1,650m).
Cheer is a real Happy Valley specialist, never unplaced in eights tries and having won four times. But he had to use every inch of the tight track to overhaul leader Penglai Xianzi late. 'This horse is very special here,' Yip said.
'He is very honest. I was surprised at the win because the outside of the track didn't seem that good.' A couple of form turnarounds confounded punters in races three and four, with wins to Private Road and Shibala.
Trainer Caspar Fownes credited some 'good old Aussie vigour' from jockey Tye Angland for Private Road's win. The win of Owners' Glory took Danny Shum Chap-sing to the top of the trainer's premiership with eight wins.
'He is a late maturing horse. When I start to work him he is coming good. He can get further. But there are only two distances I can race him over, 1,800m and 2,000m, because I want to race him here,' Shum said.
'He is a small horse and suitable for here, for Sha Tin you need a big strong horse.' The key was the ride of Darren Beadman in the Class Three win. The horse usually gets back, but he found the one-out one-back position the first time around.
'He is still a bit fresh ... he jumped into the bridle and put himself there and that probably won him the race.'