Millard's latest looks a prospect
Tony Millard comes off a fine month of February with a winning strike rate of nearly 17 per cent from 36 starters and will have been pleased with the debut performance of Uwillbeglorious in the Class Three Merlion Handicap (1,200m) at the first Sunday meeting in March.
Uwillbeglorious had four starts in New Zealand under the same name for trainer Gareth McRae. He finished third in his first three starts over 1,200m on wet tracks at Ruakaka and Te Rapa, then finished second at Tauranga before opening his account in a 16-runner maiden for three-year-olds as the favourite with a step up to 1,400m on a yielding track at Ruakaka.
Millard gave Uwillbeglorious three barrier trials, showing nothing in a January 17 heat over the straight 1,000m, before weakening after showing pace 18 days later at Happy Valley. He then put his best foot forward with a move to blinkers for an all-the-way win two weeks ago up the Sha Tin straight.
Sporting the face mask on raceday, Uwillbeglorious was caught deep early on for Mark du Plessis, eventually found some cover behind midfield, rounded the final bend six lengths behind and, with only Super Goodies wider out, made good ground to finish 23/4 lengths away from winner Keen Marie.
He is a four-year-old son of versatile Danehill sire Keeper, a Group One Goodwood Handicap winner of seven races from 1,200m to 1,600m in his native Australia and has produced a remarkable 25 winners from his 30 runners in Hong Kong, including the likes of Special Days, Happy Guys and St Didar.
His dam is unraced Kaapstad mare New Star, who has produced four winners over varying distances from her five previous foals that have started, including full-sister For Keeps, who is a three-time winner from 1,100m to 1,400m in Australia; Feeling Cross (by Cape Cross), winner of three from 1,500m to 2,200m; and Big Einstein (by Centaine), a winner at 3,600m and 4,000m in New Zealand. New Star is also a half-sister to Wyndam Special, a Listed VRC Red Roses Stakes winner among her three sprint wins and a runner-up in the Group Two VATC Sandown Guineas.
Uwillbeglorious appears from his pedigree and looks to be a galloper that will improve when stepping up over longer journeys and is versatile enough to cope on both surfaces and courses. He should also excel on wet tracks.