Fownes pair given solid workouts
Caspar Fownes left no doubt as to what he wanted from Eternal Fame and Longwah Kid as both horses were given thorough hit-outs at Friday's Sha Tin trials.
Brett Prebble on Eternal Fame, who was blinkered for the first time, and Tye Angland on his stablemate, were both given instructions to be aggressive on respective mounts.
Both jockeys wielded the whip in the third and final 1,200m dirt trial of the morning and kept their horses going right to the line.
Eternal Fame has been disappointing in his first two 1,200m starts, albeit in races where he has had to go back from wide barriers and showed little in a recent trial.
This time, he was placed under a firm hold right from the jump and was still last at the turn, where the aggressive Australian rider shook the four-year-old up scouted wide.
Eternal Fame was sixth at the furlong pole and spotting six lengths to Titanium Alloy (Weichong Marwing), who didn't finish off well after setting the speed. The time of 1.11.74 was by far the slowest of the morning, but Eternal Fame really showed some late zip and seemed to be responding in the right way to the new gear.
Eternal Fame has weighed in at 1,148 pounds at both of his runs and Friday's blow-out was his second trial showing in 10 days, so expect the gelding to strip fitter next time he appears on raceday.
He'll also be wearing the shades, which could make a world of difference off the Private Purchase Griffin's new mark of 50.
Longwah Kid wasn't given much rest by Angland, sent out to chase the leader, he then sat at his girth and was livened up his ride down the running.
The gelding arrived on a mark of 66, following a three-year-old maiden win in country Victoria, but it took 17 starts to notch his first domestic success.
The win was a Happy Valley Class Four off a mark of 46, and while Fownes was hopeful the horse had turned a corner, four fruitless efforts have him heading back down in the handicaps.
In the same trial, Paul O'Sullivan continued the slow and steady return from injury of last year's International Sales topper Celestialblessings (Jacky Tong Chi-kit).
Celestialblessings was a then-record HK$7.5 million purchase at last year's Hong Kong International Sales, equalling the previous mark, with both bettered this year by a HK$9 million acquisition.
O'Sullivan quickly identified the need for time with the large-framed type, and waited until October to produce him at the races. He was fifth under Douglas Whyte, travelling kindly enough to move into the box seat from a low barrier, but never got clear galloping room in the straight and went to the line untested.
A week later Celestialblessings was diagnosed with left upper suspensory injury and O'Sullivan took the weight off his expensive horse's legs right away.
After more than a month of swimming, the blue blood was cleared to return in early March and has now been given two trials.
On Friday, Tong let the horse relax and while he didn't respond right away in the straight, he worked home and ran through the line in solid style.
Celestialblessings' younger full brother Said Com is doing good things in Australia and may provide a guide as to what distances O'Sullivan will set his gelding for.
Said Com is a promising three-year-old in the stables of Sydney trainer Chris Waller and finished second in last month's (Group One) Randwick Guineas (1,600m) behind star filly Mosheen.