Rispoli sings in the rain
Italian jockey Umberto Rispoli rode five of the 11 trial winners at Sha Tin yesterday, four of them for Tony Millard, including the last three on the dirt for the South African trainer.
Building on the momentum of his recent breakthrough double, Rispoli punched home Manfred Man Ka-leung's Dragimova, before riding True Courage, Masquerader, Danzulu and Uwillbeglorious for Millard.
Dragimova was given a rev up by Rispoli to dash from the rear to take his 1,000m turf trial, the three-year-old looking ready for the races after his fourth local trial, following one in Australia.
Unraced three-year-old True Courage had three early season trials and was stepping out with other horses for the first time since December last year. He equipped himself well, sporting a shadow roll as he clocked splits of 23.9 and 22.9 for an overall time of 46.8, tearing along the grandstand rail to beat Me Tsui Yu-sak's Green Eagle by 31/4 lengths.
The final turf trial of the morning saw an all-star line-up of eight Audemars Piguet QE II and BMW Champions Mile hopefuls contest a 1,600m hit-out, with Dan Excel (Brett Prebble) pushed to lead home a group which produced no surprises.
The three all-weather trials may have been more revealing, with Masquerader producing another exceptional display on the surface.
Millard may consider heading to the dirt with the Australian Group Two winner, after two disappointing runs on the grass, with the athletic four-year-old showing a liking for the inner track.
Solid rain didn't stop Masquerader from zipping along in front and then kicking away in a slick time of 1.01.0 for the 1,050m, clockers hand-timing his final 600m and 200m in 33.9 and 11.6.
Danzulu is a recent stable transfer from David Hall and was pushed along to win after sitting wide in his trial, while Uwillbeglorious also sat three deep and managed to get home the best in his heat.