As individuals, they don't come much nicer than the David Oughton-trained Plenty Success. It is hard to tell at this embryonic stage whether he's destined for the top of the staying ranks as stayers, by their very nature, don't show too much brilliance in their work. But as a type he is a very prepossessing, striking individual and he's so laid back in his work that he's almost horizontal. It's evens each the two as to who is the cooler character, Plenty Success or his jockey Mick Kinane. The great 10-time Irish champion was on board yesterday morning, putting Plenty Success through a solid 1,200-metre hitout in one minute and 19.3 seconds in preparation for next Wednesday night's Happy Valley meeting. Racing is back on the Happy Valley sandmesh and Plenty Success is due to contest a Class Three, 2,200-metre event.
It is a tough and competitive event for which the David Hayes-trained Echo Bay, a luckless runner-up last time out, is almost certain to jump favourite should he take his position in the field. Echo Bay's recent conqueror, The Greatest, is also in the entries and will take plenty of tickets, too, now that it is known how well he stays. Plenty Success comes into the race off the back of a dominant Class Four victory in which he beat Tremendous Way by 21/2 lengths. Wednesday night's race is much tougher, but the move from 1,800 to 2,200 metres should suit and yesterday's relaxed and fluent piece put him down as a definite tierce chance and likely to handle the progression from Class Four to Class Three. Friday is often a busy work morning for Oughton who received widespread publicity back in his native England for the 90-1 first-up triumph of Victory Star who was one of the top mile handicappers there last summer when racing as Missile.
It has put a buoyancy into the team and there was nothing wrong with the way his Gaylord or his Emphasis went yesterday morning. Gaylord ran well when third to Zambezi last weekend and could have further improvement to come. Oughton has been using the vastly experienced Brian Rouse, the former top British rider who is now out here doing such a fine job with the apprentices, to get Gaylord back on the right track and to stay. Gaylord had looked sour when missing the start badly for the second race running two outings ago, but Rouse took him through a trial and that set him up for last Sunday's good run. Yesterday Rouse popped him through 1,200 metres in 1:21.8 and Gaylord, who has slipped to a reasonable handicap mark compared to his best form of last season, is worth following.
Emphasis disappointed last time, having earlier been ridden to perfection by Kinane to take the Peninsula Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup over 2,000 metres. He is better than the run by Drifting Away suggests and has been working along well as Oughton appears determined to bring him patiently back to peak form. There was also one 1,150-metre all-weather trial yesterday morning. It was won in convincing style by the Wong Tang-ping-trained Amazing Grace who coasted home four lengths to the good of Gallant Middy. Ping's Fairy Fun ran third and should be respected in forthcoming Class Six events around his favoured 1,200-metre trip.
SHA TIN ALL-WEATHER TRIAL Trial result _ 1,150 metres: 1, AMAZING GRACE (W. M. Lai); 2, Gallant Middy (W. L. Ho); 3, Fairy Fun (C. W. Choi). Others (in finishing order): Sung Shan, Top Cat, Gold Mine, Can-Can, Full Energy. Time: 1.11.4 (25.0). Distances: 4 lengths, 21/2 lengths. Winner trained by Wong Tang-ping.