A couple of youngsters from the Alex Wong Siu-tan stable went down as future winners during a busy morning's work for the veteran local trainer.
Legend's Glory has already run three times for the master staying mentor, needing it first time out on the dirt and then running two much better races. Last time out he was a close fourth to Dynamic Winnings over the Valley mile in a race where the slow tempo wouldn't have suited him. The Valley itself wouldn't be his track either, certainly not at this embryonic stage of his career.
Since that outing under Douglas Whyte on December 23, the South African has continued to ride him in his most serious hitouts. Whyte, in the midst of making a determined bid for his first Hong Kong title, was on board again yesterday as Legend's Glory came through a solid 1,200 metres in company with Billion Delight in a strong one minute and 17.3 seconds.
Legend's Glory is almost certainly going to get farther than a mile and a return to Sha Tin's more galloping expanses is likely to see him translate this increasingly promising work into raceday performance.
Masterpiece was the other to catch the eye from Wong's stable. He has trialled and looks a first-season import with a very bright future. Yesterday he was untroubled to come through his 1,200 metres in 1:20.2 under the yard's assistant trainer.
Friday's are usually a busy day for the David Oughton stable and yesterday was no exception with the former talented apprentice Martin C.K. Tsang riding a great deal of the most serious pieces. Tsang had looked to have a bright future as a 10- and seven-pound claimer before rather falling by the wayside. He must be a big help to Oughton in the mornings as he retains a most polished sit.
Yesterday Tsang worked Holy Wine in a fluent piece with American Win while Buck's Fizz, under Whyte yesterday, is most definitely one to follow from the stable.
There were two barrier trials over 1,200 metres on the all-weather track yesterday and while horses can improve dramatically for a change in stables, it may be wise not to get too carried away by Plantinum Express taking the opening heat for his new trainer Derek Cruz. Working has never been Plantinum Express' problem. He put in some scintillating morning displays when with Peter Chapple-Hyam but seemed to lack resolution when under the intensity of full racing pressure.
It could be more profitable to keep tabs on Geoff Lane's first-season New Zealand import Slotop, who made all in the second trial under senior work rider Simon H.K. Yim. Slotop badly needed his debut run but has appeared to have progressed markedly since and may not be too far away in his next couple of starts.
SHA TIN DIRT TRIAL RESULTS
First trial _ 1,200m: 1, PLATINUM EXPRESS (A. Starke); 2, Indy's Gem (Y. T. Cheng); 3, Night Star (C. K. Tsang). Others (in finishing order): Ace Of Pace, New Trumps, Lyphard's Lad, Super Performance, Triumphant Smile, Industrial Pioneer, Shine Of Kowloon, My Favourite. Time: 1:12.7 (24.5). Distances: .5 length, short head. Winner trained by Derek Cruz.
Second trial _ 1,200m: 1, SLOTOP (H. K. Yim); 2, Lucky Goal (R. Fradd); 3, Victory Marble (K. C. Tsang). Others (in finishing order): Northern Gold Ball, Palladio, Mascot, Red Pepper, Natural Flight, Grand Fighter. Time: 1:12.8 (25.0). Distances: Neck, neck. Winner trained by Geoff Lane.