After a busy trial schedule last week, it was a relatively quiet morning at Sha Tin yesterday with only one barrier trial over 1,050 metres on the all-weather. John Moore had the first two past the post, with Strong Win coming home by a head from dirt specialist Winning Counter.
Both were impressive, but Winning Counter looked to have finished off the trial in a slightly stronger manner. The son of Geiger Counter remains in good condition and looks open to further improvement. John Egan always had plenty of horse underneath him and his good association with Winning Counter looks set to continue.
Wong Tang-ping's Splendid Patrol showed his customary speed in the trial and was not pressured at any stage by claimer Vincent Sit as he eventually wound up in third position. His trial was fair, but he may have been working a shade better prior to his last run.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fie's Eastern Express was given a quiet trial by Eric Saint-Martin back in fourth place and is ticking over nicely at present. After turning into the home straight well back in the field, the improving son of Red Ransom made steady ground. He has been a consistent sort this season, with three wins and as many second placings from seven starts. Judging from his trial, his winning ways are far from over.
Of the rest, Toy Warrior looked on good terms with himself just behind the leading bunch.
Looking forward to the weekend, David Oughton's Magic Hands came through his final serious gallop with flying colours. He cruised over 800 metres in 51.5 seconds, striding out stylishly in the final quarter in 23.3 seconds. The son of Pompeii Court is a winner of four races this season and could easily add to his impressive tally based on his work.
Alex Wong Siu-tan's maiden Masterpiece is a winner waiting to happen and he glided over 1,200 metres in one minute and 15.6 seconds in a highly encouraging piece of work. Wong clearly has the son of Senor Pete in tip-top shape at present, and there is every possibility that he can shrug off his maiden status this weekend.
Alex Wong Yu-on's Good Chance, who is entered in the 1,150-metre dirt contest this weekend, worked in superb fashion on the Riverside on Monday. His recent efforts on the all-weather have been creditable and he should be able to handle the rise in grade.