David Hall will be pleased after watching Algarve make mincemeat of his trial rivals at Happy Valley last Friday as the five-year-old confirmed he is ready to make up for lost time following his bleeding attack in October.
Hall has Algarve ticking along nicely in his trackwork, with sharp and steady gallops since the talented but injury-plagued gelding's setback.
It was his second trial appearance and Brett Prebble made sure the horse had a good blow-out over 1,200m, against the likes of up-and-coming Exceptional Art, Cheer, Sichuan Success and Kyara. He was prominently placed behind the leaders and, once turning for home, showed the acceleration in which he won four races in a row in his brief eight-start career.
The son of Encosta de Lago clocked 1.14.45 and won by 2? lengths, with Exceptional Art keeping on well for second, and Cheer and Kyara doing their best work late, but a further two and four lengths behind respectively.
Noble Conqueror got the morning off to a solid start as Caspar Fownes targets one more win for the eight-year-old before the season is out. The Valley specialist showed his rivals a clean pair of heels to score by a whopping 61/2 lengths, with first-up flop Emperor Claudius from the John Size yard keeping on well to the line.
Fownes has mapped out a 1,800m event at the June 8 meeting at the city course for his 10-time winner and Noble Conqueror will take a power of beating.
Tomodachi may be enjoying a change of scenery since his frustrated connections moved the four-year-old to the Francis Lui Kin-wai stable. He led all the way for Zac Purton to win the 1,200m heat under a nice hold, but it was Shibala who caught the eye with a sweeping move to finish second.
Prebble had the four-year-old tucked in midfield and cruising throughout. The Manfred Man Ka-leung-trained galloper looks ready to get back on track after he failed to follow up on his impressive first-up performance.
The star attraction of yesterday's heats at Sha Tin was Size's unbeaten Entrapment, who is shaping up for his long-awaited return.
Entrapment swept all before him in an outstanding start to his career last term, but a mystery ailment has kept him sidelined, stopping him from improving on his already lofty 115 rating. The gelding finished 11/2 lengths second to Jade Molly, but will have pleased all by simply striding out on to the track.