An early morning downpour meant Sha Tin's all-weather track got the chance to live up to its name as just eight horses were sent around to trial in abysmal conditions, one of them recent stable transfer Fatboy Sugar, out to clear his name for new trainer Derek Cruz.
With dirt turning to mud in freezing conditions, the three scheduled trials were amended to two after 12 of the 20 nominated runners were withdrawn.
Fatboy Sugar (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) powered through the slosh in the first 1,050m heat, his fourth trial outing since an atrocious last-start effort.
The five-year-old, who has struggled in Class Three since making the jump early last season was stepping up to 1,400m for the first time on International Day when he took control of Zac Purton approaching the middle stages.
It turned out to be his last start for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, and his new trainer has worked overtime in getting the gelding, who has always been a handful, to relax in the run.
An array of head gear has been tried, but a combination of hood and blinkers seems to have been settled on and the horse responded well again yesterday.
Tong pushed Fatboy Sugar to lead and his strode along purposively, particularly through the middle section, where he clocked 22.7, eventually crossing the line in a time of 1.03.2, more than two seconds faster than the other heat.
Silver Grecian (Umberto Rispoli) ran on into third, trialling to the satisfaction of stewards after a first-up flop.
The grey had finished second last over 1,400m in his first run since returning from a Melbourne Spring campaign and was found to have substantial blood in his trachea.Topics: Michael Cox Derek Cruz Tong Chi-Kit Tong Chi-Kit Michael.Cox@Scmp.Com