Jun Dao repays Hall's faith
Trainer delighted as injury-plagued sprinter finds form, while Bubble Chic looks sharp, too
There was nothing simple about David Hall's first winner of the season - problem-plagued sprinter Jun Dao - nor anything smooth in the painstaking process of getting European import Bubble Chic into his stables and on to the track.
Jun Dao - a seven-year-old with worsening breathing and joint issues - was kept fresh for his seasonal debut and scorched rivals with an all-the-way straight course win, while Bubble Chic was a surprisingly sharp third over 1,400m, after nearly 12 months on the sidelines.
Hall's winner is the sort of animal that has trainers wondering why they do what they do, but feeling extremely satisfied when they win - Jun Dao's cause helped by a six-point rating drop in the off-season and a mid-meeting downpour.
"He came as a tried horse from New Zealand and, from day one, he has been a bit disappointing, through mainly his breathing problems, and more recently, towards the end of last season his form went right off because of his joints," Hall said. "He had joint problems at the end of last season, it was getting tough for him and I just thought down the straight for him might be easier." Matthew Chadwick was the right man for the job on Jun Dao, bouncing the gelding straight to the front and not letting up.
"He is a big horse and just needs to stride out," Chadwick said. "Hopefully they don't penalise him too much and he stays in Class Four."
The frustrations of getting Jun Dao right pale into insignificance compared with the problems Hall faced when importing Bubble Chic, who was to be aimed at last season's Group One Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby.
The French Derby runner-up was one of 30 horses in quarantine when one of the gallopers contracted the highly infectious upper respiratory tract infection strangles, and strict rules for importation meant his arrival was delayed three months.
Bubble Chic had the credentials to be a Derby contender, a second to Reliable Man in the French Derby, one of two Group One runner-up efforts, along with a Group Three win over 1,800m on his resume.
The small but athletic colt had trialled well, and his eye-catching run is likely to have the 97-rater among the fancies when he steps up to a more preferred distance.
"You just hope they run a decent race after that sort of break," Hall said.