Going right back to his earliest days here, Paul O’Sullivan has not been the style of trainer to produce winning first-starters, but the good news for Glenealy Prize followers is that his record is much better from second start onwards so the gelding makes it into our black book after Saturday’s run.
O’Sullivan has trained at Sha Tin since the back end of 2004, so there’s a fair sample of history there, and he has produced wins only three times from horses having their very first start in a race: Moon Chaser, Disciples Twelve - who both started favourite - and a 100-1 chance called Mars.
Most famously, Medic Power finished seventh in Class Four at his first race start off some handy trials then won his next six, including a defeat of Sacred Kingdom in a Group Three race. More recently, the likes of Line Seeker or Good Boy Boy were beaten at short odds on debut then proved their worth afterwards.
There is no question Glenealy Prize looked the horse to beat in the third race on Saturday after some excellent barrier trials but, given O’Sullivan’s record, it seemed a little bit of an ask to be on him at odds-on and so it proved.
After beginning with the field, he showed a degree of greenness in how he played his hand afterwards, then closed well in a race controlled and won from the front by Zac Purton on All My Gain. Glenealy Prize will only benefit from the race experience and look for him to go one place better in the near future.
Showing some improvement on Saturday was John Moore-trained three-year-old Dragon Harmony, stepping up to 1,400m for the first time and ridden in total contrast to his first five runs.
The chestnut has shown a little ability racing on speed but Moore’s hand was probably forced when he drew gate 14 on the weekend and Dragon Harmony was taken back to the rear.
Allowed to relax early, he found the line well and connections might have discovered a better plan with him for the future which could see him in the winner’s circle soon.