Blinkers bring Joy to David Hall's Bundle ahead of Bauhinia Sprint Trophy
Blinkers seem to have had the desired result with Bundle Of Joy and he looks ready to seize a rare upcoming opportunity on the straight course after a fast dirt trial at Sha Tin yesterday.
The David Hall-trained sprinter has been disappointing in two starts this term but will return to his favoured five-furlong straight course on New Year's Day in the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy.
A solid run there could convince Hall to head back to Dubai in March to contest the Al Quoz Sprint, a race he finished a close fifth in earlier this year, especially with a lack of big race opportunities for 1,000m horses at home.
Bundle of Joy won the 2014 National Day Cup over the tricky Sha Tin course and was then a narrow second to Peniaphobia at set weights in the Group One Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup, a race that has been extended to 1,200m this season.
Joao Moreira was aboard for Bundle Of Joy's 1,050m blow-out yesterday and after ensuring the big chestnut was kept honest early, taking up the lead, he had a firm hold of the sprinter throughout.
Bundle Of Joy also wore blinkers at his last trial, and won that too, the headgear looking like it has sparked the six-year-old, who completed his trial in 1:00.47 with a spring in his step.
Second in the trial was Hall's dirt specialist Master Kochanwong (Douglas Whyte), returning from an early season lay-off with a nice work-out at his first trial back.
Frederick Engels is stuck in ratings no-man's land but the John Moore-trained sprinter seems in good order ahead of the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy too.
Frederick Engels has only run once this season, a solid fourth in the Group Three National Day Cup, finishing two-and-a-half lengths behind stablemate Not Listenin'tome.
With a rating of 107, and not quite up to the top sprinters, Frederick Engels has been kept fresh and has been targeted at the 1,000m race.
Frederick Engels (Terry Wong Chi-wai) didn't appreciate the slack pace in his trial and got his head up in the middle stages but worked home well down the outside and could find himself getting in well at the weights next start.
Ricky Yiu Poon-fai's import Déjà Vu (Umberto Rispoli) is another responding well to blinkers, with the out-of-form four-year-old putting more than eight lengths on his rivals when winning his 1,200m trial in the good time of 1:10.02.
Déjà Vu has been well beaten when starting at longer than 100-1 at three starts for Yiu, but has won his last two trials wearing blinkers - gear he also sported in his only win in Australia.
One horse to relish the removal of the headgear, though, has been John Size-trained five-year-old Eroico.
A surprising last-start display on the dirt when stepping up in distance has opened up options for the son of Starcraft, but it appears he will be sent back around on the turf next.
At Eroico's first time on the dirt and first time racing beyond 1,400m last month, he was second to track specialist Gun Pit. An extended ratings band Class Two on the dirt on Saturday will feature two Size-trained runners, Access Years and Sichuan Vigour, and there are plenty of upcoming turf races for which Eroico is eligible.
Eroico (Joao Moreira) had the blinkers removed for his last start and trialled without the headgear again, jumping cleanly from gate one, taking a sit behind stablemate Forever Red (Karis Teetan), peeling out off his back and finishing strongly on the bridle.