Daiquiri shaken for winning effort
PATRICK Biancone can rekindle his championship hopes by scoring with Daiquiri in the sixth event on a fascinating card at Sha Tin this afternoon. Daiquiri has improved significantly over the past two months or so since joining Biancone and is worth a good bet in this Class Three mile event. There is a question mark about him running out the mile, but he has never been this fit or this well before and the way he has been finishing his work off leading into this race suggests there's a new-found strength about this four-year-old. He was a very easy winner on his first start for Biancone when coming home a length clear of Make Merry over 1,400 metres at Sha Tin. But since then his form has suggested he may even want the mile to show his best. He could only stay on at one pace when fourth to Golden Era on his next start over 1,400 metres at Sha Tin and then Biancone's girl apprentice Sherie Kong couldn't get the best out of him when he was third, beaten just 13/4 lengths by Take Charge over a mile.
It was Daiquiri's most recent outing, and his tremendously impressive work since then, that really put him down as outstanding betting material today. The run in question was a two lengths third to stablemate, Deauville, who was far too good for his Class Three opposition. Second home was another highly progressive individual in Pride And Joy who is also going to win his way out of Class Three in due course. And then there was a long gap back from Daiquiri to Golden Prosperity who ran fourth, some 33/4 lengths away. That kind of gap is invariably a sign of good form and there are good grounds for thinking that Daiquiri can improve on this effort. First, he hung out badly under pressure when third to Deauville when ridden by Biancone's other stable apprentice, the boom claimer Simon 'Hong Kong' Yim. The senior stable rider, Eric Legrix, now takes over and his presence should ensure that Daiquiri keeps a much straighter course and improves by a length or so just because he is on board.
Legrix's balance and hands appeared to make a significant difference, for instance, to Drifting Away who was a recent winner for the talented French rider having steered an erratic course in his previous outings when ridden by Yim. Secondly, Daiquiri's work since that run has been a revelation even by the standards 'Doctor' Biancone has set for himself this season by improving so meaningfully the horses he has taken over from other stables. In particular, Daiquiri cut a mighty impressive figure when galloping all over the top of stablemate Cheer On on Tuesday morning in a very serious and revealing piece of work. The main danger could come from Courageous, though definite quinella and tierce chances must also be conceded to Laureate, Ellen's Romance, Sunday Cruise, Canadian Champ, Super Goal, Highland Laddie and Gainsborough's Boy in what is likely to prove a very tough contest for the minor placings.
Indeed, it may be best just to have one serious win bet on Daiquiri, provided he is not at prohibitively short odds, and just one main quinella with Courageous.
Stephen Leung has struggled with Courageous since taking him over from Lawrie Fownes.
Frankly, the seven-year-old has not appeared in love with the game on a number of occasions this season.
But Leung has excelled with this kind of problem horse since receiving his licence at the start of last season and his patience seems to have prevailed with Courageous now working much more sweetly in the mornings.
And if Courageous is in a much more tractable frame of mind then he is undoubtedly well handicapped on any number of form lines from last season where he more than held his own in Class Two.
In the feature events, it is very hard to oppose Mr Vitality who is weighted to win the Sha Tin Vase. Deauville and Banker's Delight are both lovely horses in the making, but Mr Vitality just looks something special. Hot Gossip has been flying in his work and looks the answer to the Happy Valley Vase though he is unlikely to have much to spare over Winning Spirit while Heading To Win may hold Top Practitioner for third.