It was very much the lull before the storm. Yesterday's Sha Tin trackwork session was just about the quietest since the big players started to filter back to the territory last week. Today's session will be entirely different with eight trials scheduled down a pristine-looking grass track. These trials, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season ahead, explain yesterday's low-key affair. Despite a dearth of meaningful fast work it was hard to avoid the conclusion that David Hayes is set for a prolific second campaign which is sure to see him challenging for championship honours. The Melbourne and Japan Cup-winning handler has been back in town for a month and the group of horses he had out working yesterday morning looked very forward. 'I'd like to think my more experienced horses will be pretty forward,' agreed Hayes who, as well as chasing titles, is busy searching for a star. 'My younger horses - those that only had a run or two last season - will probably need more time - but I'm hopeful that my older handicappers will be ready.' Hayes then added: 'I think most of my horses are capable of winning a race or two but I'd really like a star performer. 'I've got plenty of good ones but as things stand I probably haven't got a real star. '[However] with 30 per cent of my string yet to race or having raced only once there's still time for one to emerge.' Hayes points out that having the brilliant Australian Damien Oliver as a full-time stable jockey, plus the arrival of some talented work riders, should help to considerably boost his score. Of the few horses that did run time yesterday, Hayes' Super Missile appeared to go like a future winner. Super Missile was something of an enigmatic customer last season, which was his debut year competing in the territory. He failed to win but often it takes these private purchases a year to adjust and yesterday he simply toyed with Champion Mascot. Super Missile sat behind him and in his trainer's own words 'pulverised' him when asked to quicken from the top of the home straight. Fun And Smile clicked for the Hayes stable last season, winning once, finishing second twice and third three times. He looked in good order on the revamped main track as did World Leader who is a sprinter set to show much improved form this time round. World Leader started to flourish towards the back end of last season and he appears to have continued to progress. Lower down the grades, it could pay to keep an eye out for the stable's Winner's Star. He didn't do much last season from a handful of runs but he moved nicely on the inside track yesterday and is graded on a rating of 34 down in Class Five. Classic Turbo had had plenty of problems over the last 12 months or so but he did run an improved race for Hayes at 175-1 when sixth of 12 behind Royal Pride over 1,200 metres at Happy Valley last May. He has shown his best form on the dirt in the past and had too much pace for Volare in a solid piece yesterday. Generally there are favourable reports about the new dirt track which has been laid on the outside work track only at Sha Tin. It promises to be consistently faster than the old equisand mixture with the emphasis on 'consistent'. In other work yesterday, the Alex Wong Siu-tan pair of Winning Horse and Express Duke impressed. Winning Horse, the Centurion Trophy hero, looked to have the measure of the progressive sprinter Turf Star. Express Duke, who showed plenty of potential on his only career outing when fourth to Sky Walker over a rain-softened 1,200 metres at Sha Tin in May, appeared to go every bit as well as stablemate Pilot Win, a four-year-old New Zealand import who starts from a mark of 74 in Class Two. Diamond Fortune lost almost all condition after starting out with two griffin wins the season before last. But yesterday he was virtually unrecognisable while cantering round the main track. The condition is back - with interest. It remains to be seen if the engine is still there.