Arresting display by dawn Patrol
SOME of the best handicapped horses and consequently the best bets are to be found lurking at the bottom of Class Six.
Highway Patrol, who worked strongly through 1,200 metres under local jockey Johnny K. S. Ho, could become one such wager the way this veteran handicapper has plummeted down the weights since the back end of last season.
Last season Highway Patrol opened up by running to mark around 29 according to my private handicap when just over a length fourth of 14 to Vive Longtemps over Sha Tin's 1,400 metres.
He ended the campaign running to something like an 18 from a rating of 16 when failing by just a neck to hold Fortune Collect over 1,400 metres on the equitrack.
Since then he has been dropped to a mark of just eight in Class Six which should see him have every chance of winning.
He has also changed stables during the close season, moving from Peter Tse Yan-sid to Chris Cheung Ting-pong, and it has been seen so many times in the past how a stable change can revitalise these ageing handicappers.
Yesterday morning Highway Patrol looked on good terms with himself as he completed his workout in one minute 19.3 with stablemate Optic Style. They picked up nicely throughout, steadily raising the tempo to come home in 24.8 seconds for their final quarter.
Wong Tang-ping has been much busier with his team in the mornings than at the corresponding time in previous seasons. So while it is the likes of Brian Kan Ping-chee who look sure to make a whizz-bang start when the curtain comes up on September 12, a fewof Wong's could well put in a more prominent showing than would otherwise be expected at this early stage.
My Silvero missed most of last season with leg problems after shaping with much promise the campaign before.
He just had a couple of runs back for Wong, chasing home Active King at Happy Valley and then Sun Crest at Sha Tin.
Yesterday My Silvero was only asked to hit the line in 26.4 seconds for his last 400-metre section but it was the manner and the fluency, rather than the time, which impressed.
Times can conceal as much as they reveal. Chip-In's work reads well with a final quarter of 23.7 seconds off a 25.4-second pace-work quarter.
But he still seems to be going too hard in the mornings and it could take a little longer for his trainer-jockey combination of Geoff Lane and his new English rider Dean McKeown to get him to relax.