DERBY third Northern Fire Ball looks set to go very close to winning in the near future after another brilliant barrier trial at Sha Tin yesterday morning. Wong Tang-ping's gelding has been a revelation since teaming up with South African riding star Jeff Lloyd. Northern Fire Ball went well for Gerald Mosse when he was here, despite being a very difficult ride, but from his work, his trials and the way he raced last time when a highly creditable second to Sure Win King, he appears to be putty in Lloyd's hands. Yesterday he jumped towards the front rank of the first of the two all-weather trials in which the speedy Shyana and Precious Delights cut out the early running from Fortune Winner. Lloyd asked Northern Fire Ball to make headway from the top of the straight and the response was impressive. He picked up strongly to the line to finish a length second to Peter Tse Yan-sid's Fortune Winner. There was certainly nothing going better on the line than Northern Fire Ball who should be kept under close observation. Patrick Biancone's Key On had been going really well a few weeks back but it was hard not to think that yesterday's trial effort behind Fortune Winner was not up to the quality of his work earlier in the season. In contrast, Lawrie Fownes' Nitrogen came home firmly on the bit. Indeed, Darren Gauci had a double handful the whole way. The second trial saw a good win in a similar time to the first heat from Derek Cruz's Aubade who is shaping as if more than capable of adding to his sprint tally. But the significant difference between the two trials, and one of the reasons that Northern Fire Ball's effort was so good, was the respective times for the last 400-metre sections. In Northern Fire Ball's heat they came home in 23.9 seconds for their last quarter while Aubade clocked 24.4. The main feature of the second trial was the excellent job Darren Beadman did on Stephen Leung's Va Vite. Beadman, a most vigorous rider at time, drove him from the gates and gave him a couple round the backside to galvanise him into action. He then never stopped pushing and shoving the whole way and threw in a few more cuts with the whip to let Va Vite know what is to be expected of him. Va Vite eventually finished third and should get more into his race next time out after being given the Beadman treatment. A number of Aussie punters in town have been on the lookout for Gary Ng Ting-keung's acquisition Electric Flash who raced under the name of Staff Sargeant when trained by David Hayes. The son of Military Plume had some high quality juvenile form to his name and went promisingly in yesterday's second trial though he is not fully wound up. First trial: 1, FORTUNE WINNER (K. L. Tsui); 2, Northern Fire Ball (J. Lloyd); 3, Precious Delights (G. Carter). Others (in finishing order): Speedy Winner, Key On, Nitrogen, Shyana, Clear Classic, Pearl Of India, Ring The Cabin, Today's Special. Time: 1:09.4 (23.9). Distances: 1 length, 11/2 lengths. Winner trained by Tse Yan-sid. Second trial: 1, AUBADE (G. Carter); 2, Super Bingo II (K. M. So); 3, Va Vite (D. Beadman). Others: Electric Flash, Seattle Wind, Leadership, Mountain Sapphire, Little Big Horn, Manley's Star, Money Spinner, All Fine, Lucky Flyer. Time: 1.09.5 (24.4). Distances: 1/2 length, 1/2 length. Winner trained by Derek Cruz.