Hall has another Champion in waiting

John Bell

David Hall has already turned around the fortunes of horses such as Beethoven, Jubiloso and Bodacious this season and his next success story looks certain to be Absolute Champion, who made an impressive return to racing at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The Australian Group Two winner had been racing well this term without winning but judging by the way he hit the line to finish fifth to Regency Horse at his first run for Hall, he looks set to chalk up a success before the season is out.

The Marauding gelding was taken back to the tail of the field in an effort to overcome the outside alley and as they reached the 400m mark he had only one runner behind him and was a conservative seven lengths from the leaders.

Brett Prebble went between runners in search of a passage and Absolute Champion picked up very well with 200m remaining before again being short on room over the final stages.

His effort to end up just over a length from the winner, considering he wasn't able to be fully tested, was outstanding with the other positive being that his previously wayward habits were missing.

Even though there was under two lengths covering the first eight home, the event is likely to prove a very strong form race over coming weeks.

While the effort of Regency Horse was enormous after being posted on a limb throughout, his stablemate Kindacross is gradually living up to the form he showed as a juvenile in New Zealand and his winning turn is very near.

San Lorenzo's first-up effort to be narrowly beaten was exceptional and John Size looks to have the six-year-old right back to his best following a break.

Goody backed up a luckless effort at his previous outing with another pleasing run and he should be finding winning form once he steps up to his preferred distance of 1,400m.

Brains Trust finished seventh but given he was first-up from a long spell and was pressured for the majority of the event by Adaikali, his effort was good given it was only in the final stages that his fitness gave out.

Any doubts about Armada not measuring up to better races were quickly binned after the Towkay gelding made his opposition look second rate in maintaining his unbeaten record in race 10.

The moment of truth arrived shortly after turning for home when he was briefly held up attempting to get into the clear, but he was devastating once through the gap, showing a magnificent turn of foot to win eased down.

He looked to have the complete arsenal. He can take a position, he settles well, has a flawless action and brilliant acceleration.

Winning Success has taken time to find his feet in Hong Kong but the three-year-old's effort in finishing fifth to Armada after being three wide throughout indicated he was set to end the season on a high note.