Lance O'-lot wins on classy mounts
LANCE O'Sullivan dominated yesterday's marathon barrier trial session at Sha Tin with classy victories on International Bowl and Derby heroes Winning Partners and Super Fit as well as on the distinctly useful China Cruise and Heavily Armed.
If that was not enough, O'Sullivan also went to the line swinging off Neville Begg's long-range Derby contender Auto-Matching in the sixth-heat and Begg's highly promising private purchase griffin, Chief Commander in the 10th.
O'Sullivan, the extremely popular former multiple champion jockey in New Zealand, has picked up a nucleus of mounts that other riders can only dream about. These horses read like a Who's Who of Hong Kong racing.
O'Sullivan, who will replace Mick Kinane on Winning Partners in the Chairman's Prize, brought the five-year-old through from just off the pace to hit the line very strongly, a neck to the good of an improving Carry On Winning in the fifth trial. They recorded the best overall time of the morning.
Champion River Verdon was noted doing all his best work at the finish having been held up by Johnny Marshall.
But for some reason Concert King, who had no trouble finishing in front of Winning Partners and River Verdon in the Centenary Cup, did not fire.
The unbeaten Debonair went well enough in mid-division in this heat as David Hill fights an uphill battle to get him ready for the Kukri Trophy.
Super Fit, a wayward son of Centaine, proved a real handful to get to the start.
But race he can and he held Lucky Optimists by a decisive neck with Sterling Town going really strongly in behind.
Kick The Habit was outpaced early but he also stayed on well.
For some reason O'Sullivan has replaced Darren Gauci on China Cruise and they were quality winners of the first heat in which Peter Ng Bik-kuen's English import Gran Senorum caught the eye.
Geoff Lane's Heavily Armed appears to be coming right back to his best after a disappointing start to the season. He impressed in taking the third trial.
Auto-Matching appears to be a lightly-raced type with an enormous future in the territory for his in-form trainer Neville Begg. He went by far the best in the sixth heat.
Chief Commander is by the American stallion Chief's Crown whose Be My Chief as once the great white hope amongst the English three-year-olds when trained by Henry Cecil.
Chief Commander looks one to follow as he could have easily won the 10th heat against his fellow griffins in which Lifo (Cruz) and Dolphin (Gary Ng) also went firmly into the notebook as future winners.
Trust Myself was hard ridden to win the ninth but he was still showing improved form for his new trainer Lawrie Fownes.
Lane's Shine went much better in the eighth and could do something now he's dropped into Class Five.