Performance is its own reward

Robin Parke

YOUNG galloper Top Performance has learned enough about the game to be a major threat in the second event at Sha Tin today and could well live up to his name and score.

Trainer Wong Tang-ping keeps faith with maximum claimer Simon H. K. Yim who was touched off in the last stride by equitrack-loving Gagne Vite at his last Valley start.

Gagne Vite's overall form this season has been something of a revelation and it reads well for Top Performance in relation to this modest Class Five longer sprint.

Top Performance is a Class Four horse competing on the prevailing overlap system so the 10 pounds from Yim does bring him down to a very competitive weight in this low grade - and Patrick Biancone's apprentice has been earning praise for some of his recent efforts.

He certainly did nothing wrong on Top Performance last time and it is noticeable that Yim is coming in for much more support.

This longer sprint does look fairly ideal for the New Zealand three-year-old who was setting the pace for much of the 1,400-metre equitrack dash and was only run out of it in the final stride.

Top Performance also ran a solid race for Yim over the short sprint at Happy Valley where he finished just under two lengths away third to The Sure Thing.

He has enough pace to get across to some sort of position from his poor draw (11) and showed enough stamina and fighting qualities at his last outing to suggest that he will run out this trip powerfully enough to be a very serious contender.

It's an ordinary affair but the recent addition to the Lawrie Fownes stable, Raider's Luck, could run a good race first-up for his new trainer as his work has been good and his last run under Eric Saint-Martin was not without merit. That was over 975 metres at Happy Valley where he jumped at short odds and finished fifth.

Bottomweight Hattrick has not done much recently but he has gone well over this longer sprint in the past and could be worth tossing in at big odds.

Connections of stayer Chater Star will be praying for more rain as this would bring the David Hill-trained galloper solidly into contention for the third event on the card.

Betting here is likely to be dominated by topweight Gold Capture who is probably the best stayer in the field - but he is not the luckiest horse in training.

He will be partnered by regular rider Francis K. S. Lam but he has produced less than brilliant displays on the Peter Ng Bik-kuen galloper on a couple of occasions.

With seven-pound claimer Richard K. M. So up, Chater Star has a very good galloping weight and if there is cut in the ground he really does come into contention for this 2,000-metre combined Classes Three and Four event.

The other major chance could be Face The Odds from the David Oughton stable. He will be ridden by the vigorous Rambo Tse Wai-ho and is a definite quinella chance.