Splendid chance for champ to shine
SPLENDID looks worth keeping tabs on over the closing meetings following another good piece of work at Sha Tin yesterday morning.
The four-year-old makes his debut for co-champion trainer John Moore in the opener at Happy Valley tomorrow night, having opened the season with a surprise second to Peace Gallery when looking in need of the run.
Since that 20-1 second he has made the short hop across Sha Tin from Chris Cheung Ting-pong to Moore, and Moore is not champion for nothing.
He has done well with the likes of Flirting Dancer, Be Glorious and Gijima whom he took over from such top trainers as Patrick Biancone, Ivan Allan and Derek Cruz.
Against this background, it is reasonable to expect improvement from Splendid, especially as so many horses seem to be revitalised by a change in stables no matter which trainer they join and which trainer they leave.
Splendid's second to Peace Gallery came over 1,235 metres and he may just find 975 metres on the short side.
But he did have Duet Danseurs behind and he has gone on to frank the form by winning since. Splendid did look poised to improve when working very strongly from the barriers yesterday morning with stablemate, Parkview Fame.
Splendid has taken plenty of rousting in his work in the past but yesterday there looked to be an added zip in his stride.
Allan had a number out and about on all the work tracks with Horse Delight and Applause making the best impression of his workers.
Horse Delight, a strong winner over 1,235 metres last time out when given a tremendous front-running ride by Lester Piggott, and almost certainly has plenty more improvement in him.
Yesterday he led Mr Zillionaire and Casablanca in a strong hitout from the barriers and while he has been winning at sprint distances, he could really come into his own when pushed up to a bit farther.
He really hit the line when winning last time when value for more than the neck margin suggests.
He also seems to be more comfortable in himself and this mental side of things is a vital part of the equation, especially if Horse Delight is to stay farther.
Staying is as much about relaxing as it is about the mechanics of their gait or whatever other factors influence stamina.
Applause was driven out of the barriers by Basil Marcus to hold Our Champion and Many Treasure in his best work of the season with one proviso. The presence of Marcus on his back needs to be taken into account, compared to a riding boy on Our Champion and the promising Stanley K. M. Chin on Many Treasure.
From this work, Applause becomes an interesting runner in tomorrow's third event for which Tony P. H. Chan's Bounty put in another strong piece following Friday's impressive gallop.
The excellent French rider Eric Saint-Martin looks a very significant replacement for K. H. Hung on Bounty.
Chan's Royal Horse also excelled when working better than Racing Ace and can be forgiven his last effort when he did not get the run of the race.
Amorace also continues to improve for Chan and yesterday had far too much speed from the barriers for Irish import, the sprinter, Hainan Dragon.
Bumper Star is another of Chan's who could well be winning before the curtain falls on June 5.
Bumper Star was a winner waiting to happen earlier in the season and duly obliged when Eric Legrix jumped on board.
That man Marcus was on yesterday as Bumper Star zipped down the back straight. He looks well up to winning from the bottom of Class Three providing the training setback which has kept him out for some months is not insuperable. His work suggests it should not be.
Everwell Cheers has come out of his last-start win in fine shape in the mornings and should go close in the second while Trust Myself has thrived since joining Lawrie Fownes and should pose a big threat to Jade and Win Tack in the fifth.