Ping's Prince set for right royal showing

TRAINER-OF-THE-MOMENT Wong Tang-ping gave today's fancied final race starter Prince Baikal a solid pipe-opener yesterday. Ping and Patrick Biancone are two handlers who regularly make use of trackwork session's 24 hours before racing to give their runners a nice blowout. Biancone usually asks them to breeze through 400 metres.

Ping requires more and Prince Baikal completed 1,200 metres in a promising one minute, 22.7 seconds under highly promising claimer Peter Ho who takes over from sidelined club jockey Peter Hutchinson. Last time out Prince Baikal found 1,000 metres on the short side though he shaped promisingly behind Eastern Saga and Monkey Saint. There has been much to like about his work for the last month or so and he must go into today's final event as a solid quinella chance.

Biancone is following a similar training pattern to the one which proved successful for Win's A Gift the last time he ran. Then he asked him to come through a steady 400 metres the morning before the race and he did so again yesterday. Win's A Gift has held his condition well in readiness for the fifth event and must be one of the better chances. Like Prince Baikal he is partnered by Peter Ho who, if it is accepted that he is good value for his seven-pound claim in normal races, has to be excellent value in these local-rider affairs. Ho has yet to fire this season, but gets a very good chance to parade his skills this afternoon.

Looking towards the future and the prolific Ping has yet another potential improver in his yard in the shape of Wonderful. The four-year-old was somewhat disappointing last season, a well beaten third to Blaze Of Glory and Action Time being about his best effort. But like so many of Ping's, he is now showing the benefit of some patient handling and has looked an improved type in the mornings. Yesterday, he went strongly alongside America Supreme in a testing 1,200-metre hitout in 1:16.7.

This follows a good trial and a promising jump out from the barriers at the top of the back straight. The solitary trial on the main all-weather surface was dominated by Lawrie Fownes. He sent out the first three as Send A Signal led home Derby winner Super Fit and Crown Commander.