Gauci bounces back from Valley tumble
THEY are a tough bunch, these jockeys.
Former triple Melbourne champion Darren Gauci was tossed to the ground by the enigmatic Fit For Royalty as they jumped for the fourth event at Happy Valley on Wednesday evening.
The course doctor refused to pass him fit for his ride on Financial Star in the last, but Gauci returned to dominate trackwork proceedings at Sha Tin yesterday morning.
He was showing no ill effects of the fall as he took a number of useful sorts through some correspondingly useful work.
Not least Alex Wong Yu-on's Supreme Monarch who looks set to make his eagerly awaited reappearance a week tomorrow in a Class Three 1,400-metre event.
The Australian-bred private purchase griffin annihilated his opposition on his only start last season, looking a distinctly promising type in the process.
Wong and Gauci have combined to bring him on slowly but surely this time round and that patience looks to be paying dividends as Supreme Monarch's work has done nothing but improve, especially over the past fortnight.
Yesterday Gauci took Supreme Monarch through a solid gallop from the barriers at the top of the back straight.
They matched strides with Wong's first-season Class Two import from New Zealand, Super Happy, for the first 400 to 500 metres down the back before forging effortlessly clear.
This looked to be the work of a class performer in the making. He should have little trouble dealing with his Class Three opponents in eight days' time.
Generally, yesterday's session was one of the quietest Thursdays for a long time as racing is on Sunday this week with no racing next Wednesday.
But Gauci was busy all the same, as he took a number through their work for retaining trainer Neville Begg.
Goodie-Goodie was the focus of much talk last season, but he failed to deliver when the chips were down one night at Happy Valley when not running the quinella.
He appears to be going better this time round and looked on good terms with himself yesterday morning.
Begg's Diamond Coast was the subject of the weighing-in light furore after winning under Damien Oliver at the end of last season.
Yesterday, he caught the eye in his gallop with the Gauci-ridden Chief Commander.
This good hitout from Diamond Coast follows a most pleasing trial and he seems to have improved significantly for his first-up run behind New Leaf at Sha Tin.
And for Diamond Coast it could well be a case of the further he goes the better this season.
Time can conceal as much as it reveals. This was indeed the case for the gallop of America Supreme and Wonderful.
They came through 1,200 metres in a seemingly top-notch one minute and 14.2 seconds, but prospective backers of Wonderful should beware.
It is certainly a case of caveat emptor as far as he is concerned as he bolted from the tunnel yesterday and knocked up noticeably as America Supreme swept past him at the end of their work.
Patrick Biancone's King Prawn had no luck in running at the Valley last time out in the race won by Champman River.
Yesterday, he was showing no ill-effects of the buffeting he received in the home straight as he sliced through 1,200 metres in 1:15.6.
David Hill's Sir Valid continues to improve and could well go close to winning again, given the way he has been working since his defeat of Star Lap.
Yesterday, he put in another fluent piece from the barriers under John Marshall when having the edge over first-season import Happy Hunting who has not done very much yet.