Rock'n Typhoon shows he's in right mood
Paul O'Sullivan hasn't had much to talk about this season with only eight winners after 56 meetings, but the trainer can look forward to a win with Rock'n Typhoon after he went to the line with a bit of purpose in the Class Three Jardine Handicap (1,200m) on Wednesday night.
Rock'n Typhoon was never better than sixth in eight runs last season, and resumed with two ineffective Class Three runs from wide gates, before appreciating a drop into Class Four events at his next two starts to finish fourth to Arrived Ahead over the 1,200m at Happy Valley and a speed-stalking second behind Dr Win over the 1,400m in January. He then failed to fire in a February run over the 1,400m from a wide gate after copping a check, before finishing a distant ninth when never taking to the all-weather surface last month.
The six-year-old was performing off a rating of 61 and should get the necessary point drop in the handicaps to make him eligible for a Class Four, where he will prove hard to beat.
On a speed-bias track, Rock'n Typhoon wasn't helped at the start when steadied between runners after jumping from gate seven when Jeff Lloyd - his fifth new partner this season - found a position on the fence and third from the rear at the 1,000m. They peeled five wide into the clear upon straightening and were running on well to come up sixth, a quarter of a length from the placings, and 1 3/4 lengths off the winner, Free And Easy.
The American-bred son of Grand Slam and the Storm Cat mare Wonder Woman arrived off a mark of 90 with smart credentials - winning five times, including two Listed turf sprints, along with four placings from 10 starts. But the gelding has been struggling to stay healthy with heart irregularity and lameness issues, and had soft palate surgery during the summer break.
O'Sullivan has been doing a good job to keep this fellow sound and might soon be rewarded if he can get him to score that elusive win over the 1,200m or 1,400m.
Danny Shum Chap-sing's off-season arrival, Gold Winner, produced another cheeky sight to finish just out of the placings in the Class Four John Peel Handicap ( 1,200m) and is not far off that maiden win in Hong Kong.
Gold Winner has yet to figure in the placings in 15 starts since arriving from Ireland, where he won over 1,491m and 1,600m from 10 starts.
After just a fifth from 11 starts for original trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, Gold Winner was given ample time to recover from a right fore tendon injury last August, before returning with a grinding fifth behind Dane Patrol over the straight 1,000m on February 12, and a one-paced eighth behind Carry The Zeal over 1,200m off a three-deep trip 15 days later.
He also stayed on well to finish fourth behind Dispatcher over 1,400m last month with blinkers added.
Gold Winner jumped at 37-1 from gate 11 under Alex Lai Hoi-wing to eventually cross for the lead at the 650m; kicked a length clear at the 300m; was headed 50m out and pipped on the line by Hot Pepper for third, a half-length behind the winner Cosmo Successor.
The six-year-old son of Rock Of Gibraltar and the Belmez mare Belsay is 38 points below his opening ratings of 86 and is one for the short list.
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Rock'n Typhoon arrived off a mark of 90 and has dropped to a rating of: 61