Fownes embarks on winning Venture

Robin Parke

IMPROVING Woods Venture looks ready to open his Hong Kong account in the third event on the Happy Valley equitrack tonight. The Lawrie Fownes-trained English import has shown some recent form on the dirt and could follow up on a last-start second to Call Me Special over tonight's 1,400-metre distance. Woods Venture has certainly taken some time to find his feet, but towards the bottom end of Class Three and with his last two runs behind him, he looks ready to oblige. He has very good natural speed and is the type who could very well have developd into an equitrack specialist - had the surface not been in its last, inglorious year. Hip, hip, hooray, say many.

Gerald Mosse takes over on the rising four-year-old from Jackie C. K. Tse and despite the fact that he was beaten close home after attempting to make all last time, Woods Venture does look well enough suited by this trip. He has held his form since his last run and, if anything, has improved which gives those prepared to back him tonight some added confidence. He is not ideally drawn in barrier six, but Mosse should be able to get him across as there is plenty of pace on his inside. Champion trainer Ivan Allan's Donizetti has improved in his work and has the pace to be very handy over this trip on equitrack. He has not been seen in racecourse action since a fast-finishing two and a half lengths behind Supreme Monarch over 1,400 metres on the Sha Tin turf in early November. If he does take to the equitrack, that form is almost good enough to see him home but the worry is that he's been slow out of the gates and it will be hard for him to miss the jump and win tonight over 1,400 metres.

The other obvious danger in the race is Everwell Cheers to be ridden by Darryll Holland and a short-head winner over 1,600 metres on equitrack last time out. He has also scored over this lesser trip and certainly seems to be in good heart.

Holland, who returns to England for Christmas after deciding not to appeal against a four-day ban for careless riding on Sunday, will be hoping to go out on a bright note with last-start winner Dolphin in the final event.

But he may be thwarted by Mick Kinane who partners Saafi for retaining trainer David Oughton and this one is ready to oblige.

He ran a bold race, course and distance, for Kinane last time and looks to have more than held his form.

Saafi has not been in better heart and is well drawn in barrier four. Kinane is likely to be tracking Dolphin, but could get in the final blow.