Trainer Tony Millard looked excited by the return to racing of Rickfield, who backed up a really nice barrier trial with a very good effort despite running 11th in the final race on Sunday at Sha Tin.
Rickfield was back in the field in running and a sprint home over 1,400m wasn’t really something that should suit a horse whose two wins have been over 1,800m and is more of a staying type.
He finished five lengths from the winner Citron Spirit, which probably is where most punters would have expected him to be at the finish, but a close viewing of the replay shows Rickfield was badly held up for running in the straight. Stewards reported he was stopped in his tracks from the 350m to the 200m so he probably should have finished a lot closer than he did.
The former French gelding has definitely returned well and he may still have yet to peak after only 13 starts here and six overseas.
Millard’s problem is that Rickfield is rated 81 and didn’t get any relief on that yesterday, which means his next suitable race is next Wednesday at Happy Valley over 1,800m or he has to wait more than a month for the following one.
In the main race, the Pok Oi Cup, the John Size-trained Time To Celebrate did enough to suggest punters could stay on his tail for profit.
He had some very nice form as a three-year-old in New Zealand around some classy horses at 1,500m and the question over him on Sunday was the 1,200m distance.
That did prove to be too short but he was running on quite well late in the piece behind Super Fluke to be beaten just over three lengths and indicating that he is already in line to step up in distance now he has had a race to tighten him up fitness-wise.
Time To Celebrate looks to be the type that Size will be looking to qualify for the good four-year-old races in the new year and, while he may not emerge as a chance, it won’t surprise if he gets to run at that level.