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Rawiller eyes dirt track Gold at Sha Tin on Wednesday

01/11/2016

by David Morgan

Master Gold (128lb) will attempt to enhance his sprouting reputation as a dirt track lover in the Class 4 Tin Ha Shan Handicap (1800m) on Wednesday night (2 November), when Sha Tin will host eight races exclusively on the all-weather surface. 

The Peter Ho-trained four-year-old showed little in three turf starts after being bought out of the Hong Kong International Sale last March, but the Mastercraftsman gelding has certainly caught the eye in his two most recent racecourse outings, both on Sha Tin’s all-weather.

The bay gelding’s penultimate start, over 1650m, brought an easy fourth, running on well from the back, a performance that landed jockey Howard Cheng in hot water with the stewards. Master Gold followed up with a tough run to win at that same course and distance on 8 October as he broke from an outside draw, travelled four deep without cover under Derek Leung, knuckled down and scored by a head. Ho’s charge will step up to 1800m for the first time, with Nash Rawiller replacing the injured Leung.

“He’s really thriving on the dirt,” said the Australian rider. “I’ve ridden him work a couple of times during the past week and he’s really impressed me. He’s a horse on the way up, and, that being the case, from what he showed the other day he’s going to be very competitive again.

“His racing pattern suggests he wants a good tempo but he’s drawn a little bit better (gate two), which could be in our favour. To me, he feels like a horse that’s improving all the time, so while he’s gone up a little bit in the weights, he should be very competitive again.”

Master Gold will face 13 rivals including dirt track winners Diamond Friends (126lb, including rider’s 2lb allowance), Willie Way (125lb), Good Fit (122lb), Imperial Concorde (119lb), and Dragon Harmony (114lb), while Speedy Wally (119lb), a  two-time Happy Valley scorer this term, will line up three days after finishing a running-on seventh at the city venue. 

So’s Super Man

Trainer Chris So has made a good start to the season and has teamed up with jockey Brett Prebble 18 times so far for two wins, two seconds and three thirds. One of those victories came with Super Man, and Prebble and So will join forces once again with that last start dirt track hero in the evening’s seventh event, section one of the Class 3 Hebe Hill Handicap (1200m).

“Super Man loves the dirt,” Prebble said. “He was lucky last start, he drew one and he could hold the rail, he didn’t have to break his gate, he just kept up a real strong gallop and that’s what he can do.”

Super Man showed plenty of steel to win by four and a quarter lengths at the course and distance two and a half weeks ago.

“He’s won over (1400 metres) so I knew he was going to have the stamina on those horses in that race but it was just a matter of holding his position from that inside draw when we had the speed. I had to ride him pretty tough from the gate and he got that nice position and he maintained his gallop.

“He’s drawn four - again, similar sort of circumstances, he’s going to have to hightail it from the gate to get himself in that forward position to maintain that strong gallop he can give.”

Super Man finds himself back up in Class 3 for the first time since last December having competed in that grade through his first 11 Hong Kong starts without success.

“I think since he’s gone to Chris he’s a more stable horse, he’s mentally better, he’s more calm, so there are more pluses there than last time he tried Class 3 and coming off a win like that shouldn’t do his confidence any harm.”

The card also features the So-trained Team Fortune, aiming for a hat-trick in race five, section two of the Hebe Hill Handicap (1200m), under Silvestre de Sousa. The meeting also sees the return of Italian rider Umberto Rispoli on a short-term contract.

Wednesday night’s action commences at 7.15pm with the Class 5 Tiu Yue Yung Handicap (1200m) and concludes at 10.50pm with the Class 3 Pyramid Hill Handicap (1650m).

Master Gold (in blue) opens his account in an all-weather event last start.
Photo 1:
Master Gold (in blue) opens his account in an all-weather event last start.

Super Man coasts to victory on dirt last time out.
Photo 2:
Super Man coasts to victory on dirt last time out.

 

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