Versatile sire Tale of the Cat has made his presence felt all over the world and featured at Sha Tin on Wednesday with a winning double for a couple of highly promising Australian bred three year-olds in Flagship Shine and Dr Good Habit.
A $180,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the draft of Bendaree Park Stud, the John Moore trained Flagship Shine (3g Tale of the Cat x Dixie Paradise, by Dixie Union) has gone ahead in leaps and bounds this year winning his last three starts in succession.
Ridden by Douglas Whyte in the 1650 metre Class Two event, Flagship Shine was trying the all weather surface for the first time and did a great job to lug 59 kg to a three-quarter length victory as favourite against some seasoned campaigners.
“He has got the conformation, he has got the stride – but today he showed he has got the workmanlike attitude to be able to put him wherever you want,” Whyte told South China Morning Post.
“He is certainly going places. He had to transfer his form to the dirt, and secondly he had to step up to a few big boys that have shown they can handle the track.”
His trainer John Moore revealed Flagship Shine was purchased as a “dirt horse”, but he may have just turned into a 2014 Hong Kong Derby candidate.
“We wanted a dirt horse with the right pedigree but he has shown himself to be seriously versatile. He has got speed, a turn of foot, but he can still switch himself off,” Moore said.
“He will obviously be on the Derby path whether he stays or not, we will find out, but he will certainly be a very good miler.”
Flagship Shine has won four races and placed three times from seven starts and is one of two winners from Dixie Union mare Dixie Paradise (USA), a sibling to US stakes-winners For Pete’s Sake and Key to the Cat, who is by Tale of the Cat.
Making it a double for Tale of the Cat was the John Size trained Dr Good Habit (3g Tale of the Cat x Macavelli Miss, by Vettori) , who made it two wins from three starts in bolting clear to win over 1600 metres by more than three lengths.
Dr Good Habit led throughout for Douglas Whyte and was dominant to the line as a short priced favourite.
“I changed my game plan after 200m because I was posted wide,” Whyte said.
“I went forward, but he was still tough at the end. When he jumped out of the gates, he really knew he had no weight on his back and he tried to take control of me. I still thought he was vulnerable in the straight. But once he knuckled down he won with a bit of authority.”
Dr Good Habit was a $170,000 Inglis Easter purchase for John Foote Bloodstock from the Coolmore draft and is the second winner for Kiwi Group I winner Macavelli Miss.
Fastnet Rock also chimed in with a Sha Tin double with wins for Follow the Wind (4g Fastnet Rock x Gina Lollawitcha, by Perugino) and Affection (3g Fastnet Rock x Crystal Choir (GB), by Singspiel).