Furore fires for Moreira
If at first you don't succeed was the theme as Furore quickened past stablemate Exultant to win Sunday's G3 Ladies' Purse. Last year's Derby winner was 0-6 in head to heads against Exultant going in to Sunday's feature but, receiving 11lb with Joao Moreira up for the first time, he produced a decisive turn of foot to beat Hong Kong's Horse of the Year with authority.
Moreira has agreed to partner Furore again in Round 7 against Exultant in the G2 Jockey Club Cup on November 22nd, where the latter will concede just 5lb. However, the Magic Man has strong connections with Japan and it was noticeable that he is keeping his options very much open as regards the £2.8m Hong Kong Cup on December 13th.
Scales to tip Exultant's way next time
Furore gets his first win since his 2019 Derby success, scoring in the G3 Sa Sa Ladies' Purse for Joao Moreira (@cavaleiro83) & Tony Cruz! #HKracing pic.twitter.com/vklc0G2gAU
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 1, 2020
Exultant's Ladies' Purse figures now read 432 in the last three seasons and the signs suggest that Tony Cruz's stable star is as good as ever as he moves into his fourth HK campaign. The six-year-old looked really well but weighed in at 1101lb - fully 40lb heavier than for his final two starts last season - and there seems little doubt he will be sharper in three weeks' time.
The record reflects that Exultant dipped under the two minute mark when beating Furore by a length and a quarter in last year's Jockey Club Cup. Not much has emerged since to shake up the 2000m division and, with this year's Derby hero Golden Sixty set to stick to a mile, logic suggests we could be in for something very similar this time around.
Badel set for a State occasion
There is a strong European feel to Wednesday's Hebe Hill Handicap at 2.50 and the freewheeling Kings Shield is bound to be popular under Zac Purton as he returns to a track and trip that suits him perfectly. The former St James's Palace fifth can be very hard to peg back on this surface but two French imports also warrant a positive mention.
Righteous Doctrine earned a crack at the French Guineas in his early days. A fine effort on turf last time sets him up nicely for his dirt return, while Elusive State has six AW wins to his credit and will be partnered by French star Alexis Badel for the first time here. "He's a dirt specialist so I'm very happy to sit on him," said Badel. "His last two trials have been very strong and he's been working beautifully so I hope even with top weight that he can come back to his best."
Monarch on the move
Monarch of Egypt is the latest Ballydoyle recruit to make his way to HK.
The American Pharaoh colt came within half a length of Royal Ascot success when second to Molatham in the Jersey Stakes and will join former stablemate and Hampton Court Stakes winner Russian Emperor with Douglas Whyte when he flies in on Saturday. Meanwhile, his seven travelling companions batch also includes Escape Route, who finished fourth in the Gimcrack for Richard Fahey and will continue his career for John Size.
Betting shops re-open as Covid remain in check
While Britain prepares for a second lockdown, HK racing continues to make small steps on the road to normality
A selection of 19 of the city's 100 betting shops opened on raceday for the first time since February on Sunday, while further relaxation in Government social distancing measures increased the number allowed at a table from four to six which, in turn, helped swell Sha Tin attendance to just over 5000.
For the record, the total number of HK Covid cases during the pandemic also stands at a little over 5000 with 105 deaths. Caution remains paramount but, if the number of new cases remains low, the raceday crowd could increase to around 8000 for HKIR day on December 13th.