Hong Kong Diary

One week into a new Hong Kong racing season and some familiar names are already in full stride. Zac Purton and Vincent Ho were both in double form on the opening Sunday and will be looking to make headlines again in different parts of the world this weekend.

  • Saturday 07 September
  • Blog
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BABY BIDS TO BOLSTER PURTON’S POTENT PACE PACK

 One man has a unique insight into which of Hong Kong’s most exciting young sprinters might fly highest this season.

Zac Purton has been aboard young powerhouse Aethero for all his three runaway wins so far. The champion jockey has partnered the unbeaten Regency Legend to three of his four victories – including a commanding success in last week’s Chief Executive’s Cup – and also found his way aboard the exciting Voyage Warrior when Ricky Yiu’s gelding bolted up at Sha Tin in June.

The champion jockey’s ability to keep these young aces apart will surely be tested before the season is much older but a fourth member of Purton’s pace pack gets a chance to shine this Sunday when Yee Cheong Baby bids to make it three out of three in the featured Po Yah Handicap at 9.40.

Rookie trainer Jimmy Ting made a fine start to his new career with 38 winners in his first season and Yee Cheong Baby swiftly made up into his stable star, winning both his starts at Happy Valley and coming close to Ivictory’s 1200m track record when making some useful Class 2 rivals look very ordinary in May.

The chestnut switches to the All-Weather against strong opposition here but he bolted up in a recent trial on the surface and his early speed and ability to see the trip out very well give him a very solid profile despite the presence of dangerous ex-Europeans like Big Time Baby and Raging Blitzkrieg.

SIXTY’S FUTURE STILL LOOKS GOLDEN

Yee Cheong Baby’s official rating will almost certainly break through the 100 barrier if he can make it three out of three, while Regency Legend has been raised 8lb to a mark of 111 after last Sunday’s success.

Danny Shum’s gelding isn’t the most striking horse physically but his record thus far is hard to fault and connections are hoping his next run will earn him a tilt at HK’s leading older sprinters, currently led by Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning, in December’s LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint.

However, Regency Legend was far from the only young sprinter to note on last Sunday’s Sha Tin card.

Golden Sixty won three from four in his first season and returned better than ever in a fair Class 3 contest, quickening smartly from the rear to beat the well-fancied Mr Croissant in handsome fashion.

The fact that Golden Sixty clocked a slightly faster final time than Regency Legend isn’t especially notable given that the Chief Executive’s Cup was run at a slow early pace.

However, the fact that Francis Lui’s gelding rattled home in 21.91secs (the fastest closing 400m split of the day) while carrying 10lb more than Regency Legend looks very significant.

Golden Sixty has been raised from 75 to 84 on the back of that success. But the style of his win – backed up by hard evidence on the clock – suggests that he’s still very much one to be interested in.

VINCENT MAKING ANOTHER STRONG KOREA MOVE

Golden Sixty’s rider Vincent Ho, fresh from his successful summer stint in the UK, went on to complete an opening day double aboard Cordyceps in the finale and is on his travels again this weekend.

Hong Kong’s leading homegrown rider is determined to build on his international success at the Shergar Cup and has two opportunities to shine again in Korea on Sunday.

AW specialist Ugly Warrior is first up for Ho when he contests the Korea Sprint, while former Charlie Hills galloper Glorious Artist takes on a couple of American challengers plus Jane Chapple Hyam’s Ambassadorial in the Korea Cup.

The deep sand surface presents both horses with a new challenge but the two races are worth a combined 1bn Korean won – or around £1.3m – and Hong Kong horses have tended to acquit themselves very well in the corresponding contests in recent years.

Hong Kong Diary
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