Hong Kong Diary

Joao Moreira has come out swinging in his bid to regain the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship but arch rival Zac Purton is in no mood to let him have all his own way. The big two have a string of good rides on Happy Valley’s Wednesday programme and Purton has also been test driving an exciting new partner ahead of a card which will be live on Sky Sports racing from 11.45.

  • Tuesday 08 October
  • Blog
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Purton in the plate for mercurial Star

Pakistan Star continues to shine on the dirt but Hong Kong’s most mercurial G1 performer had a new partner when he stepped out in a strong trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.

Paul O’Sullivan’s gelding has had six different riders during his hit-and-miss career – gaining his biggest wins under William Buick and Tommy Berry – and will link up with a seventh when champion jockey Zac Purton takes the mount in the G2 Premier Bowl on October 20th.

All went to plan as the Shamardal gelding strode clear of fellow G1 scorer Glorious Forever and Kiwi O’Sullivan is keen to see how the plan to turn a 2400m winner into a sprinter shapes up.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” he said. “When you look at his record it’s probably not the smartest thing to do but when I trial him over 1200m he trials like a rocket.”

Fownes hoping Green can change his Luck again

Caspar Fownes was delighted with the way Rise High eased clear in a turf trial during Tuesday’s session and is planning to get the former Ken Condon-trained gelding back on track with a tilt at the mighty Beauty Generation in the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy a week on Sunday.

However, the man they call the King of the Valley is equally keen to get rid of a frustrating bout of seconditis when he heads back to the city track this Wednesday.

Fownes has had ten seconds from 58 runners so far this season but is hoping that a strong Valley team headed by Snap Fit and Green Luck can change his luck in the Japan Racing Association Handicap (2.45) and the Kyoto Handicap at 3.50.

Green Luck broke the Valley’s 1650m track record on his reappearance and has Joao Moreira back aboard after  a respectable fourth over 1800m on his latest start.

“It was a small field over 1800m so I opted to take a chance but it didn’t work out,” said Fownes. “He’s pulled up really well and has put on some body weight so we’ll take our chances back at 1650m.”

Snap Fit bids for three from three

Fownes links up with his old ally Purton when Snap Fit contests the finale and the lightly-raced gelding steps up to Class 3 after two cosy wins over the Valley’s 1000m track.

Breathing issues are the main reason for Snap Fit’s infrequent appearances but Fownes takes heart from a decent draw (stall 5) and Purton feels the run of the race ought to suit.

“If Caspar can keep him sound I’m sure he’ll acquit himself well,” he said. “His two efforts have been good and he’s going to get a nice run on the back of the speed so we’ll see if he’s good enough.”

Early market moves point to Snap Fit starting as one of the strongest favourites on the card but a useful former British sprinter also rates a positive mention.

Forza Angel was known as Nobly Born when winning at Yarmouth and Ascot for John Gosden.

The flashy chestnut has made a fair start to his HK career, winning well over course and distance back in the spring. He ran better than the bare result indicates on his reappearance and has the speed to get across and go well from stall 10 under dual South African champion Lyle Hewitson.

Hong Kong Diary
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