TRAINERS’ TITLE BATTLE COULD RUN AND RUN
With nine weeks of the season left the reigning champion jockey Zac Purton has an unassailable lead of 44 over his nearest rival Karis Teetan.
But events over the last month or so have made the race for the trainers’ title a whole lot more interesting than it promised to be for most of the last few months.
Current champ John Size has been in pole position to claim an eleventh crown for some while but old rival John Moore and new challenger Frankie Lor – who learned his trade as assistant to both men – are now just six and seven winners behind, respectively.
Size has saddled six winners in the last ten meetings but Lor has saddled ten and Moore – boosted by a string of winners from his satellite yard at Conghua in Mainland China - has been on a heater with 13.
The laconic Size hasn’t said much about his prospects of topping the table again, while his former pupil Lor is keen to temper expectations as he chases his first championship in just his second season.
Meanwhile, the ever-quotable Moore, who has seven titles of his own, feels this year’s race could go right down to the wire. Given that Size tends to be less prolific than usual in the closing weeks, he could be on the money.
And, speaking of money, it’s also worth noting that horses trained by Hong Kong’s big three have already collected the small matter of a combined £35m in prize money this season.
IN-FORM MOORE IN GOOD STANDING FOR MORE TROPHY SUCCESS
Moore has a fine record in this Saturday’s Sha Tin feature – namely the Hong Kong Macau Trophy at 9.05 – having won five of the 15 renewals since the race was created to showcase competition between horses from both sides of the Pearl River delta.
Recent trends suggest the five Macau raiders will struggle, but Moore has bright prospects of taking the prize again as Good Standing has Purton aboard and some very strong recent form to recommend him.
Champion's Way! Joao Moreira guides the gelding to an unbeaten fifth consecutive win. 🌟 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/P3lBtOqgLw
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 14, 2019
This gelding has had 11 runs in Hong Kong and turned in his best effort yet on his latest run, travelling powerfully on the speed in a truly-run race and battling on well even as the unbeaten and fast-improving Champion’s Way took his measure close home.
CHAN LOOKS THE MAN TO COAX A BOLD RUN FROM MAVERICK
Purton’s presence on an improving young horse who has won two out of three will always command interest and Band Of Brothers is clearly the natural starting point in the concluding Coloane Handicap at 10.50.
Paul O’Sullivan’s gelding was a decisive winner over course and distance three weeks ago and could still be ahead of the game from a 6lb higher mark, but the odds will be nothing to shout about and Mighty Maverick has plenty to recommend him as a value alternative.
Blanket finish! Solar Wai Wai takes R9 under @umbyrispoli giving Frankie Lor a double on FWD Champions Day. ✌️👏 #HKracing #HKChampionsDay pic.twitter.com/xgzeoQEuyX
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 28, 2019
This seven-year-old is clearly much more exposed than Band Of Brothers but he’s fairly treated and lines up in fine form after a battling fourth, just a neck behind the winner, in a competitive race over course and distance two weeks ago.
Mighty Maverick went strongly from the front that day and the fact that he will be ridden by 10lb claimer Alfred Chan – who has looked very capable on front runners – is an added plus.
He looks all set to run another bold race and the ex-German Farshad is another to note at long odds after catching the eye meeting trouble in running on his latest start.