Hong Kong Diary

After a brief stop-off at Sha Tin, midweek racing in Hong Kong returns to Happy Valley this Wednesday. Champion jockey Zac Purton has a typically strong book of rides on an eight-race card which is live on Sky Sports Racing from 12.15.

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PURTON LOOKING FOR FINISHING PUNCH AS FIGHTER RETURNS TO THE VALLEY

It takes a special kind of confidence and honesty for a jockey to go on television and say that one of the leading contenders for a valuable handicap is “just throwing it away” and “giving it up.”

However, Zac Purton’s dominant position in the HK weighing room gives him much greater freedom than most and it’s clear he has reservations about Racing Fighter’s ability to live up to his name in the France Galop Cup at 3.15 on Wednesday.

There’s no question that Racing Fighter’s recent efforts at Sha Tin represent solid form and Purton is hoping the switch to the shorter home straight of Happy Valley will help, but Dennis Yip’s gelding has gone up 8lb in the ratings without winning.

Harrier Jet looks a solid alternative from the inside draw under Neil Callan after a strong second here, while Gintoki has been showing fine speed from wide draws against useful rivals at Sha Tin and could prove a lively longshot from stall 4 on his Valley debut.
 

ARCHIVE VIDEO FROM HONG KONG ADDED TO ATTHERACES.COM

You can now study the Hong Kong form with an extra dimension as we are archiving all races from Happy Valley and Sha Tin on attheraces.com. Races from 17th April onwards are now available and from this point we will aim to have replays available within a couple of minutes of each race.

 

INSIDE DRAW A PLUS AS STAR AIMS TO COME OF AGE

Immaturity as opposed to temperament is the thing on Purton’s mind as he prepares to link up with lightly-raced Hainan Star for the first time in the Deauville August Yearling Sales Handicap at 12.15.

Ricky Yiu’s grey disappointed over 1400m on his latest start in December but had shown considerable promise prior to that, travelling strongly only to show clear signs of inexperience once push came to shove.

Purton feels Hainan Star is still “very raw” and “hasn’t got the race brain at the moment” but the three-year-old has shown up very well in two morning trials for his new race partner, running a much higher rated horse close on the AW at Sha Tin then coming home in front with something to spare on his first experience of the Valley last month.

Not for the first time, Joao Moreira looms as the big danger. The Brazilian is aboard Hong Kong Win, who showed bright speed throughout when chasing home the hard-knocking course specialist Mr Right here recently.

John Size’s gelding looks bound to go close but Hainan Star is potentially much better than a rating of 54 suggests and stall one is an added bonus if Purton wants to make the most of his bright early speed.

 

DIRT TRIAL DOES LITTLE TO QUELL THE AETHERO BUZZ

One of Hong Kong’s brightest prospects stepped out under Purton in a trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning and nothing he did is likely to silence the buzz around him.

The powerful Aethero – still a two-year-old but already weighing in at 1240lb – bolted up from an easy subsequent winner on his debut over 1000m at Sha Tin last month and impressed again on his first public appearance since even though his trainer John Moore feels that the AW surface is far from ideal for him.

Moore has done little to discourage the hype by comparing Aethero to his former HK superstar Able Friend.

Time will tell whether that proves justified but his next appearance – which will come against fellow youngsters a week on Sunday – will provide the next valuable clue as to how high he can fly.

Hong Kong Diary
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