Snake scare leaves Hayes counting the canine cost
‘David Hayes needs Beauty to win after nearly losing his dog in hiking ordeal' is one of the stranger Hong Kong headlines of the week but all's well that ends well and the Aussie handler is hoping his stable star can win a fourth consecutive Celebration Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Hayes was walking with wife Prue in a nature reserve on Wednesday when his beagle Bailey was bitten by a bamboo viper, prompting an hour-long dash to animal hospital for successful anti-venom treatment.
"It was frightening, Hayes told Sam Agars of the South China Morning Post; "We had to carry him down the mountain and he nearly died. I'm definitely going to need Beauty Generation to win as the bill is horrendous!"
This week on HK Direct: @zpurton & work rider @ClavreulR talk Beauty Generation, @LJ__andrew & @gcunning12 discuss the G3 Celebration Cup + @edward_sadler looks at next week’s National Day Cup. 🇭🇰 🐎 #HKracing
📺 https://t.co/IgqSoOrjUe pic.twitter.com/NeDmDa97F2
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 26, 2020
Purton chasing history as Beauty returns
Hayes is fully aware that Beauty Generation will need to bring his ‘A’ game to concede 18lb to the Hong Kong Derby hero Golden Sixty but Zac Purton feels there are several points in the old champ's favour.
"He's had a little bit more time between runs this time but the horse seems to be really well," he said. "He looks good and to me he still feels like he's got the will to want to do it. It's now David's job to be able to handle him. We're looking to create history as the first horse ever to win 19 races in Hong Kong and for me it's exciting."
Yeung stays focussed after Valley double
Keith Yeung was in prime form with a double at Happy Valley in midweek and the popular local lightweight is determined to stay in the moment ahead of a big weekend.
"Last season was bad and if I was strangled by it I'd be too depressed," he said. "If you give yourself too much expectation then you're going to end up with lots of disappointment and it can break you. Happiness is the source of everything."
Yeung's happiness ratio increased sharply when Dances With Dragon bolted up in Group 3 company over 9f in June and trainer Caspar Fownes feels the Savabeel gelding "can run a cheeky race" at long odds if the early pace is as strong as expected back at this shorter trip.
Smoothies worth noting with blinkers fitted
It isn't often you look at a Class 3 handicap at Sha Tin and think that plenty of the field are hard to fancy but that's the case with the Lark Handicap at 10.10.
Recent winners like Bright Kid and Winston's Lad have probably found their level having gone up 6lb and 7lb respectively, while top weight Flashcard was a smart Ascot winner for Andrew Balding but clearly hasn't found his form since moving to Tony Cruz.
Old rivals Big Fortune and Biz Power have much more to recommend them and will corner a big chunk of the market as a result but don't be surprised if the unexposed Smoothies shows up boldly under Derek Leung.
Danny Shum's gelding was a shade in an and out in his first Hong Kong season but he ran a belter to chase home the fast-improving Mighty Giant here in the spring and the way that he trialled in blinkers recently suggests that he's very fairly treated from the same mark of 74.
Chau shines on ever-improving Star
The latest news about last season's most improved horse is - he's still improving.
Amazing Star climbed from a mark of 58 to 100 on the back of four impressive Happy Valley wins over 6f last term and looked better than ever on his return to the city track on Wednesday, travelling powerfully throughout from a wide draw and forging clear of a strong Class 2 field in great style under 10lb claimer Jerry Chau.
Amazing Star coasts to victory in the finale at the Valley for @JerryChau15 & Jimmy Ting! 🌟 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/lNVMPV9UwQ
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 23, 2020
Chau continues to look good value for his hefty claim and has five more chances to shine on Sunday, including aboard progressive All-Weather sprinter Eight Trigrams in the Magpie Handicap at 9.05.