Hong Kong Diary

One week to go until the stars gather for the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races. Champion Jockey Zac Purton is off due to a ban but Karis Teetan returns from suspension and has several good rides on a ten-race Sha Tin card - live on Sky Sports Racing.

  • Friday 29 November
  • Blog
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O'SULLIVAN WAXES LYRICAL ABOUT FORMER SPRINT STAR AERO

Hong Kong's resident Kiwi handler Paul O'Sullivan has marked the upcoming anniversary of his finest hours in Hong Kong by reuniting with Zac Purton to reminisce about Aerovelocity's two HKIR successes in 2014 and 2016.

The dual Hong Kong Sprint winner was renowned for his explosive temperament but refused to be denied in 2014 and 2016 and, as O'Sullivan recalls: "In all the years we had him we never once doubted his courage."

DUKE SEEKING TO LORD IT AGAIN

Duke Wai is no Aerovelocity at this stage but Karis Teetan, who returns to action after a two-meeting ban, is confident that he can keep O’Sullivan smiling in Sunday’s Peninsula Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup at 7.20.

The Mauritian partnered Duke Wai to an impressive last-to-first win down the Sha Tin straight earlier this month, overhauling the speedy Lucky More, who has franked that performance with a comfortable wide margin win since.

“The form is standing up pretty good,” Teetan said. “I couldn’t chase them the whole way, so I had to let him find his momentum and I was impressed - he let down so well with such a big weight - it was an impressive win.”

“I think there is a lot of improvement still to come, I trialled him last week and he felt very good - he feels like a nice horse underneath you.”

SANNA IN LIMBO PENDING CRUCIAL APPEAL

Alberto Sanna has appealed against a lengthy ban for not riding Dances With Dragon to achieve the best possible placing at Sha Tin recently and remains in limbo despite adding to his strong start to the season with a winner on Wednesday.

The 12-meeting suspension starts after HKIR day on December 8th and comes at the worst possible time for the Italian, whose latest short-term contract expires on New Year's Eve.

Sanna was seen at his urgent best with a Wednesday win on Golden Kid which leaves him seventh in the table with eight winners who have won over £1m in prize money. The prospect of further censure loomed as his mount drifted right but the stewards settled for issuing a severe reprimand while stressing the need to "react...at the earliest opportunity so that other runners are not hampered."

ABOVE RELISHING THE COUNTRY LIFE

It cost the HKJC around £370m to put down roots in Mainland China and the dividends of the resultant Conghua base were on show again at Happy Valley in midweek as Silvestre de Sousa coaxed another win from the progressive Above.

Above was winning for the third time since being rehoused in the countryside around 200km north of Hong Kong's hustle and bustle and, along with smart Moore winners like Encouraging, Thanks Forever and Helene Charisma, the rural air seems to suit him very well.

"Moore admits that, "It took a little while to come to grips with how horses would adapt" but is now a firm fan of having a second site to train from. "It suits horses that don't do well in Hong Kong in respect to their feeding habits. You can hear a pin drop over there."

Hong Kong Diary
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