Clint Hutchison: Hong Kong – With champion jockey Joao Moreira suspended for Saturday’s Sha Tin meeting, former champ Zac Purton has a great opportunity to capitalise with a number of good rides, including Hearts Keeper for trainer David Ferraris.
The ageing galloper has proven quite a marvel in his career, which has generally flourished on the all-weather surface. If he can run up to his last outing when second behind the unbeaten Ugly Warrior he might well post his eighth win in Hong Kong. Not too many horses register that many victories in Hong Kong. And because he is so well exposed, he has been at better odds than he should be in the early markets. He will be around Eachway odds and is well worth a wager in the sixth event on the programme.
Purton has a number of other mounts that will start favourite on the day and one that should prove hard to beat is Ever Laugh in Race 2. Nothing went right for him when he ventured to the city circuit on his last outing and it was a “forget” run. Though the drop back in trip isn’t ideal, he has struck a weak race and there appears to be only one main danger – in the form of Royale Elegance.
The strategy is to play a Win on Ever Laugh, with a straight Exacta with Royale Elegance.
Another good Win bet is in the middle of the card (Race 5) with Nice Kick. This fellow showed nice improvement with the blinkers fitted in his last run as he drew clear to beat a couple of handy rivals over 1200m at Sha Tin. He is nicely drawn to get the run of the race and is likely to start at better odds than he rightfully should with Purton riding Lean Perfection, who was a stylish winner on his only start. The main issue is that he didn’t beat much and the time was nothing special.
RACE 2: Win on 6, Exacta 6-10
RACE 5: Win on 3
RACE 6: Eachway on 2