Clint Hutchison: Hong Kong – Title-chasing jockey Zac Purton might be the man to follow if searching for winners on the final Happy Valley meeting of the season where the former champion jockey has a solid book of rides including Sky Melody in Race 5.
Sky Melody, trained by Caspar Fownes, with who Purton has teamed up with 73 times this season for 17 wins can make it 18 with this progressive galloper.
His last two runs over the Valley 1600m have been excellent and the move up to 1800m appears a major positive. In addition, there does seem reasonable tempo in this event, which he will need as he does tend to get back in his races.
Most of this line-up are either on their mark or a little weary at this stage of the season, whereas Sky Melody clearly has some upside. He is likely to be favourite and should win, and can also be used as a banker for a Trifecta which looks relatively straight-forward.
Multi Facets and Naming Plus have both been racing very well and each of their recent form suggests they have an excellent chance to figure in the finish once again.
David Ferraris’ McQueen might find this a little easier and could inject a touch of value along with Har Har Heart who has Joao Moreira on board and doing his best to win another title.
Purton can follow success in Race 5 in the following race with the speedy import Saul’s Special. This will be his second start at Happy Valley and while he performed woefully on his other attempt, it is worth noting he was not racing well in general at that point in time. He has really flourished in recent months and clearly had excuses in defeat on his last outing when racing on the wrong part of the straight course.
This time, he is drawn to get a nice run on-pace from a low draw and might even be able to dictate the pace of the race. In any case, his recent form reads well and he can be wagered as a Win bet.
In the final event on the card Purton rides Starlight, a galloper he has won on three times. This fellow has had quite an arduous season with 12 starts prior to this one, but all that racing has now brought him back to a similar level which saw him win earlier this term.
He simply got too far out of his ground when he last ran over the course and distance and still managed to clock some excellent closing sectionals. In an even race, he might be worth a small Eachway wager if Purton has delivered earlier on the card.