Purton can catch Moreira

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Purton can catch Moreira

Luke Middlebrook – Racing returns to Happy Valley on Wednesday night (first race 12:45 SA time) for an ever-competitive nine-race programme.

And with the top three leading jockeys – Joao Moreira, Zac Purton and Karis Teetan – all boasting a full book of rides, it ensures a heated battle throughout the night.

Purton tasted victory in the first two races on the card at Sha Tin on Sunday, and brought up a treble later in the day, putting him only one win behind Moreira with the standings at 110 to 109 in the Magic Man’s favour.

We turn to Moreira to get home the best bet on, when he partners Yee Cheong Pegasus in the Class 4 1200m in Race 3. The five-year-old has turned things around since joining trainer Tony Millard’s stable five starts ago, landing one win and placing runner-up at the other four.

Last time out at this track and distance 21 days ago, Yee Cheong Pegasus was ridden too conservatively for mine as the second market elect, in a race that was run at a farcical tempo. Recency bias says it was one of the slowest run Class 4 1200m races in some time, with the lead speed in the vicinity of over 5 ½ lengths below average to the 400m.

The race was run to suit the well-backed odds-on favourite and eventual winner Compassion Spirit; however, the run of the race was Yee Cheong Lucky as he defied the early speed to charge home into second…again. It comes as no surprise to see Moreira take over from Chad Schofield this week and let’s hope the Magic Man can get the job done.

My each-way selection comes in Race 7 when Purton jumps aboard Reel Bizzy in the Class 3 1650m. Reel Bizzy is off the back of a luckless run into eighth at this track and distance 21 days ago.

Jumping from barrier 10 that night, the four-year-old never found cover and was posted four-wide from 700m, however he was still there close up in the finish but wasn’t properly tested late after being crowded close to the finish line.

Prior to last start, Reel Bizzy ran a good third here against some of the same bunch, so his form is in good order but he just needs things to go his way, and coming into barrier 4 should at least help his cause to ensure a better run in transit this week.

Track Spy
Video Replay Stars
Race 1 Number 10 FOR FUN’S SAKE
Is at his fourth time of asking and his last start 10th place had plenty of merit to it after copping bad luck in running. Approaching the 550m, he copped a nasty check and lost considerable ground, dropping right back to last where he stood the lead speed 10 1/4 lengths at the 400m but reduced that margin to 3 3/4 lengths across the line.

So, it was a better run that it reads on paper, and he looks capable of finishing in the money this week as an improving type with race experience.

Race 3 Number 4 YEE CHEONG PEGASUS
Racing very well for trainer Tony Millard after joining his stable five starts ago, with one win and four runner-up finishes. Last time out at this track and distance 21 days ago, he was well back in a very slow and inefficient run race — the lead speed -5.5 lengths below average to the 400m — however, he defied the dawdle to flash home into second for an enormous run.
Moreira takes the ride this week, so he won’t be the $4.40 he was last start, but he is the one they all have to beat.

Sectional Time Stars
Race 2 Number 6 PLAY WISE
His last start eighth placing is better than it reads after he stood in the barriers and lost ground, getting well back closing off the second fastest in the race and making up good ground when it mattered. More than capable of winning here with better luck.
Race 4 Number 9 EPTIWINS
His last start eighth placing is better than it reads after he stood in the barriers and lost ground, getting well back closing off the second fastest in the race and making up good ground when it mattered. More than capable of winning here with better luck.

Luke Middlebrook’s Selections:
R1. 2-10-3-1
R2. 10-3-11-6
R3. 4-2-8-9
R4. 9-6-4-1
R5. 1-3-2-6
R6. 3-8-2-10
R7. 8-5-1-3
R8. 3-9-6-5
R9. 1-4-8-5

Betting Strategy:
R3 #4 Win
R4 #9 Win
R7 #3 1×2

Race-by-Race Previews
Race 1: Loriz last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss here. Was on pace in a fast run race at Sha Tin last start, entitled to fade. Better chance this track. For Fun’s Sake had genuine excuses last start, copping a bad check, and can improve in this race (read “Track Spy” for more information). Monkey Jewellery looks a solid good chance based on last start. Always dangerous in this class. Super Lucky consistent form lately and can score here, but needs luck from the draw. This Is Charisma has a better chance on this track and should run well.

Race 2: Dionysus Collin remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here coming into a low draw after a wide berth last start. On prior form, the one to beat. Rich And Lucky talented galloper who is resuming from a break, can run well from a mid-draw under Purton. Royal Racer strong trainer and jockey combination and recent runs are encouraging. Every chance to score. Play Wise video replay showed the last run was very good (read “Track Spy’’ for more information). King’s Man finished powerfully with the fastest sectional time ranking last start.

Race 3: Yee Cheong Pegasus last start placing was full of merit, storming home off a slow early speed, nice effort (read “Track Spy” for more information). Good Shot caused a surprise last start when winning at big odds, but was in the market at earlier starts. Can go on with it, but the market will be a good guide. Bright Kid change of trainer recently and watch the betting. Purton rides. Bullish Brother faded late last start, chance to improve under right race shape. Place preferred. Flying Godspell go on solid previous efforts where form looked okay, maps to get an ideal run and could surprise.

Race 4: Eptiwins changed stables recently and has improved, but has had little luck in running at recent starts from wide draws and slow early speeds (read “Track Spy” for more information). Mission Smart changed trainer and trialled very well recently, looks a big improver this week and keep safe. Lightning Steed a fast beginner who can run well if he finds an easy lead, Moreira rides for Fownes – strong combo. Methane flew home late last start and must be respected; recent runs and form are encouraging. Incanto Prepared go on solid previous effort where form looked okay, chance to improve here.

Race 5: Harmony N Home is an improving type who is nearing a win and barrier trialled well since his last start eye-catching run. Comes into barrier 1 and Moreira picks up the ride. The Runner last run suggested a win was very near and a Class 4 win appears imminent. Momentum Galaxy has always shown ability and can surprise at odds, though Purton does ride. Keep safe however. Destine Jewellery was an easy last start winner and must be respected, gets every chance to repeat the dose. Jazz Steed showed improvement at a recent trial, watch the betting.

Race 6: Be Ready last start placing was full of merit, nice effort and Purton takes the ride. Comes into barrier 3 from 10, can map handier and prove hard to hold out. Flying Genius very well suited by the track and distance of this race, form is good and is a leading chance from barrier 2. Larson nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks a chance but has a wide draw to overcome. Victory In Hand showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight, will do the same but has been weak in the finish. Special Stars moderate recent form but have to respect Moreira/Size.

Race 7: Best Alliance ran the second fastest sectional time last start in a strange run race. Solid effort and looks the one to hold out. Alpha Hedge always finishes close up and must be rated a chance at this level. Was unsuited by the tempo of his last start as favourite and can improve. Sunshine Warrior last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. Reel Bizzy go on solid previous efforts where form looked okay, Purton takes over and will be a big improver. Such A Happiness finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start at his first run for the new stable. Nice effort.

Race 8: Island Shine last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. Looks to get every chance from barrier 1 under Purton. California Rad rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Needs luck from the draw however. Whiskey Neat ran the third fastest sectional time last start, and there was good merit to the run. No surprise to see Moreira jump on. Amazing Kiwi faded late last start, chance to improve under right race shape and ridden a touch colder. Superb Daddy eased early before going on to make late ground when blinkers applied first time.

Race 9: Dances With Dragon changed stables recently and has improved. Huge effort to win last time – could be gassed after it – but cannot dismiss on current form. Private Secretary should be highly suited by the drop back in distance and is the class horse in the field. Enrichment looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form. Happy Fun a fast beginner who can run well if he finds an easy lead. Sha Tin form bodes well here.

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