Switched-off Xi Ying Men finds key to latest success
Zac Purton found the key to injury-prone sprinter Xi Ying Men by accident as an impromptu change of tactics paid dividends and gave trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak the second leg of a double.
Shortly after jumping in a 1,000m Sha Tin straight race it was clear that half-mile wonder Dane Patrol and newcomer Genki Moochi were going to rip and tear in front.
Xi Ying Men is usually a frontrunner, but when Purton took a sit behind the speed he was surprised when the four-year-old dropped the bit.
From there he was able to pounce in the last 100m as the leaders ran out of gas.
'When I took a sit he actually switched off for me,' Purton said. 'He must be just starting to get there a bit more mentally and he gave me a good kick when I pressed him.'
'When they were going as quick as they were I wasn't going to be able to compete so I was better off trying something different and it worked.'
Tsui has nursed his four-year-old throughout a 10-start career, and Purton said injuries might limit future performances. 'He can probably win again in Class Three, but we'll just see how his legs go,' he said. 'He has a history of leg problems and a bit of give of the ground suited him and being first up after a break.'
Tsui's first winner of the day came from honest Ferrabosco in a Class Four Handicap over his pet distance of 1,600 - his third over the course and distance.
Jeff Lloyd drove the five-year-old to the front from gate eight with a light weight (116 pounds), where he didn't get much peace, but the tough gelding was still able to hang on.
'It was a gutsy win and a nice win for Class Four, he is just a real strong, one-paced horse and probably the cut in the ground helped him as well,' Lloyd said. 'He has to be on the speed and he is best in front. It was a tough win, he really battled, he had to work hard to get there and he was pestered the whole way, but to his credit he really did knuckle down and didn't give in.'
Both jockeys said they were thrilled to ride winners for the likeable trainer, who rides his own work and has a reputation for getting his horse's rock-hard fit. 'He puts a lot of work into it because he rides his own work he can tell you a lot about a horse,' Lloyd said.