Redemption as Purton drives home Humongus
Zac Purton made amends to trainer Andreas Schutz on Humongus with a well-timed come-from-behind win, but there were some nervous moments once again.
Schutz was mildly critical of Purton's handling of his now six-year-old in a race late last season when he was beaten a nose in a Class Five event at Sha Tin.
This time, again in a Class Five over 1,600m, Purton seemingly hit another snag. It was all going to plan early, he hooked back from barrier 11, unwound with a long run along the favoured outside part of the track but hit an unlucky dead-end with around 350m to go when trying for a run.
It didn't matter, as he was able to re-gather, point Humongus into the clear at the 200m and hang on for a relatively comfortable half-length win.
'He really showed a good turn of foot, he really hit the line with a bit of purpose today, which is something he hadn't done too often,' Purton said. 'I just had to wait when I was disappointed for that run, and then come again, so it was a good effort.'
'Ever since Andreas has taken the horse over, he has improved the horse and seems to be racing with renewed vigour.'
Schutz received the horse after trainer Andy Leung Ting-wah had prepared the gelding for one win from 14 starts.
It took four tries for the German horseman to find victory number two, and judging by the efficient manner he dispatched the moderate field, another Class Five win should be in store and possibly a step up in grade.
'This time we didn't have a clear run also, but at least we eventually got a clear run to the line and he got home,' Schutz said. 'They went a bit fast early and came back to him so it looked better than it actually was. I was quite confident he would run a good race. He has been preparing well and based on his last year's form he was always ready to win.'
'He is still in Class Five and we'll go for 1,600m again.'
Schutz said the horse will be kept to the more spacious surrounds of Sha Tin after two unsuccessful trips to the city course last season.
'It hasn't really worked out for us at Happy Valley, he was either too close or too far back and he didn't finish off there,' Schutz said.
'But when they get along at a persistent pace, he is able to adjust.'