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Zac Purton

Racing Supernova defies slow start to star on debut for Chris So

The four-year-old looked in trouble as he ended up out the back early, but showed a terrific turn of foot to score impressively

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 February, 2016, 12:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 February, 2016, 12:50am

Chris So Wai-yin admitted to a few nervous moments – actually, a few nervous expletives – after first starter Racing Supernova struck trouble at the start yesterday, but the local trainer quickly changed his tune to cheers of joy as the four-year-old powered to an easy debut success.

Racing Supernova had been well prepared for his first appearance and had shown promise at the trials, including a hit out alongside last Wednesday’s debut winner Mr Stunning where they gapped their rivals by nine lengths, but a hallmark of his trials had been his superior gate speed – something that meant very little when the gates opened and he was slow into stride.

It didn’t matter in the end, though, with Zac Purton producing a top ducking-and-weaving ride from the rear to get the son of Duporth home over heavily backed favourite Malmsteen.

Champion riders are champions for a reason – Zac didn’t panic when he was back last, and neither did the horse
Chris So

“I was definitely nervous – I had told Zac to be up in the top three, and he had showed so much speed in his trials,” So said. “But champion riders are champions for a reason – Zac didn’t panic when he was back last, and neither did the horse. Zac said the horse’s attention was just diverted for a split second when a horse near him started to play up and that saw him miss the start.”

However, Purton said that missing the start actually played to his advantage.

“Being slow away actually worked in my favour,” he said. “There was very strong headwind today and when I came out behind them, I was able to get a suck run up behind them while the horses in front were shielding him. Thankfully, the run came at just the right time when I needed it and I thought he put them away quite comfortably in the end. He has a nice future.”

Purchased by rival trainer John Moore’s son George – one of a number of horses bought by the younger Moore now trained by So – Racing Supernova arrived after four starts for two wins in Australia, where he was trained by Gerald Ryan in Sydney.

“He had a great attitude, right from the beginning,” So said. “He was obviously well educated by Gerald, because he was just switched on from the very start. That was why I put Joao Moreira on in the first trial, to get his opinion, because he was ready to go right away. He’s a perfect Hong Kong horse in that regard, he’s very quiet, he’s got a great temperament and he just takes it all in his stride.”

“His form wasn’t brilliant in Australia, it was provincial form, but he won nicely enough. And now he’s shown tactical versatility, so there should be more races for him. For now, though, we’ll stick to the straight – there aren’t too many horses that could win over 1,000m like that.”