Stretching to 1,200m at Sha Tin brought D B Pin unstuck last start but John Size’s explosive sprinter should again reign supreme with a switch back to Happy Valley and 1,000m on Wednesday night.
D B Pin put together three straight powerhouse performances over 1,000m to start the season, four if you include an easy “win” in the infamous voided race 134 in October, later dubbed “rakegate”.
All the while D B Pin has been showing signs of a horse headed to triple figures in the ratings.
D B Pin’s form was good enough to be sent out 2.3 favourite in a 1,200m Class Two at Sha Tin just over a month ago and it took a decent horse and a little softening up throughout the race to beat him.
Jumping from gate one, D B Pin had to push up to maintain the lead but was pestered throughout by 100-1 shot Perpetual Treasure with 10-pound claimer Dylan Mo Hin-tung aboard.
D B Pin managed to withstand that challenge, but it did open the race up for a swooper and Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Lucky Ever, a decent Class Two competitor that will probably win in the grade again, was the one to capitalise.
Now D B Pin returns to the scene of what was arguably his best performance so far, or at least on a track that suits his style more, drawn barrier six on the C + 3 course in the Sai Kung Handicap.
The way the Valley has been playing in recent weeks means it is imperative to be close to the speed, especially with the rail out, even if it does look to be a pressure race.
D B Pin looks to have enough pace to lead quite easily, with bottom weight Diamond Master probably not having the early toe to hold him out from gate one.
Adding some confidence is a smart looking trial on the dirt last week in which D B Pin led and won comfortably in slick time on the dirt.
Interestingly, the Jockey Club’s SpeedPOWER ratings have D B Pin’s defeat as his best performance so far, with a rating of 103, and on those figures only two rivals come close.
Charity Plenty’s last start win rated 105, but that was over a more suitable 1,200m, and the six-year-old veteran doesn’t have the same upside as D B Pin, whose figures are heading higher with each start.
The other classy runner is Richard Gibson’s Jetwings, who was consistently clocking triple-figure ratings and looked Group race bound before being struck down with a tendon injury.
Owners sent the strapping son of Jetspur back to Australia for rehabilitation, where he trialled, and the five-year-old returns after 14 months on the sidelines, providing an X-Factor in the race.
Jetwings (Douglas Whyte) has trialled strongly twice at Sha Tin and from barrier three should get the right type of run.
Purton also rides Game Of Fun for Size earlier in the night but the Australian jockey will need to be at his best from a tricky draw in the Kwai Chung Handicap (Class Four).
Game Of Fun has started single figures in betting at each of his seven starts and has been runner-up at his last two over the same 1,200m course and distance he contests here.
The difference this time is the draw, having started from gates two and three at his past couple but the diminutive gelding should still be competitive ridden colder in what could be a fast-run race.
Where the draw has been helpful to Purton is with the Caspar Fownes-trained Speedy Wally in the Fanling Handicap.
Speedy Wally has already won twice this season but still finds himself in the comfortable confines of Class Five, where the six-year-old started 3.4 favourite last start.
Joao Moreira was forced to push forward in the middle stages on Speedy Wally last start after he was stuck wide early from a wide gate and the gelding did a decent job to maintain a solid gallop and stick on for third.
This time barrier three should provide the chance for a much easier run and Speedy Wally can win his way back out of cellar grade.