The scratching of Little Giant should not stop Zac Purton leading from start to finish in the Jockey Challenge at Sha Tin on Sunday with the Australian set to get off to a flier with Super Missile and Pick Number One.
Little Giant looked like a leading hope in the 1,200 Class Two but the David Hall-trained import was withdrawn from the eighth race after coming up lame in his left fore leg.
Purton still has eight good rides, including two short-priced favourites to start the day with exciting unraced prospect Super Missile and last-start winner Pick Number One.
Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Super Missile had already trialled well once before really announced himself as a likely first-up winner with a strong trial behind the John Size-trained pair of Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock.
Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock were the two most impressive performers out of last weekend and now Super Missile starts off a rating of 52 from a perfect draw up the straight.
Pick Number One was terrific when winning his dirt debut at the start of the month and Danny Shum Chap-shing now switches to the turf and 1,200m with the three-year-old.
Shum’s sprinter led first-up and in a subsequent trial so barrier three on the C course will help in a Class Four that doesn’t contain an abundance of on-pace horses.
Purton’s next three rides, Moment Of Power, Brilliant Dream and Star Of Yan Oi do not sit high in early betting markets but could figure in their respective races.
Paul O’Sullivan sends Moment of Power to the dirt for the first time but the speedy five-year-old should appreciate the surface.
Moment Of Power prefers Happy Valley to Sha Tin and there is often a correlation between form on the city track and the dirt.
The son of Exceed And Excel also caught the eye in some recent all-weather track trials.
Brilliant Dream is first-up for nearly six months having recovered from a leg problem and hasn’t won in nearly two years but has been working well in the lead-up to this.
Now rated 55, if the seven-year-old can recapture even a glimmer of his best form he should be winning after tasting success previously off a mark of 77.
Star Of Yan Oi failed over 1,650m last start but Benno Yung Tin-pang’s gelding will be better back to a more suitable distance and down in Class Three.
If Purton doesn’t make the most of his strong start, rival Joao Moreira will be looming and the Brazilian’s late rides look strong.