Last year’s Hong Kong Mile winner and a star of the future were the centre of attention at Sha Tin on Friday as Glorious Days and Divine Calling squared off in a 1,200m dirt trial. Both will have new jockeys when they next step out on raceday.
John Size is attempting to replicate his successful preparation for the 2013 internationals with Glorious Days, who will head into his main target first-up after six months.
Size was happy with Glorious Days steady trial and midfield finish, which will be followed by another trial before the Longines Hong Kong Mile on December 14. Mirco Demuro rode the six-year-old, but has not been confirmed as the gelding’s jockey for his next start.
Zac Purton has given up the ride on Divine Calling, for now, forgoing the ride on the exciting four-year-old for a chance to win the World Super Jockey Challenge in Japan for the second time.
Purton will miss Sunday week's meeting at Sha Tin, and arch-rival Joao Moreira will replace him on Divine Calling when he resumes in the Chevalier Cup.
Moreira partnered the exciting grey in the trial, dropping the gelding in behind midfield in an effort to get him to relax more in races. He finished off in second place under a stranglehold and is clearly thriving after a solid piece of work earlier in the week.
Trainer Tony Millard says Divine Calling’s main target is January’s Classic Mile, but hasn’t ruled out a run in the Hong Kong Mile if the Australian import does “something extraordinary” when stepping up to the mile on Sunday week.
Purton rode Divine Calling to an easy win first-up over 1,400m in a Class Two handicap, but Millard said the ride was now Moreira’s to lose.
“If Joao wins, he keeps the ride,” Millard said. “Joao had done all of the early lead-up work with the horse, so it is no big deal.
"It is unfortunate that Zac can’t stay on.
“We can’t lose, they are both superstar jockeys.”