Aerovelocity put the horror of a last-start disaster behind him on Sunday, rising to the top of the local sprint ranks with a stellar victory in the HK$18.5 million Hong Kong Sprint.
Paul OSullivan-trained Aerovelocity (Zac Purton), a Class Three winner on this day last year, finished at the tail in his last start in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint, the main lead-up race, after being severely checked by a tiring Amber Sky on a number of occasions. He could easily have won with a clear run.
Punters were forgiving, sending him out a 3.9 second favourite and, after beginning brilliantly, he was not headed, holding off the 2.8 favourite, Tony Cruz’s three-year-old Peniaphobia (Douglas Whyte), with Japanese mare Straight Girl (Yasunari Iwata) a gallant third.
However, the jockey said there was no plan to go to the front on the six-year-old.
“I definitely didn’t go out intending to lead, although he had showed last season he was versatile,” Purton said.
“But when they jump brilliantly like that, there’s really no other option and I was lucky I didn’t have pressure on me from Buffering.
“He fought on so strongly and he just had a will to win.”
O’Sullivan said having a stable star made all the difference in the cut-throat environment that is Hong Kong racing.
“It’s been a long time between drinks,” the New Zealander said. “It hasn’t always been easy here, but all you need is one good horse and I have mine in Aerovelocity.”