Having already inspired his owner into another Hong Kong International Sale spending spree on Friday night, Jing Jing Win is back at the races on Sunday and jockey Zac Purton hopes the sprinter is on his best behaviour in the starting gates.
Beijing-based owner Liu Yu-wen paid HK$8.5 million for Jing Jing Win at the International Sale 12 months ago, topping the sale, and inspired by the sprinter’s two wins, went to HK$9 million for a son of Holy Roman Emperor on Friday night.
Jing Jing Win won his first two starts this season by a combined six and three-quarter lengths to rise 23 points in the ratings, before being beaten as 1.3 favourite in a Class Three on international day.
Patient trainer David Hall then backed off the three-year-old, giving the gelding a month off, before two more solid trials.
The only chink in Jing Jing Win’s armour seems to be a tendency to “sit down like a dog” once loaded, a habit that has caused him to be slow away in trials.
It is yet to cause the horse problems on race day but has his tasks become more difficult, it is certainly something Hall and Purton hopes gets better, not worse.
“He is still a work in progress and he isn’t bad in the gates, he just sits down,” Purton said. “The frustrating thing is that he thinks he is doing the right thing, but when they sit down like he does they just can’t jump clean.”
Jing Jing Win faces a high-quality Class Three that includes impressive last start winner Happy Happy Star (Joao Moreira) and in-form Hang’s Decision (Craig Williams), already a two-time winner this term.
Purton believes drawing gate one on the A course is a plus, even if Jing Jing Win bombs the start.
“I think drawing there helps, it means you can miss the jump by half a length and still hold a spot, whereas if you miss it by half a length from barrier 12, you have to go back,” he said. “Apart from that one issue in the gates he is all good, his trials have been good and his work has been nice, we are just looking forward to getting him back to the races.”