An odds-on favourite in race one can help Zac Purton lead from start to finish in a Joao Moreira-less Jockey Challenge at Sha Tin.
Purton kicks off a strong book of rides with speedy two-year-old Hot King Prawn in the 1,000m Griffin race, with the John Size-trained gelding set to start shortest-priced favourite on the 10-race card.
Hot King Prawn comes into his debut off the back of two local trials in which the grey showed brilliant early speed.
Even though the son of Denman faces some older and more mature rivals, he still should have their measure.
That is just one of nine top shelf rides for Purton, his book peppered with favourites and with each of them set to start single figures in betting.
Purton is unlikely to drift to any type of value price during in-play betting, with Hot King Prawn followed by some solid chances.
Although disadvantaged by a wide gate, the David Hall-trained Hard Ball Get looks very well-placed dropping into Class Four and stepping up to 1,400m in the Cheung Cup.
The last time the seven-year-old grey was in Class Four he notched a course and distance win in December 2015, and it is probably unfortunate not to have found a drop in grade quicker.
On paper, the Macwhinnie Cup looks a battle between Purton on Winner’s Way and Neil Callan on the Tony Cruz-trained stablemate California Whip.
Whatever the result though, Purton is almost assured of some Jockey Challenge points given it is a seven-runner field.
The jury is out on the Paul O’Sullivan-trained Namjong Invincible, a horse that looked likely to win his way out of Class Four early but failed to develop.
O’Sullivan is hoping a switch to the all-weather track and step up to 1,650m can bring out the best in the four-year-old in the Purves Quaich.
If Purton hasn’t built a lead in the Jockey Challenge by then, it might be time to bet entering race five, with rides for Benno Yung Tin-pang in straight races looking like standouts for the Australian.
Three-year-old Super Junior has run great races over the course and distance at his last two for Derek Leung Ka-chun and Purton takes over.
Admittedly, it looks a tough race, with Size’s debutant Ivictory looking very forward and other chances like Strathclyde and Encore Boy prominent in markets.
Yung’s Lucky Dollar should start favourite in the Li Cup after a debut second to Shamal late last month.
Lucky Dollar comes back to 1,000m, and although drawn awkwardly towards the centre of the track, should have the speed to get into the right type of spot early.
Purton finishes the day with rides on King Genki, Hinyuen Swiftness and Sunny Way.