Danny Shum Chap-shing is hopeful a switch to the turf can help his promising four-year-old Pick Number One return to the winner’s circle at Sha Tin this Sunday.
Pick Number One runs in the Class Two BOCHK Asset Management Handicap (1,200m) and will step out on the Sha Tin turf for just the second time after posting a runner-up finish at the course and distance in his second career start.
“That time was in Class Four, now he’s in Class Two. It’s a big difference,” said Shum. “I don’t think it will be easy but we can only try.”
Pick Number One has built an impressive record with five wins from eights starts, but all five of those wins have come over the all-weather track 1,200m.
Zac Purton rides the gelding after partnering him at his only other start this term – a fourth on the dirt behind Ugly Warrior in mid-October.
Shum is eyeing a Class Two on the all-weather track on December 2 as the perfect race for Pick Number One but is also eager to see what the horse can dish up this weekend.
“The owner wanted to run on the turf so I’m more than happy to give him a chance,” Shum said. “I think he’s better suited to the dirt though.”
There are a number of horses in the race who have been knocking on the door of late, with Storm Signal, Fantastic Eight, California Fortune and Almababy all second at their last start.
Patch Baby was third over 1,000m on the Sha Tin turf on Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse day earlier this month and has solid form on the turf without ever winning.
He has saluted on the dirt, however, and trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen feels a return to that surface is imminent should the four-year-old not show something extra on the weekend.
“He’s got a chance but it looks like the all-weather track will be much better for him,” Lor said.
The race also features first starter Lone Eagle and even trainer Tony Millard wasn’t able to shed any light on what punters can expect from the former Mick Price-trained colt.
“I don’t know too much about this horse, we will just have to see how he goes,” Millard said.
The horse won once from seven starts in Melbourne, saluting in a two-year-old handicap at Caulfield before finishing third in last year’s Blue Sapphire Stakes at the same track and 11th down the Flemington straight in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes behind Merchant Navy.
Chad Schofield takes the ride and the four-year-old jumps from barrier five.
There is another Class Two on a day that is headlined by three Group Two races, with a couple of likely types stepping out in the BOC Life Handicap (1,800m).
Zac Purton rides top weight Victory Boys, who is looking to make it three wins on the trot for Australian trainer David Hall.
Fan favourite Joao Moreira is back at Sha Tin for the day and takes the ride on promising four-year-old Insayshable, while the David Ferraris-trained Pikachu is looking to go one better after finishing second behind star in the making Glorious Forever at this course and distance last time out.