Jockey Zac Purton believes four-year-old series hopeful Superich has “lost some of his zip” but it may not be a negative.
The Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained galloper has finished no worse than third in his seven-start career and could easily be unbeaten this season after being unlucky in his past two starts.
While he has not raced further than 1,400m in his career, Purton believes he is beginning to show signs of a horse that would relish the extra ground that the four-year-old series presents.
“I think when he steps up over a bit more ground, he might be a little bit more comfortable,” he said.
“He’s lost a bit of his turn of foot I think, he is probably looking for a little bit further now, he doesn’t have the same zip that he had before.”
“The further he has got into his preparation, the more he has felt like he wants more ground.”
Superich will line up in Saturday’s Class Two Shek Mun Handicap (1,400m). With the four-year-old series kicking off next month over 1,600m, Superich is just one of Lor’s Derby prospects with the second-year trainer boasting an embarrassment of riches.
Saturday’s meeting will be Purton’s first back from a hefty three-meeting suspension which he copped for his winning ride on Exultant in the Group One Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) earlier this month.
While the Australian was livid with the suspension, he still maintains a comfortable position atop of the jockeys’ premiership, riding nine more winners than anyone else.
Having served his suspension over the Christmas period, Purton joked he is having trouble losing weight for his return.
“I’ve spent it eating my way through Hong Kong unfortunately, now I have to try and get it back off,” he said.
While Superich’s performance could have the biggest ramifications for Purton going forward, his most interesting runner comes in the Class Four Lee On Handicap (1,000m) where he will steer debutant Dancing Fighter.
The Caspar Fownes-trained three-year-old is one of just three Zoustar-sired horses in Hong Kong and he comes off the back of a strong trial win last week.
Zoustar has proven to be one of the star stallions of the Australian racing scene and Purton is hoping Dancing Fighter can open his account in Hong Kong.
“He’s a nice enough horse. He’s got speed, he’s shown that in his trials so that’s usually a nice asset to have in Hong Kong,” he said.
“It is a nice race, there are a couple of horses that go well so he is going to need to step away and put himself in the right spot. If he does that he will be competitive.
“Caspar hasn’t given him a whole heap of work but he’s done enough to go to the races and he could do well.”
Three other first starters will line up in the race alongside Tony Cruz’s Multimillion, who has performed strongly up the straight in his three starts to date.