Perennial “disappointment” Helene Charisma has found his mark and is close to winning, trainer John Moore believes.
The expensive European Group One winner is yet to salute in his 27-start Hong Kong career, managing to finish second just once after reaching a peak rating of 103 in 2017.
Now rated 74, the six-year-old has fallen a long way, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel after enjoying a stint at the Jockey Club’s Conghua training facility in mainland China.
“It was a great trial up there, there was some cut in the ground and he loved every bit of it, he finished third but it was a strong trial,” Moore said.
“Zac [Purton] was very positive about him afterwards so hopefully we can convert Conghua to Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
“He likes it over there, here there is a lot of confinement, no opportunities to get out in a day yard or have a nice pick of grass.”
With the now-retired Douglas Whyte partnering the horse in his last two starts, Purton will ride him in race conditions for the first time since November 2017, where they finished eighth in Group Three company.
The pair will line up from barrier two on Wednesday night in the Class Three Police Cup (1,800m) as Helene Charisma looks to strike his first blow in Hong Kong.
Namjong Plus with a last-to-first surge under Keith Yeung, his third 1800m win at the Valley, and that makes it a double on the night for trainer Me Tsui. #HKracing #HappyWednesday pic.twitter.com/Iz7YYuFmjZ— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) January 23, 2019
“In Class Three he has got to be winning there after his trial in Conghua and with Zac riding in great form, he has got to be the one to beat,” Moore said.
“[Barrier two] definitely helps because he hangs in, even though Zac wanted a wider gate. Before he came to Hong Kong he had surgery in one of his joints and had a chip removed, there is probably a little bit of aggravation down there which is the reason for the hanging.
“I don’t see any problem with the gate, I think it’s a good one, Zac will just need a bit of luck in running.”
Known as Mont Ormel in Europe, Moore plucked the then three-year-old with high hopes of winning a Hong Kong Derby, but admits he has since struggled to find his way in the fickle Hong Kong environment.
“He won the [Group One] Grand Prix de Paris [2,400m] but it was a very weak field, a lot of those out of that race in that particular year haven’t done that well, but he did win it and we thought he was a good prospect for the Derby in Hong Kong, but overall he has been a total disappointment,” he said.
After getting shuffled back in his last start in January, Helene Charisma ran on strongly over the 1,800m trip at Happy Valley before running into traffic, costing him a final run at eventual winner Namjong Plus.
Helene Charisma will again find Namjong Plus on Wednesday night alongside the likes of consistent gallopers Sacred Ibis, Famous Warrior, Red Elysees and You Have My Word.