Five of the more interesting things heading into Wednesday night’s eight-race card at Happy Valley.
Purton doing it tough
Zac Purton enters this meeting carrying a run of outs that has extended to 23. No other rider in the top 13 in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship is enduring a losing streak that long. The Australian has won the past three titles and is not used to this sort of thing. He has 16 victories so far this term, his most recent coming with Beluga at Sha Tin on October 11. The last time he’s gone this long without a winner? Purton had a run of 34 outs after Good Choice’s win at Happy Valley on September 21, 2016 until Beauty Master prevailed at Sha Tin on October 8, 2016. Purton has seven rides on Wednesday night, including Namjong Sings, Melbourne Hall and Harmony And Rich.
Wong gets his best chance
Jack Wong Ho-nam is also keen for a winner – he hasn’t had one this season – but he probably gets his best chance at this meeting. Of his 31 rides so far, only two have started single figure odds – The Abraxas ($9.50) on September 9 and Starlit Knight ($7.50) on October 7. They both finished unplaced. Wong jumps aboard Hin Yuen Bis in the fourth race and Jimmy Ting Koon-ho’s is likely to start shorter than both of them.
The Tony Cruz-trained Californiadeepshot is one of the most consistent horses in Hong Kong – in seven starts, he’s never finished worse than fifth and never been more than three lengths from the winner. Apprentice Alfred Chan Ka-hei takes the ride in the Class Three Po Chong Wan Handicap (1,200m) and will jump from barrier two.
Honourable can’t catch a break
Right Honourable has had terrible run of luck with barriers this term and it hasn’t got any better. Richard Gibson’s six-year-old had gates 11 and 10 in his two runs last month and now has 12 for this meeting. He competes in the Class Four Tin Wan Handicap (1,650m).
Brother finds his course and distance
Winners Brother is yet to win and only has two placings from his 14 starts, but both of them came in his only two starts at Happy Valley’s 1,650m course – the exact recipe for the Class Five Waterfall Bay Handicap. Keith Yeung Ming-lun was aboard Manfred Man Ka-leung’s gelding for both of those runs (and his past five). After being tailed off in his last start and his most recent trial, he’s likely to start a massive price.