They are the hottest combination in Hong Kong racing this year and Zac Purton sees no reason Danny Shum Chap-shing cannot kick on to win his first trainers’ premiership by season’s end.
The pair have netted 18 winners in 2021 alone, even bettering the powerhouse combination of John Size and Joao Moreira (15), and a Happy Valley double on Wednesday night continued a red-hot run.
Shum finds himself in a five-way go for the title with leader Size, Caspar Fownes, Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and Francis Lui Kin-wai with 25 meetings to go.
“His stable is going really well, he has had a lot of nice young horses coming through which have settled into the place,” Purton said in reference to the likes of Winner Method, Lucky Fun and Charity Fun.
“They are starting to show in the results so that is obviously helping us, he is doing a good job with his older horses as well.”
Delivering 130 of Purton’s 1,265 career victories, Shum has been the Australian’s second-best supporter over the course of his Hong Kong career with only Fownes (149) combining with the jockey for more success.
With Shum sitting just six wins off the pace set by Size, Purton said he would love to see the veteran handler push on to replicate Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s effort in 2019-20.
“I think there are a few in there with a chance of winning it, you have the likes of Size, Fownes, Frankie, Francis and Danny all in there and capable with a few meetings left,” Purton said. “All their stables seem to be in form so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
“I ride for all of the stables so it is what it is but Danny has never really had the chance to push for it before and he’s now in a position so it would be nice if he could stay competitive.”
Purton and Shum team up with Golden Dash in the Class Two Alnwick Handicap (1,200m), who is looking to score his first win on the all-weather surface.
The 90-rated galloper has been a consistent performer, winning five times in 18 starts, but now finds himself in his toughest race yet.
Among his other rides, Purton continues his reassociation with Fownes in the Class Three Devon Handicap (1,400m) aboard Perfect To Great as they rebuild their once fruitful relationship after a six-month break.
“I have had a couple of rides for him, I don’t have anything coming up for him,” Purton said. “The couple of rides I have picked up so far have been done at entries and so was this one, it’s not as if they were pre-booked rides. I just happened to be free in those races.”
Having closed Moreira’s lead to 17 in the jockeys’ premiership, Purton is almost within sight again as he looks to launch a final push to land his fourth consecutive championship.
He will also be legged aboard Alloy Star, Metro Warrior, Xiang Yin, Joyful Heart, Coolceleb, Golfman Star, Infinite Power and Dragon Fortune on the day in what is a full book of rides.