There is a recipe for getting the best out of Harrier Jet and it looks like all the ingredients are there for another good performance on Wednesday night.
Paul O’Sullivan’s nine-year-old is a guru when it comes to Class Four 1,200m contests at Happy Valley, having only missed a place once in seven attempts.
His record goes to another level when Zac Purton jumps aboard – he’s got two wins, a second and an unlucky fifth (beaten only a length and three-quarters) to his credit in that scenario – and the Australian will be in the saddle again for the first section of the Morrison Handicap.
Making life even easier is the fact Harrier Jet has come up with barrier four, ensuring he should get a lovely run in transit.
“Obviously Class Four is a nice grade for him, he’s always competitive when he’s around this mark,” Purton said of the 71-start veteran.
“He’s drawn a nice gate so he’s going to get a nice run and he just seems to be getting more consistent with age. He’s continually running good races and I can’t see why he’s not going to do that again.”
The four-time champion jockey believes there can be a significant difference dropping from Class Three to Class Four.
“They go from carrying no weight on their back at the bottom of Class Three to carrying a lot of weight at the top of Class Four and all of a sudden they’re competitive,” he said. “I think there’s maybe a two- to three-length difference in the grades.”
One of Harriet Jet’s opponents will be the Douglas Whyte-trained Noble Desire, who comes into the race after breaking his maiden at the course and distance last month.
It took him 20 starts to break through but the South African is hoping he can take some confidence from that win and go on with it.
“He’d been knocking at the door for a while now and he just needed to get his head in front at the right time, which he did,” Whyte said.
“He used to be pretty awkward and hang in and get his head up, but racing has taken a toll on him and he’s getting better with every run.”
Noble Desire raced on the pace last start and he is likely to do that again as jockey Matthew Poon Ming-fai tries to negotiate barrier 10.
“I’m probably going to have to leave it to Matthew again – he’s not a horse you can be too tactical on,” Whyte said. “He’s not a stop-start sort of horse, he needs to build his momentum and get a rhythm.”
Meanwhile, Karis Teetan hopes H Z Tourbillon can continue the promising start to his career in the Class Three Cleverly Handicap (1,200m).
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s youngster saluted in smart fashion at just his second start before running third when stepping up in grade last time out.
H Z Tourbillon has come up with barrier six for this assignment, which Teetan thinks should help after drawing gate nine last start.
“I thought last time the draw got to us. He’s only a young horse and he’ll be better next season but in Class Three, he’s still going to be competitive. I think the draw is going to help us and he’s going to run well,” Teetan said.
“That’s good for him because I think he’ll like the speed. He’s the kind of horse who can get comfortable and have a good finish – we saw it when he won.”