Good luck trying to pick the bones out of the feature events from HK racing’s first major Sunday of the season.
Zac Purton was his usual clinical self with a four timer but Joao Moreira endured a torrid time in a two tactical contests that told connections of high-profile horses far less than they were looking for as the countdown to December’s HKIR races begins.
Courier Wonder remains a sprinter of high potential after running up several blind alleys when fifth under Moreira in the Premier Bowl, while Derby winner Sky Darci and the Magic Man were among the worst sufferers in an incredibly messy Sha Tin Trophy won by the powerful Panfield.
The overseas challenge for the four HKIR G1 contests will be taking shape by the time the local stars square off again on November 21st and local superstar Golden Sixty looked in rare fettle again when bolting up in a Tuesday trial.
But, in the meantime, it’s back to Happy Valley on Wednesday for a nine-race card where one of the key questions is whether you want to be with or against that man Purton.
The Aussie has several strong chances among his seven rides and Harmony N Blessed is bound to be popular for the Longines Cup (2.15) after an impressive reappearance success over course and distance.
Stall 9 isn’t a major obstacle over the one-turn 1000m track for David Hayes’s gelding, who gave Hollie Doyle her first HK success in the International Jockeys’ Championship at the Valley last December, but an 8lb rise brings others into the mix.
Progressive youngster Harmony Fire was a promising third behind Harmony N Blessed four weeks ago and is weighted to make it much closer this time, while Cantstopthefeeling returns to turf with interesting longshot potential from the inside gate.
The sound of the Valley draw drum being banged will be very familiar to regular File readers and this week is no exception, with 44 of the last 81 winners over 1200m on the C track emerging from gates 1-4.
Twelve of those winners broke from the inside barrier and that bodes well for Stormtrouper, who caught the eye coming from off the pace under Purton on his reappearance and has landed on a very winnable Tiger Prawn Handicap at 2.45.
Lastly, another positive mention for Diamond Brilliant in the Speed Vision Handicap at 3.15. Benno Yung’s gelding was the headline selection in this space seven days ago until Typhoon Kompasu intervened.
This is a different race on a different night but the smooth-travelling Diamond Brilliant has drawn well in stall 4 and the fact that Purton is at the controls for the first time since they saluted together at Sha Tin in May is another boost to his prospects.
2.15: 4 Harmony Fire and 8 Cantstopthefeeling
Quinella combining 2 Harmony N Blessed, 4 Harmony Fire and 8 Cantstopthefeeling
2.45: 7 Stormtrouper
3.15: 6 Diamond Brilliant Win and Place
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