THE CHINESE New Year race day at Sha Tin on Tuesday is one of the most day popular days in the Hong Kong racing calendar, offering the public a chance to start the New Year with a bang and have plenty of dollars in their pocket.
The year of the ‘Rabbit’ is seen as the luckiest of the dozen animals in the Chinese zodiac, offering good luck and prosperity throughout the year, something many thousands of racegoers will be hoping to have had in abundance by the end of the day.
The city’s favourite jockey, Zac Purton, got bettors off to a good start on the eve of the Chinese New Year Festival last Saturday, riding four winners, and can be guaranteed to carry the hopes of the majority of once-a-year race fans who will be mixing him in all kinds of exotic multiple wagers.
Purton will ride top-weight and probable favourite HEALTHY HAPPY in the feature race of the day, the £350,000 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (8.05am) over seven furlongs.
Frankie Lor’s galloper won this corresponding contest last season, but has failed to visit the winners’ circle again in ten attempts, although eight of those races have been in Group company.
The owners were keen to get the reigning champ aboard their six-year-old, who produced a notable effort when two lengths second to champion California Spangle over the course and distance in September, and on that form would be hard to beat.
The majority of these contenders were only split by a couple of lengths in the Panasonic Cup over the course and distance won by Beluga in November, but if Purton, who is a past-master riding from the front, gets his fractions right, Healthy Happy will be difficult to pass.
Healthy Happy 8.05am Sha Tin