LIFE hasn’t been easy in the racing world for trainer David Hayes and jockey Zac Purton in the past couple of weeks.
Hayes, presently enduring a losing sequence of 29 runners, has suddenly found himself knocked off the top of the trainers’ leaderboard, while the ‘Zac-Man’ has found winners hard to come by with a series of short-priced favourites beaten.
At Sha Tin last Sunday, both Hayes and Purton suffered the ignominy of being associated with Nervous Witness, only the second horse since the turn of the century to be beaten at the odds of 1/10.
The partnership will obviously be hoping for a change of fortune when they join forces on Red Majesty who seeks his fifth course and distance win in Division Two of the Victoria Gap Handicap (1.45pm) over the extended mile.
This former New Zealand import has gone up nearly a stone in the handicap since the end of last season, with two wins and a place from four runs, and could still have more to give.
However, there are reasons to believe he may have reached his peak and, despite a low draw which should allow him to dictate the pace from the off, he could be found wanting in the closing stages.
At the bottom of the handicap is fast-improving VIVA POPCORN, who produced a blistering turn of acceleration to win going away from rivals over the track and trip recently and is still capable of much more.
The outside draw looks bad on paper but he is a horse that needs to come from behind in his races and, with in-form Alexis Badel in the saddle, he may be able to guide this still well-handicapped galloper to victory.
Viva Popcorn 1.45pm Happy Valley