ALTHOUGH Joao Moreira will be desperate to cut into Zac Purton’s lead in the jockeys’ title race, it would be a brave man to expect the reigning champion to leave the track empty-handed.
If ever a horse looks likely to have been ear-marked for a contest, it’s Purton’s mount TOTAL POWER, who carries top-weight, in the Wong Nai Chung Gap Handicap (1.15pm).
The David Hall-trained galloper has taken time to acclimatise to conditions in Hong Kong, but has still produced several encouraging efforts over course and distance suggesting he will shortly make his mark in the territory.
The four-year-old was a real eye-catcher when finishing strongly from an outside draw over a distance short of his best in a competitive six-furlong handicap early last month, but still finds himself down in class here.
With blinkers equipped for the first time, which he wore when placed in Listed company in Australia, and a taking recent trial, it’s no wonder Purton has been booked for the ride.
Anyone looking for an attractive each-way bet at long odds during the afternoon should have a second look at ARDENODE in the Shouson Hill Handicap (1.45pm) over five furlongs.
This Chris So-trained five-year-old is still a maiden after 15 attempts in Hong Kong, but did show a glimmer of hope when fourth to Sky Darci two weeks ago.
Having previously won twice over this distance in France, his trainer has had to be patient with him following numerous health issues since arriving in Hong Kong.
Having dropped 22lbs in the handicap since the beginning of the season, he could now be on a winning mark and capable of springing a surprise.
Total Surprise 1.15pm Happy Valley
Ardenode (e/w) 1.45pm Happy Valley