ICONIC Happy Valley provides another entertaining and highly competitive eight-race programme in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
The many thousands of loyal Zac Purton fans have probably just got their heads above water since the start of the New Year, with the reigning champ having ridden half-a-dozen winners from 40 rides.
Unfortunately, he has ridden 14 market leaders in that period, with a number of odds-on favourites beaten, much to the despair of his followers.
Purton has his card marked in seven races at the city track, with three of them for first-season trainer Jamie Richards, who has visited the winners’ circle three times in the past 10 days.
The likes of Flying On The Turf in division one of the Club Handicap (12.45pm) over six furlongs, and hat-trick seeking Rattan Kingdom in division two of the same race at 1.15pm have obvious chances, while Fortune Master must go close in the opener, division one of the Murray Handicap (11.15pm) over the extended mile.
It’s been said on numerous occasions that supporting Purton offers little value to bettors, unless they tie his mounts up in multiple wagers and pray he rides at least three winners on the card.
Telecom Speed had looked an interesting proposition taking on Flying On The Turf in the 12.45pm, with an inside draw in his favour, and his speed figures impressive.
Unfortunately, his trainer Me Tsui is having a shocking time this season, with only four winners, the last coming on the 12th of November.
It’s a similar story for young Alfie Chan who opposes Purton’s mount Rattan Kingdom with smart sprinter Sugar Sugar in the 1.15pm.
Chan was aboard the four-year-old when they won over the course and distance in October, and they were subsequently unlucky when staring slowly at Sha Tin last month.
For some reason, Chan doesn’t get the rides he deserves, and has had only one winner since, which hardly helps his confidence.
Caspar Fownes, who trains Sugar Sugar, will surely expect more from his galloper YOUNG LIFE FOREVER who lines-up in the Hong Kong Club Challenge Trophy Handicap (1.45pm), over the extended mile.
It doesn’t need repeating that Fownes is in a league of his own at the city track and has already saddled 16 winners at the venue this season.
Young Life Forever finished strongly to be a close third behind Kung Fu Tea a fortnight ago, when trying the extended mile for the first time.
That form reads well, and with an inside draw, he is sure to be ridden closer to the pace and have too much speed for main threat Star Contact.
It’s hard to oppose highly progressive sprinter CALIFORNIA DEEPLY in the finale, the Chater Handicap (2.50pm) over five furlongs.
Tony Cruz’s gelding has looked the real deal with two wins over the course and distance, and looks certain to improve further. There can be no excuses here, with the inside draw a major plus.
Young Life Forever 1.45pm Happy Valley
California Deeply 2.50pm Happy Valley