A bulging contacts book is an asset to any Hong Kong jockey and champion Zac Purton added another name to his list of winning trainers when Applause aced the Hong Kong Golf Club Centenary Cup for up-and-coming Jimmy Ting at Happy Valley tonight (Wednesday 12 December).
Ting’s impressive start to his first campaign shows no sign of slowing down with the season almost a third over but, until tonight, his success had been built on a wide range of riders other than the champion.
Purton had only had one mount for Ting prior to this but the Aussie seized his chance on the 3.2 favourite, driving the chestnut home a neck ahead of longshot Better Choice to give Ting his 20th success at a strike rate of better than one in five.
“Jimmy is going terrifically well and he’s obviously a trainer I’m looking to ride more for,” said Purton. “I’m not sure what his edge is but he’s training a lot of winners – and that’s all that matters!”
Purton starts a three-meeting ban after this Sunday’s Sha Tin fixture but he ended the night with a treble to leave himself eight ahead of Karis Teetan at the top of the table.
Trebles all round was the motto after Smart Baby completed the final leg in R5 as the Caspar Fownes-trained gelding was completing his own three-timer after two Valley successes in November.
Fownes said: “He came here with decent runs in the UK but has had a few soreness problems. He’s done his job now but he remains in Class 4 so let’s hope he can snag another.”
Fownes also had news of Southern Legend, who could step up in trip after his fine third behind Beauty Generation in Sunday’s Hong Kong Mile.
“He’s pulled up really well,” said Fownes. There’s a chance he’ll go to Dubai next spring but I’d rather not keep clashing with Beauty Generation so I might train him up for a try over further.”
Gibson hits double figures before eyeing new year targets
Richard Gibson isn’t the sort to hand out praise for the sake of it but hailed Purton’s performance in winning R1 aboard Kwaichung Brothers as “an amazing ride.”
The six year-old took his record for the champion to two wins and a second – he is winless in 24 runs for others – with a sweeping charge to win easing down.
The success took Gibson into double figures for the season and the English handler offered an update on stable star Gold Mount, who got going too late when sixth in Sunday’s Hong Kong Cup.
“It was frustrating as he clocked the joint fastest closing 400m in the race along with the runner-up Deirdre,” he said.
“With a better position I think he could have finished third or fourth and, as he’s won at Happy Valley, I’m thinking of bringing him back here for the January Cup (G3) over 1800m.”
Gold Mount could find an old rival standing in his way if he does contest that 9 January contest – the only Group race of the season at the Valley – as Tony Cruz has the same race in mind for Sunday’s Hong Kong Vase hero Exultant.
Cruz was speaking after Karis Teetan helped Waldorf defy stall 12 to open his Hong Kong account in R2 and reported that Time Warp, Pakistan Star and Exultant had all “pulled up fine” after Sunday.
“Exultant is such a stayer but we just don’t have many races for him and so we might have to come back to 1800m with him for the G3 race,” he said.
Different tactics but same results as Wong snares a sprint double
Frankie Lor reports that he was up as normal at 5am on Monday after his Sunday G1 double with Mr Stunning and Glorious Forever and his winning run continued thanks to Victor Wong’s dynamic ride on Speed Vision in R6.
“Jump good and use the draw” were the trainer’s instructions and Wong made maximum use of the inside barrier to lead from start to finish.
Wong showed a more patient style in R7 and moved on to a highly respectable 15 winners for the season aboard Telecom Brothers.
Me Tsui joined Wong on 15 as his progressive four-year-old stalked and pounced to beat California Archer with a little more in hand than the length margin suggests.
Ho continues good run as Dancer sends Quartet dividend Spinning
Spinning Dancer ran out a shock winner of R3 for Manfred Man and recorded his first success for the better part of two years by wearing down Lucky Storm, Fortune Patrol and Triumphal Win in a bunched finish.
Winning rider Vincent Ho remains third in the table behind Purton and Teetan and Spinning Dancer’s 47-1 success caused a stir at the betting windows.
The Quartet weighed in at a hefty HK$1.163 million for a $10 stake, though that still pales in comparison with the record HK$2.654 million dividend when Red Elysees scored at Sha Tin in February of last year.