It was a four timer for Zac Purton at Sha Tin on Sunday including, below, the first win in Hong Kong of the former Bott/Waterhouse trained Montreal, which means he’s only four wins behind Jockey Premiership leader Joao Moreira.
With the Brazilian Magic Man forced to sit out two upcoming race meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge, the rampaging Zac Attack can afford to chillax a little bit and smell the dim sum. Not that he will. There’s too much at stake to drop his guard. Joao Moreira is no pushover.
At the last of the French-themed Happy Wednesday nights at Happy Valley racecourse this evening, it looks as if Joao Moreira has the better book of rides- and with the better barriers. But as we should all know by now, in horse racing, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and as some of us learned by watching “The Usual Suspects”, scripts are never straightforward. Right, Keyser?
Though the focus might be on The Joao Zac Show, there are other jockeys out there wanting to ride their fair share of winners and stamp their own mark on horse racing in Hong Kong, where you’re only as good as your last winner.
On Sunday, for example, despite Purton putting on a clinic, but still feeling that he could have done better, Italian Alberto Sanna, relatively new to Hong Kong racing, rode two winners at huge odds- an 860 to 1 double.
The Man from Sardinia has made a huge impact with local racing fans in double quick time and being granted a licence to ride here next season as a Club jockey is surely a given.
With Handsome Bo Bo in the ninth race looking to many as being another winner for the Zac Attack, the horse didn’t even run in the top five. That race went to former champion Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte on Star Shine and reminded many that experience and guile remain forever.
It was one winner and one ride, but it should be compulsory viewing for every rider coming up the ranks- a lesson in patience being a virtue and that belting a horse doesn’t make it go any faster. Just ask Pakistan Star.
Speaking of Pakistan Star, how this very very intelligent galloper decides to race on Sunday in the 2400 metre Champions and Chater Cup for his latest rider- Tommy Berry, below with his new friend- will be interesting for a number of reasons. For example, running out 2400 metres might seem like an eternity for Pakistan Star who just might have other things on his mind. Like doing a U-turn and going home.
Though some point to his latest trial last week as the new, improved version of this extremely intelligent horse where he decided to be on his best behaviour, no one tells Pakistan Star what to do on race day. No. One.
With only a handful of runners in the race, who knows what show this fascinating beast might decide to put on for the crowds? He’s not “enigmatic”. He’s only “enigmatic” to those ignorant about the human condition.
Like Captain Jack Sparrow, Pakistan Star is in complete control of everything. He’s a showman. Us humans are just fortunate enough to be invited to come along for the ride.
Tonight’s race meeting meanwhile is not some two man show. Au contraire, mes amis. Never to be counted out are the current trio of apprentices jockeys with their very important weight allowances- Jack H.N.Wong, Victor C.W.Wong and Matthew Poon.
There are then the senior riders like Karis Teetan, Neil Callan, Umberto Rispoli, Olivier Doleuze, Douglas Whyte, Alberto Sanna, Keith Yeung, Vincent Ho, and Chad Schofield.
In between the eight races will be ‘live’ music from Carnivale with a guest appearance from Rock’n Roll Smurfette Kat Coetzee who knows how to own the stage.
Also performing early on in the evening will be French jazz fusion band Le Sydicat Du Chrome whereas the night’s Cup race will appropriately be Le French May Trophy.
With Joao Moreira up, Circuit Glory, a fairly new addition to the John Moore stable is sure to start favourite, but one can’t help thinking that the horse’s potential will only be realised next season and over a longer distance than what he tackles tonight. There are eight other runners in the race with four also having strong winning chances. Who said life would be easy?
Frankly, throughout the night there is some very good racing with the horses to watch being Gold Velvet, Thou Shall Sing and Eighty Eighty whereas the jockey to follow other than the Zac Attack and the Magic Man could well be The Chadster- Chad Schofield, pictured below with girlfriend and host of the Happy Wednesday Fashionistas competition Hannah Butler.
Lights, camera, action and all with a French touch. It’s international horsepower at its very best.
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