(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S DING DONGS
Often, especially in horse racing, the LOUDEST secrets are those deserving to fall on deaf ears.
For example, for around two months, one of these LOUD secrets has been that Zac Purton had lost the ride on Military Attack with trainer John Moore telling the SCMP last week that he wasn’t happy with the jockey’s last few rides on the horse and how owner Steven Lo had listened to his trainer and agreed that Joao Moreira ride it.
Of course, the old “change of luck” trump card was played.
If only we could use this on some of our relationships: Sorry, baby, but on your bike as I need a change of luck as you’re just bad fung shui.
What was puzzling to this supposed “done deal” were reports in the Chinese racing media that this was all news to Steven Lo who is said to have dug his heels in and, together with his gorgeous wife- Canny- was staying loyal to Purton.
Of course, rumors are rumors and both Lo and Moore, or, as we call the dynamic duo, LoMoore are hard-headed people with a Do-as-I-say-or-else attitude.
It’s got them far in life and business and works for them. Dictatorial? Perhaps? As to who’s right and who’s wrong? Probably both.
John Moore is the horse’s hired trainer and knows what’s best for Military Attack whereas Steven Lo pays the training fees and purchased the horse.
So, when titans clash, there is always a fallout and someone is the meat in the sandwich and here, the salami is Zac Purton.
Apparently, there have been a few Kung Hei Fat Choys exchanged between the LoMoores along with a few ultimatums and how this is all played out in the next few weeks should make for another interesting horse opera.
As for the breakdown between Moore and Purton, we wonder what caused it- and if it all centers around Military Attack and an owner siding with a jockey and not his trainer?
It sounds almost like a lovers tiff and about control as to some, control means everything and, if so, is this fair on Zac Purton who’s just the piano player in this cacophony of sound between two vocal personalities?
Before the arrival of Magic Man Moreira- and what a fantastic addition he has been to the riding ranks- The Zac Attack was hailed as “the new Douglas Whyte”.
He could no wrong, did no wrong and was riding doubles and trebles with consummate ease, had won Group races at Ascot, Singapore- on Military Attack- Japan’s All-Star Jockey Series, and was on a bigger roll than a Cheech and Chong bong.
Then, very abruptly, it’s all seemingly come to a screeching halt with Tye Angland being seen by some as “the new Zac Purton” in what feels like a very long season as so much has already happened.
These days, the perception is that the lethal Zac Attack almost seems relegated to a third banana role while finding it tough to get on winning rides and, for reasons we don’t understand, having to suddenly play a role as laid-back as Melbourne’s much-touted Relaxed Racing and its just plain juvenile Om radio spots. Dearie me.
Getting back to Zac Purton, okay, so Tony Cruz doesn’t use him- but, let’s face it, when was the last time Cruzy used an Aussie jockey?
Brett Prebble might have, once upon a time, got a ride here and there, but that never went anywhere whereas even Douglas Whyte went through many seasons without any Cruz Control.
The Aussie style of riding is not for him- though, for the first time- have mercy, sweet Brother James Brown!- Purton rides a horse for the trainer today- Bullish Friend in the Champion Sprint.
John Size not using him is a bit more complicated and, possibly, goes back to the reputation of a much younger- and, supposedly, cocky- Zac Purton in Oz. Possibly.
So, what next for The Zac Attack when this looked like being his Time Of The Season boosted with all those articles about him coming of age, too much made of the “finger pointing” episode and, far more importantly- and, rightfully- the incredible confidence he exuded and resulted in racking up over thirty winners in rapid quick time?
But times change, people change and today, even Dennis Yip, Purton’s biggest supporter last season and who The Zac Attack helped enormously to win the Trainer Premiership, has had a slow start to this season, and, with his new purchases only now being unveiled, it looks as if Dougie Whyte has a head start on getting on these.
Let’s not forget what a formidable partnership Whyte and Yip had a few seasons ago before Brett Prebble stepped in- and when that relationship soured, the pendulum swung back in favor of Whyte- until The Zac Attack came bursting through the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Yes, that’s racing and that’s the usual jockey merry-go-round that makes us dizzy, Miss Lizzy.
Advice to Purton like chin up and keep doing what you do best is easier said than done. They’re just words.
Frankly, if in the shoes of this extremely gifted rider, apart from having to deal with the recent blistering chilly weather that he loathes, and why he left Melbourne all those years ago, he’s also had to deal with getting the cold shoulder from some trainers- perhaps, orders from owners- we’d think it through and come out fighting- but by talking softly and carrying a big stick.
Zac Purton is in a strange place right now and the story of not receiving the support of the three major stables has been played out too often and should be given a rest. It makes the jockey sound like the boy who cried wolf.
Far more impressive is what he has achieved WITHOUT their support.
Right now, Hong Kong is in the throes of Moreiramania- and for good reason. The Brazilian Magic Man is an incredible talent and is extremely likable.
Everybody Loves Raymond and Everybody Loves Joao.
Like Douglas Whyte, Zac Purton has to deal with this new kid in town and realize that when life throws you a curve, you conquer it and learn to deal with it by reaching for The Art Of War, reading it, regrouping and coming out with a new and positive outlook on life that everyone can see- and wants to see you succeed by backing all you do.
After all, positivity is catchy.
A jockey’s lot is sure a tough one and worse than anyone’s mood swings as things can change so drastically overnight- like the recent mini-banana split between young Chad Schofield and David Hayes.
As the young rider mentioned in an interview with Baba Shane Anderson, he asked if he might possibly have one day of the week free when the stable wasn’t busy to ride for other stables to gain more experience- a simple request that got Schofield suspended from riding any of Haysey’s horses “for a while.”
Earlier this week, Tommy Berry went on social media to apologize for a ride on the Team Hawkes-trained Traitor that he felt was a bad one.
We have to wonder if the young Berry who rode a treble at Rosehill yesterday has started a trend amongst jockeys and what Stewards might think if this Honesty policy really takes off?
Think about it, especially how it might impact suspensions and how public opinion can win over a jockey for following an Honesty Is The Best Policy way of apologizing for a bad ride on social media.
We think it’s great and a game changer in horse racing which, one day very soon, will definitely impact Stewards enquiries.
Meanwhile, as most of us know, Tommy Berry is in town for John Moore and to give Designs On Rome one final prep run before the Hong Kong Derby, but we were a tad surprised to see Craig Williams, below, being flown out, especially to ride the Almond Lee-trained First Sight Love in the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Cup which races up a class and takes on the likes of Able Friend, Flagship Shine, and Designs On Rome at level weights.
THE FAST TRACKER TAKES ON A CLASSICAL TWIST.
After last Saturday and a turgid Wednesday, today should be more about form and less to do with closing both eyes and taking a pin.
Though the weather is cold, the sky is gloomy and the prospect of rain is forecast- and the experts always get it wrong- racing should be fair and square- and with no need to go out wide in search of new land.
R1MAGICAL BEAM/SPECTACULAR AWARD/MAN AND MING
A Class 5 race to open proceedings and a good time to go to the buffet table and grab the sushi and sashimi before they disappear before one can say, Sayonara.
R2 SPARKLING SWORD/MELLIFLUENT/BRIGHT STAR/VARA PEARL
With two of the best chances drawn out wide- Bright Star and Mellifluent- this might give Sparkling Sword and newcomer Vara Pearl better chances of taking this one out.
R3 MR GOURMET/GREAT PEGASUS/GRACEFUL KINGDOM
A tough race and not for me- or Joao Moreira who- huh?- doesn’t have a ride in the race.
R4 ON THE WAY/HAPPY CENTENARY
I’ve been following both horses and think one of them or both can be taken as bankers or even double bankers in a tough first leg of the Triple Trio with the former ridden by Douglas Whyte who has worked and kept the ride on On The Way from day one, and the other ridden by Brett Prebble, once fierce rivals and, today, good chums.
Another horse to consider is the Caspar Fownes-trained Starting Over which came third on Wednesday and might find Shatin and a firmer track more to its liking. One doubts we saw the real Starting Over on Wednesday.
R5 SMART FORWARD/ACCESS YEARS
The last time these two met, Tommy Berry on Smart Forward rode a brilliant competitive race to keep Access Years pocketed.
How this is played out today should be fascinating viewing with this looking like a two-horse race. For the tierce, Tonyboy, Multi-Express and Medic Swordsman.
R6 ARCHIPUSS/GREEN MANNER/EXECUTIVE MANDATE/KHAYA
Archipuss seems to be heading higher and looks the one to beat, but keep Khaya and, especially, Executive Mandate in mind which runs for the old firm of Hall and Prebble.
If looking for a real longshot, bung in the Ranjan Mahtani-owned Jaeger Bomb, who, from what I hear, is quite an expert on the powers of this lethal shooter.
R7 LUCKY NINE/CHARLES THE GREAT/FREDERICK ENGELS/STERLING CITY
Take Lucky Nine out of this field where it will be the sentimental favorite and what you have is a very even field.
Surprising is Tony Cruz having three runners in the race and Matthew Chadwick on none of them.
He rides the very interesting Cerise Cherry for Derek Cruz.
R8 ABLE FRIEND
Just wins with Designs On Rome not knocked about.
R9 REWARDING HERO/KABAYAN
Another winner for John Moore and possibly even a Moore quinella.
R10 BIG FOUR/SMART BALL/GREAT CHARM/GREAT SKY
A typically competitive last race which will see some VERY heavy bets placed and where turnover will zoom and the totalizator explode.
BEST BET- RACE 9- REWARDING HERO (5)
NEXT BEST- RACE 4- ON THE WAY (7)
LONGSHOT- RACE 6- EXECUTIVE MANDATE
SARIKA’S SIX UP
SELECTIONS FROM THE BIG APPLE (@SW064351)
Race 9, No. 5 Rewarding Hero
Won last start with something in hand and he appears destined for greater things.
Race 7, No. 1 Lucky Nine
Freshened since disappointing on international day. Barrier manners a concern but he looks to have too much class for this lot.
Race 10, No. 2 Great Charm
Was left flat-footed behind Mr Gnocchi but his win two starts back was outstanding. Worth another chance
Race 5, No. 4 Smart Forward
Only just got home after Access Years was badly held up and meets him five pounds worse.
1,2,3,5 / 2,3,9 / 3,5,11 / 1,2,6. $50 for 46.29%.
TODAY’S SELECTIONS FOR SHA TIN (FROM THE THIRD DIVIDEND)
Day Races @HKJC_Racing
Turf (“A” Course)
Weather: It will be cloudy with a few rain patches. Temperatures will linger around 13 degrees at first, and rise gradually to a maximum of about 16 degrees. Mist patches at night. Moderate to fresh easterly winds, occasionally strong at first.
Race 1: DIM SUM HCP CL5
1 – Man And Ming (11)
2 – Record Again (5)
3 – Bernard’s Choise (1)
4 – Casa Junior (10)
Race 2: BILLET EXPRESS HCP CL4
1 – Mellifluent (3)
2 – Sparklign Sword (14)
3 – Bright Star (2)
4 – Fay Deep (13)
Race 3: ABSOLUTE CHAMPION HCP CL4
1 – Mr Gourmet (1)
2 – Graceful Kingdom (7)
3 – Great Pegasus (4)
4 – Sunny Pearl (9)
Race 4: SACRED KINGDOM HCP CL4
1 – Happy Centenary (4)
2 – Towering Storm (2)
3 – Winnam (8)
4 – On The Way (7)
Race 5: CHARMING CITY HCP CL3
1 – Smart Forward (4)
2 – Access Years (1)
3 – Multiexpress (10)
4 – Monte Castello (7)
Race 6: SILENT WITNESS HCP CL3
1 – Archippus (10)
2 – Khaya (12)
3 – Why Not (8)
4 – Genki Twins (2)
Race 7 (Q1): THE CHAIRMAN’S SPRINT PRIZE – HONG KONG GROUP ONE
1 – Sterling City (2)
2 – Lucky Nine (1)
3 – Charles The Great (3)
4 – Frederick Engels (4)
Race 8 (Q2): THE HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP – HONG KONG GROUP ONE
1 – Able Friend (2)
2 – Designs On Rome (3)
3 – Flagship Shine (1)
4 – Dr Good Habit (9)
Race 9 (Q3): FAIRY KING PRAWN HCP CL2
1 – Rewarding Hero (5)
2 – Kabayan (11)
3 – Beauty Flame (4)
4 – Sea Dragon (3)
Race 10 (Q4): GRAND DELIGHT HCP CL3
1 – Berlini (14)
2 – Sichuan Exec (5)
3 – Great Charm (2)
4 – Big Four (6)
Race 8: Able Friend (2)
Race 5: Smart Forward (4)
Race 10: Berlini (14) – Currently, $11.00/N/A
Race 1: Casa Junior (10) – Currently, $31.00/$7.90
Quaddie ($100 gets you 69%)