GROUP 1 WINNING RIDE BY HONG KONG’S ZAC ATTACK.
On a day in Australia when many punters were shaken, stirred, Spillwayed and Oliver Twisted, Zac Purton made sure his trip Down Under wasn’t for nothing by taking out the Group One George Main Stakes aboard the Chris Waller-trained- isn’t every horse racing in Sydney trained by Chris Waller?- Sacred Falls.
Dismissed by some as being “only a mudlark”- the horse didn’t seem to know this- Purton followed his father-in-law Jimmy Cassidy on another Waller runner in Hawkspur into the race before making his move on a track rated as being a Good 3. The Fat Lady had sung and so much for Sacred Falls being a mudlark.
Meanwhile, at Caulfield where many big plunges went wildly astray, we were taken with the rather enterprising ride by Michael Walker on the David Hayes-trained longshot Crackerjack King- five wide all the way and which still managed to run third and paid $10.
Elsewhere, riding honours were with Blake Shinn- a treble at Randwick-and a four-timer for Brodie Loy whereas the faith pinned on Trust In A Gust was not blown away though many were stiff- and not stiff in a good way with no relief in sight- when shorties got them by the short and curlies at Caulfield and, especially, Perth. It was ugly, very ugly.
YOUNG GUNS WORTH FOLLOWING
JOCKEY TO WATCH: NOORESH JUGLALL
Currently taking Singapore racing and already dubbed “The Next Joao Moreira”, this 23-year-old Mauritian who earned his stripes after graduating from the South African Jockey Academy like some of the world’s greatest horsemen, Nooresh Juglall, is the first Mauritian to ride in Singapore.
He has already banged home a four-timer, and is definitely a name to keep an eye on as this kid- said to handle himself very well, especially when approached by the Lion City’s notorious racing parasites- seems to be going places.
Will he be going as far as Hong Kong? We’re tipping he will- in time.
WE’RE LISTENING TO LUPA J.
THE AUSTRALIA RACING APP DISAPPEARS OVERNIGHT!
It gave us so much joy- a free download where we could watch every major race from Oz, listen in to all that often riveting off-air chatter from the hosts about Thai dinners, bad trainers, good sorts, getting laid etc all through the wonderful app called Australian Racing and only available to those OUTSIDE of Oz and NZ.
And now, it’s all gone- poof- with nothing for us on our iPhones except for some crappy U2 record we don’t want.
THE FAST TRACKER AND HIS SIT IN AT SHA TIN.
It’s still very early days, but with two meetings done and dusted, the Axis Of Egoiste- Moreira, Purton and Whyte- are calling all the shots when it comes to riding honours with some good cameo appearances from Olivier Delouze and Howard Cheng.
If having to pick the best of the three, it would be The Zac Attack- lethal, oozing confidence and successful- and not without some controversy.
The fine of $25,000 after race 5 on Wednesday night for “inappropriate comments” to the Stewards might appear to be Zac’s contribution to Hong Kong’s “era of disobedience” while adding to the “Kanye West Of Racing” persona, but, apparently, this outburst had to do with rightful frustration in the heat of the moment after having to endure apprentice Alvin Ng’s Mr Bean-like motor skills.
“The Chipmunk” gave an appalling lack of common, or even uncommon sense with his ride on None Other- seriously now, Mr Kelly, what WAS he doing?- which killed the race of having any semblance of a fair result. It was an episode of The Wide World Of Whacky Racing.
Surely, despite all the valiant efforts and Job-like patience taken to try and improve his erratic riding skills, Ng has run outta Get Out Of Jail Free cards?
From the ridiculous to the sublime, and a toast on rye to The Whyte Man’s two winning rides to date which have been brilliant examples in experience and guile.
His ride on Confucius Elite on Wednesday night saw Douglas Whyte, strategist extraordinaire, though drawn barrier eleven, watch, watch, and, closer and closer, edge his mount onto the rails and out-ride- yes, outride-The Magic Man, which is no easy feat.
The latter returned the favour in the next race when, on a horse that’s very much one to follow- Soul Achiever- he over-powered a gassed- and skittish- and looking more and more like a squib in the very expensive International Sales purchase trained by Gary Ng-Longwah Amber.
Gary Ng Hmmmm and another Big Hmmmmm for another battling trainer Almond Lee- said to often be the last trainer to attend trackwork- though it was good to see David “Darth” Ferraris get a winner on the board, and Sean Woods, with a double on Wednesday, looking as if he is set to get those compulsory fifteen winners outta the way as soon as possible so he can take a chill pill and inhale a dozen steak and kidney pies like Mr Creosote.
It was also great to see Howard Cheng aka “Howard The Duck” put his annus horribilis behind him-an injury-plagued last season- by riding a quacking good double.
And kudos to Vincent Ho for a very disciplined ride on Disciples Twelve, which provided a happy seventy seventh Sunset Strip birthday present for Lawrie Fownes, courtesy of son, “Casibah”.
As for today’s races, there’s plenty on offer led by a huge Triple Trio jackpot and a not-too-shabby Six Up Bonus jackpot with the usual three suspects looking as if being the jockeys to follow on a good and tough card with huge value to be had, and where, Beware The Ides of March, and underestimate and leave Brett Prebble out of your bets at your peril.
He might not be the Flavour Of The Month with the town’s leading trainers no longer beating a path to his door, but put him on a fit horse and he’ll deliver.
Race 1: 3-2-1-4
Race 2: 3-2-1-5
Joao Moreira and David Hall team up with Brilliant Dream, which has the form to take this out for the new Dream Team with the trainer’s runners far more “tractable” these days from a punting perspective.
All those notorious slow starts of a few seasons ago, seem a thing of the past though I wait for “Hally” to leg up apprentice Ben So- very sparingly used so far this season by every trainer- on one of his horses and see a Berio-type plunge rock the casbah and the tote.
The first leg of the Triple Trio with a bumper jackpot, and leading riders Purton and Whyte appearing to have the best chances- La Cote De Bleu and Oriental Fantasia, respectively.
Many will take these as double bankers just as many did on Wednesday night with Lucky Scepter and Longwah Amber, and we all know how pear-shaped that “sure thing” went.
Personally, with Whyte riding a pound over, I’ll be banking on Oriental Fantasia and definitely including Best Jade Triumph(6) and King On Earth (5), with the latter given a very quiet ride by Alex Lai last Sunday over 1200 metres. Don’t let the fact that both horses are trained by Almond Lee put you off. The jockeys have probably done all the work on them while the trainer was just getting outta bed.
With Demockles having a quick back from last weekend and apprentice Dickie Lui replaced by Dougie Whyte as it tackles a more appropriate 1600 metres, the galloper won’t be lacking in fitness though I only give it a place chance.
Oxford Charley from the in-form Sean Woods yard, and to be ridden by Matty Chadwick, who came so close to winning on it last season, is being tipped from rooftops, and is sure to to go close though starting under the odds.
Personally, I like the Tony Cruz-trained Terrific Master (11) which, drawn well and being very much a horse on the improve, could be a welcome back winner for the talented young Keith Yeung, below, who, like Howard Cheng, spent most of the season on the sidelines because of a horror fall.
One that can sneak through at odds is Spirit Soaring for Brett Prebble, the forgotten man of Hong Kong racing these days, which is bizarre when one thinks of that time not long ago when he was the only jockey capable of competing against Douglas Whyte and was almost the stable rider for Caspar Fownes and David Hall.
Prebble has not lost any of his talent and I put him right up there with the best in Hong Kong, but it’s baffling to see such an in-demand rider two seasons ago, these days, having to be scrounging around for scraps.
Following good trials and plenty of work put into them, Faster More (14) with Moreira up and the Sean Woods-trained Spinning Dancer (7)- a solid winning chance for Christian Reith- look leading chances.
Being the last leg of the Triple Trio, I might even take a ticket using these as double bankers and add around six to seven legs to include some real roughies.
I’ve been waiting to see Key Witness make its appearance this season, and the star of the Tony Cruz stable should take this out with Dougie Whyte aboard. The only danger is Teofilo Calva.
With three runners from the Moore stable and two from the Gibson yard, this race is at the mercy of these two trainers in this eleven horse field. My preferences are for the Gibson pair- Dundonnel and Mizani.
A tough race to predict as, though being a Class 3 event, the horses are all a bit ordinary with nothing exactly jumping off the page and my choices being 9-8-7-5-1.
The first thing that took my eye was that Tarzan I Am has left the John Size yard and is now with Derek Cruz after a number of disappointing runs last season. Maybe Tarzan just needed Jane? And if a horseman like Size couldn’t get a yelp outta this weakling, one doubts anyone can.
With this being the second quartet race and the last leg of the Six Up, treble and third double trio, these last races always throw up some wobblies, so go looking for value.
For me, this value could come from Graceful Kingdom (10) despite drawn barrier 14 and with- yikes- apprentice Dickie Lui aboard and Step High(9).
Those in the market will be Archippus (5), Full Talent (1) and What You Dream (2).
I’ll take the Whyte-Full Talent combination as a multiple banker in my Quartet bet and wheel into six legs:1×2,5,6,9,10,12
BEST BET: RACE 7 KEY WITNESS (2)
NEXT BEST: RACE 7 QUINELLA-2,3.
VALUE BET: RACE 4 KING ON EARTH (5)
SARIKA CHOY’S SIX UP
Total: $1,200 for a full Six Up ticket