Dirt test for first-up Giant

One of two Class 2 contests at Sha Tin on Saturday is the Hakka Culture Handicap (1200m) on the all-weather track. The well-regarded Little Giant (119lb), unbeaten in two outings pre-import, has notched a win and a third from two Hong Kong starts to date. The David Hall-trained five-year-old is first-up for the season.

“His preparation’s been good, he’s continued to work well and his barrier trial was good so it’s good to have him back at the races,” jockey Zac Purton said.

The bay has not raced on Sha Tin’s dirt surface. “When you get into Class 2 there aren’t too many options so unfortunately we’ve had to run in this race. He’s trialled well on the dirt,” Purton added.

Schofield will ride Dragon Master (117lb) in the 12-runner contest. Michael Chang’s charge has four wins to his name, all down the straight 1000m track. But the useful five-year-old has posted a couple of decent efforts on the all-weather, including when a running-on third behind the re-opposing Dragon General (124lb) at the course and distance last month.

“I think he’s a good chance in an open race,” Schofield said. “I thought his last run was full of merit, he closed well and now he goes up in class with a lighter weight. He’s proven he likes the dirt - there are a number of decent horses in the race but he’s going well, I rode him in the week and he feels great in his action so he’s going to get his chance.”

The competitive field also features last start winners Convincible (130lb) and Wah May Friend (130lb), as well as six course and distance scorers.

Saturday’s 10-race card starts at 1pm with the Class 5 29th World Hakka Conference Handicap (1600m) and concludes with the Class 3 Hakka Spirit Handicap (1400m) at 5.45pm.

Little Giant, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club