Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse a stepping stone to LONGINES Hong Kong Vase for Eagle Way, Helene Charisma
Trainer John Moore is using Sunday’s G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin as an opportunity to get a gauge on how Group 1 winners Eagle Way and Helene Charisma are tracking as they continue their preparations for next month’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
Moore produced the only Hong Kong victory in the Vase this century with Dominant in 2013. This year, 2016 Queensland Derby winner Eagle Way and last year’s Grand Prix de Paris victor Helene Charisma lead his charge towards the HK$18 million feature.
“They are both entered for the Vase, and the Vase only – I didn’t put either of them in the 2000m race,” Moore said, referring to the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup. “They are both thorough stayers so I’m excited to see what they can do in December, but obviously we have to get through Sunday’s race first.
“Eagle Way ran well first-up and has trialled well since so I think he’s right on target and I’d expect him to run a big race. I’m still trying to figure out Helene Charisma, he was disappointing fresh when the track was very firm, but we know that he has the talent to win a race like this on his day.”
Eagle Way gets the better of Helene Charisma to win the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup last season, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Tommy Berry, who rode Eagle Way (128lb) to his Queensland Derby score, takes the reins on the More Than Ready five-year-old, while Zac Purton reunites with Helene Charisma (119lb), having partnered the Air Chief Marshal four-year-old to a season-ending third in a Class 2 2000m event in July.
“I do think Helene Charisma struggles with firmer ground, because in the mornings on the dirt, he seems to really enjoy the more forgiving surface, he trucks up to the line nicely,” Purton said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (3 November). “He feels like he is going fairly well in the mornings, but I also think he was going a bit better when I was riding him last season. That’s to be expected though, so early in his preparation, you’d be hoping he gets better as he progresses.
“He’s drawn an awkward gate (nine) and he’s a difficult horse to ride, so we are going to need things to fall our way. But he’s a very talented horse when he’s right – he’s got all the ability, it’s just a matter of him applying himself properly. This is just another stepping stone for him on his way to bigger goals.”
Moore also runs four-year-old Rocketeer (113lb), who the trainer suggested could be another Vase contender on his way to March’s BMW Hong Kong Derby, while Harbour Master (120lb) completes the handler’s quartet. They will be ridden by Karis Teetan and Umberto Rispoli respectively.
The 14-runner G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) is the seventh of 10 races at Sha Tin on Sunday and is scheduled to jump at 4.05pm, with the opener, the Class 4 Kate Handicap (1200m), set for 1pm.