Saturday’s competitive 10-race card at Sha Tin honours Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairmen and commences at 1pm with the Chairmen’s Day Plate.
The 1000m straight contest is the second Griffin race of the current season and the Moore-trained juvenile Amusing City (127lb), successful in that opening skirmish on 17 April, will face the horse he beat a short-head, three-year-old Lucky Master (129lb), as well as a slew of first starters, among them Hot King Prawn (120lb).
The Size-trained two-year-old has caught the eye in two barrier trials, the first producing an all-the-way “win” under Joao Moreira in an 800m turf heat, and the second a quiet prep over 1050m on the all-weather with Purton in the saddle.
“Every jockey in Hong Kong would want to ride Hot King Prawn and thankfully John’s come and asked me to ride him, so hopefully we can start off on the right foot,” Purton said of the debutant, a grey son of Denman.
“The goal (in his last trial) was just to show a bit of speed and then let him switch off. Obviously, we didn’t want him doing too much with the quick back-up and the race coming quite quickly. He did what he needed to.”
And Purton is hopeful that the Australian-bred will have enough maturity to come out on top in the nine-runner contest.
“You’d like to think he could win this,” he said. “He showed a bit in that trial and he’s a horse everyone’s talking about - there seems to be a pretty big rap on him - so with that in mind, you’d expect him to go out and get the job done, but until they go out there under race pressure you never quite know what you’re going to get.
“He’s a nice horse, a lovely big horse to sit on and he’s got a good attitude so he’s going to help himself. He’s still only a two-year-old so you’re thinking he’s going to keep getting better as time goes on.”
Saturday’s card concludes at 5.45pm with the Class 3 Stevenson Cup Handicap (1400m).
Racing at Sha Tin on Saturday, picture ThoroughbredNEWS