PUNTERS may have had a tough time in the opening weeks of the season in Hong Kong, but results at Sha Tin on Monday’s bank holiday card finally confirmed that normal service has been resumed.
Champion trainer John Size was back in the limelight, saddling the one-two in the Group Three National Day Cup, while champion jockey Zac Purton was at last sending his thousands of fans home happy by riding a four-timer.
Size and Purton gave favourite backers some respite at Happy Valley last Wednesday when combining for a successful short-priced double.
They can be the combination to follow again when they team up with progressive stayer INSAYSHABLE in the main event at the inner-city track this afternoon, the £200,000 Class2 Kwoon Chung Bus Cup, run over 1m 1f at 3.15pm.
This former Ger Lyons-trained gelding, who ran under the same name in Ireland, was a winner twice from four starts in his native country, and was notably fourth in the Group Three Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown last season.
He has yet to visit the winner’s circle from three runs in Hong Kong, but did finish second to subsequent HK Derby runner-up Singapore Sling on his first run at the Valley, and then filled a similar position behind potential top stayer Glorious Forever at Sha Tin in July.
A recent encouraging six-furlong trial will have sharpened him up for this contest, and with the predicted race tempo set to be on the quick side, his stamina will come into play down the home stretch.
Don’t expect big odds about this exciting four-year-old, but this race can play an important role in him taking another step forward into contesting one of the major staying races on Hong Kong International Day in December.
Hat-trick-seeking Glorious Artist is an obvious threat if reproducing his smart dirt form on turf, while Pikachu, a favourite with Happy Valley regulars and a dual track and trip winner, is capable of running into a place at a big price.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Keith Yeung-ridden CLEAR CHOICE has an ideal opportunity to compensate supporters for a desperately unlucky run last start, when they line up in an average Class4 contest over six furlongs at 2.15pm.
The former HK champion apprentice has yet to get on the score sheet this season, but has an ideal opportunity to break his duck when renewing his partnership with the Danny Shum-trained five-year-old, who might as well have stayed in his horse box for all the luck he had over course and distance three weeks back.
On that occasion, having travelled nicely into the race after turning into the home stretch, he was badly impeded when about to deliver his challenge, and was then checked up again when gaining momentum in the closing stages.
Obviously that form can be safely ignored, and having already won over the course and distance back in April from just a few pounds lower in the handicap, his prospects look bright.
This time, with the early speed guaranteed to be quick thanks to frontrunning duo Very Rich Man and Fantastic Fabio in opposition, Clear Choice should find a good position from the off, and then launch a winning challenge down the home stretch.
Clear Choice 2.15pm Happy Valley
Insayshable 3.15pm Happy Valley