Super Chic breaks his local maiden over 2200m at Happy Valley.
©Hong Kong Jockey Club
By Andrew Hawkins
Jockey Zac Purton believes a return to 2200m can bring out the best in Super Chic when the grey contests the Class 3 Elgin Handicap at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (6 June).
The Tony Cruz-trained Super Chic (133lb), who won the Italian Derby at the distance in 2016, broke through for a first Hong Kong victory over the Happy Valley 2200m two starts ago. That night, he railed through strongly to score under Purton.
“This is his trip, he handles it no problems and races like this are suitable for him,” Purton said at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning (5 June). “He’s drawn well, it’s only a small field so he gets his opportunity to show us what he’s made of once again.”
Last time out, back to 1800m, Super Chic was sent out 2.9 favourite but finished fourth, a length and a quarter behind winner Victory Boys, after having a troubled passage in the stretch. Purton, however, felt that the Edmond Siu-owned galloper had his chance to win.
“He gave up,” the jockey said. “He came through like he was going to win but once he received a bump from Vincent’s horse (Faithful Trinity) on the inside he just gave up. That’s the type of horse he is though, he can always find an excuse for himself. It took him a long time to win that race.”
The field has been reduced to six with the withdrawal of the Tony Millard-trained Giant Turtle and Purton, who is aiming to take the lead in the jockeys’ championship in the absence of Joao Moreira, is concerned that it could become a muddling affair.
“Hopefully, there’s some speed on,” Purton said. “Sometimes those small fields, especially at the Valley, they are very stop-start races. They can become very messy and we don’t want to see that. We are hoping for an evenly-run race, allowing every horse to get their chance.”
Another rider pondering a tactical race is Karis Teetan, who rides the David Ferraris-trained Sangria (122lb) for Siu’s sister Connie.
“These can be tricky races, any race with a small field,” Teetan said. “It’s something to think about, but I’m going to ride my horse with confidence. I know the more confident I ride him and the more comfortable I get him, the stronger he will be at the finish.
“I actually think the small field could suit him, he will be closer than he usually is and if he can produce that kick, I think he could run over the top of them.
Spanish import Sangria, an American Post half-brother to the speedy Noozhoh Canarias, has shaped more as a middle-distance galloper throughout his Hong Kong career, noted for a sizzling late turn-of-foot at a trip. He steps up to 2200m for the first time, but Teetan believes the trip holds no concerns.
“I think the distance will be no problem for him,” he said. “Coming back to Happy Valley will suit him too, he’s won here over 1800m – obviously that was one class down (Class 4), but the horse is going very well at the moment. His last run was very good, he kept on finding right through the line.”
Also among the sextet is Sangria’s stablemate McQueen (119lb), the Richard Gibson-trained Goldfield (130lb), Willie Way (127lb) for trainer Paul O’Sullivan and the Danny Shum-prepared Good Days (116lb).
The Elgin Handicap is the second of eight races at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and comes up at 12.45pm, with the opener, the Class 5 D’Aguilar Handicap (1650m), scheduled for 12.15pm.