Classique Legend cruises to trial victory.
Hong Kong Jockey Club
By Leo Schlink
Zac Purton is confident Classique Legend’s trial form can materialise in a successful return at Sha Tin on Monday (5 April) when The Everest (1200m) winner contests the Group 2 Sprint Cup (1200m).
The mercurial grey was sent to Conghua for treatment following his 11th placing behind Danon Smash in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on 13 December and indicated he was over niggling issues with a blistering trial win over 1000m at Sha Tin on 23 March.
“He’s pretty good. He’s had a trial down here at Sha Tin and he’s had plenty of time now to acclimatise,” said Purton, who will partner the former Australian speedster for the first time in a race for Caspar Fownes.
“I was happy with his attitude the other day – he’s a real dude. I liked the way he stretched out and finished that trial off. It appeared he was moving well and I think that’s important with him.
“If he’s fit and happy and well, he’s going to deliver. He seems like he’s in a pretty good frame of mind.”
Sitting second in the jockeys’ championship with 84 wins to Joao Moreira’s 105, Purton is wary of Richard Gibson’s emerging young talent Wellington, who swamped older rivals last start to claim the Class 1 Lantau Island Handicap (1200m) on 13 March.
“I have a lot of respect for Wellington. He’s a young horse who’s improving – and improving quickly,” said Purton, who has scored three wins on Wellington.
“He certainly has got a lot of talent. We’ve seen that. He’s got a great turn of foot. He’s a nice strong horse. He’s got everything you look for in a horse that’s looking to be a top-liner so he’s going to be very hard to beat.”
Frankie Lor has three entries for the Sprint Cup – Big Party, Fat Turtle and Winning Dreamer.
“Big Party is still keeping his form and Fat Turtle, the last few times over 1200m, he’s always got the outside draw. You could see him finishing strong so if this time he gets a good draw, I think it should be beautiful,” Lor said.
“Winning Dreamer ran good against Class 1 horses last time and this time at the set weights with 123 (pounds), we can see if he has improved.”
Purton will also partner Ka Ying Star for Tony Cruz in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) against a select group of rivals, including Waikuku and Southern Legend.
“Ka Ying Star should get his chance. 1600 metres suits him a lot better than 1400 metres. He seems to get into a lot better rhythm. I felt that when he was challenged the other day, he fought on strongly under the big weight,” Purton said.
“He did a good job and he would have taken some confidence out of that. It was nice to see him get a victory again.
“It’s only a small field. Obviously Waikuku is going to be very hard to beat, but I think my guy should run an honest race.”