Zac Purton believes a combination of improved fitness and more favourable weight conditions will allow Hong Kong Champion Sprinter Lucky Sweynesse to contend strongly for successive victories in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (19 November).
Beaten at his first two runs this season when lugging 135lb, while conceding up to 27lb to his rivals, Lucky Sweynesse carries 128lb this weekend when Manfred Man`s star speedster will give a maximum of 5lb to his opponents, apart from arch-rival Wellington, who also shoulders 128lb.
Drawn in barrier five, Lucky Sweynesse also faces Sight Success (123lb), Duke Wai (123lb), Super Wealthy (123lb), Victor The Winner (123lb) and Fantastic Treasure (123lb) as he continues to build towards the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on 10 December.
Lucky Sweynesse carried 123lb to victory in the BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint last season, defeating Lucky Patch and Duke Wai and, after consecutive seconds to open his current campaign, is primed to improve, according to Purton.
“He`s getting there, first-up this season he carried a big weight (135lb) on a wet track, which doesn`t suit him and last time he carried a lot of weight (135lb) again in a handicap and he improved a bit – I think he`s come on again since then,” the six-time Hong Kong champion jockey said.
“Set weights and penalties suits him better, of course, but I just think he`s turned the corner and he`s improved and I`m happy with where he`s at.”
Conceding tactics will play a decisive role in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m), Purton is hopeful Beauty Eternal has made sufficient fitness headway to reverse G2 Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) defeat to California Spangle.
To jump from barrier five, Beauty Eternal (123lb) is pitted against California Spangle (128lb), Beauty Joy (123lb), Healthy Happy (123lb) and Voyage Bubble (123lb) as John Size`s charge aims to enhance a remarkably consistent record of seven wins and four minor placings from 11 starts.
“He ran well (first-up), he was in a good spot, loomed and they gifted it to the leader (California Spangle), just the way the race was run – he was able to sprint off the front,” Purton said. “Beauty Eternal probably needed the extra trial to bring him on after that.
“All of John Size`s horse generally progress through their preparation, barriers are always the key to these small fields. I`ll see how he breaks and ride him accordingly.”
Purton will also take the ride on Frankie Lor`s Sword Point in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m), where he will face Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor (128lb), Senor Toba (123lb), Money Catcher (123lb), Five G Patch (123lb), Glorious Dragon (123lb), Straight Arron (123lb), La City Blanche (123lb) and Nimble Nimbus (123lb).
“Sword Point was first-up the other day with 135lb on his back over 1800 (metres) and they rolled along a bit early and I just think it took its toll on him (when sixth to Rising From Ashes). He will be better for the outing but obviously it`s a much stronger race,” the Australian said.
“It will be interesting to see where he lines up against these other horses.”
Sunday`s (19 November) Bank of China (Hong Kong) Race Day features 11 races, starting with the Class 4 BOCHK Cross-border Services Handicap (1600m) at 12.30pm.