Winner Method shoots for four, clashes with Carroll Street in hot Sha Tin sprint
May 12, 2021, 7:03:34 AM
Courier Wonder and Fantastic Treasure have set a high bar for this season's new three-year-old crop in Hong Kong, and the undefeated Winner Method (132lb) will aim to add to his rising prestige by entering his talented cohorts as winners of their first four outings tomorrow night (Wednesday, 12 May) at Sha Tin.
Courier Wonder and Fantastic Treasure have set a high standard for this season's new three-year-old crop in Hong Kong, and the unbeaten Winner Method (132lb) will look to add to his growing reputation by joining his talented cohorts as winners of their first four outings tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 12) at Sha Tin.
“The horse is fine, I'm pleased with him,” trainer Danny Shum said. “My issue is the weight, he's just a three-year-old and he'll bear 132 pounds, so luckily he can support the weight because he's in good form.”
In preparation for Sha Tin's first turf race run at night since October 2014, the Australian-bred bay and HK$2.28 million earner will be matched with Zac Purton once again, and the pair will leave from gate five with top weight allocated as the race's highest rater.
“I don't think he's hit his ceiling yet; he seems to be managing his job and racing well, and he clearly has some potential, so we'll get him around a corner soon,” Purton said.
“We know that a lot of these young horses in Hong Kong seem to mature and strengthen up with a little break, and he'll have the advantage of an off-season as well, so hopefully he'll be a stronger horse next season.”
The youngster's most recent victory came at the end of March in a slick 55.24s over 1000m, winning by a length and a fifth, though he did take a few shakes from Purton mid-race.
“At the 200 metre mark, I began to feel more at ease, but at the 400, I felt I was in trouble because he was really flat-footed, and Joao (Moreira) pushed the button on his horse and got me off the bit and chasing.
“But, like I said after the race, I felt his horse would be a little slow through the line, and I knew that if I could only keep in contact, my bloke would be solid through the line like he always is, and so the more we went, the more optimistic I got,” the four-time champion jockey said.
Carroll Street, a two-time winner, steps out for the in-form Jerry Chau and Douglas Whyte, who have four and five victories from the previous two race meets, respectively, and with Chau's 5lb apprentice claiming allowance, he drops to 117lb, a convenient 15lb less than Winner Method in tomorrow evening's chase.
Purton, who is vying for a fifth Hong Kong jockeys' championship, is reportedly second on 105 winners, 14 behind leader Joao Moreira, who has 119.
“I really feel that Joao (Moreira) is in a great situation; when you're leading, you're in the right place, but he has the right trainers behind him; both Caspar Fownes and John Size are trying to push for the championship, and he has them in his corner, so I think that's going to support Joao and also support him in the latter stages,” Purton said.
Perfect Glory (129lb), Metro Warrior (126lb), Utopia Life (122lb), Euromissile (120lb), Flying High (120lb), Eight Trigrams (118lb), and Resolute (117lb) can all bear 115lb thanks to Matthew Poon's 2lb freelance jockey allowance.
Fantastic Way, Killer Bee, Ka Ying Spirit, and Hurry Hurry Gain are among Hong Kong's promising three-year-olds this season, as is Trader, a debut winner for trainer David Hayes who runs in tomorrow evening's Class 3 Kat O Handicap (1200m, dirt).
The Unencumbered gelding is hoping to improve on his eighth-place finish at the end of last month after an excellent first-up performance.
“He got his tongue back and wanted a tongue-tie, but I decided we'd go for double insurance and put the blinkers on him because I noticed his best trial came with the blinkers on when he was in Sydney at Rosehill.
“I put them on the other day and he did trial good with them, but I'm not sure if it was the tongue-tie or the blinkers, so I'm going to do both,” Hayes said.
After a seven and a quarter length barrier trial romp over 1050m earlier this month, the rookie steps out for his first assignment on the dirt under race conditions, clocking 1m 00.78s (15.7, 22.3, 22.7).
“It seems that he enjoys the dirt; he has trialed twice very good on it, but you never know until you race them, and occasionally the morning dirt is different from the evening dirt, but I believe he can manage it,” Hayes said.
Keith Yeung takes the wheel, and the pair will leave from gate four with 116lb.
Earlier, Mauritian star Karis Teetan will ride Spend in the Class 3 Kau Sai Chau Handicap (1400m) after finishing third to Courier Wonder last time out.
“He's a lovely horse – I thought he ran really well, we got slowed up a little on the inside but I guess it helped him because I don't think he was at his best and I thought he reached the line strongly,” Teetan said.
The Tony Millard-trained horse arrived in Hong Kong as a two-time winner in Australia, including a G3 finish in the Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse as a three-year-old. He has raced twice since his arrival, finishing 14th and seventh.
“He had a run, he's been training hard, and he's obviously changed after that run, so I think increasing his distance will also benefit him,” said the 30-year-old.
The Class 5 Tung Lung Chau Handicap kicks off Wednesday's (12 May) eight-race card at Sha Tin at 7.15 p.m. (1200m, dirt).