Jamie Richards attacks Sha Tin with one high-priced debutant and two last-start winners
Jamie Richards saddled two runners for two winners at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and the Kiwi trainer boasts four strong contenders from his five starters across Sunday afternoon’s 10-race programme at Sha Tin, including the latest galloper to carry David Boehm’s distinctive black and white striped colours.
Dan Attack may not scale the same heights in Asia as Dan Excel did after his switch from Kevin Prendergast in Ireland to John Moore in Hong Kong – the son of Shamardal won three Group One events, the 2013 Champions Mile at Sha Tin and the last two editions of the International Cup (2,000m) at Kranji in 2014 and 2015 – but he is a good chance to make a winning debut in the Class Four Middle Gap Handicap (1,000m).
Withdrawn from the 2022 Hong Kong International Sale, Boehm bought Dan Attack – a Deep Field gelding who did not arrive in the city until January – through the tender process for HK$2.09 million. Both Dan Attack’s sire and his dam, She’s A Stalker, were sprinters, and the four-year-old has shown he possesses plenty of pace in each of his four trials for Richards.
“He’s got a good way of racing. He’s able to get up there on the pace or sit behind the pace, and he’s trialled well on the straight,” said Richards of Dan Attack, whose owner also raced 2010 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup winner Happy Zero.
“He trialled well at Happy Valley behind Beauty Destiny, and Beauty Destiny came out and trialled well the other day, so the trial formlines look OK.
“He’s drawn out on the right side for the straight course. Zac [Purton] is on him. Whatever he does, he’ll improve on, but he’s going the right way. We’re looking forward to him making his debut.”
Purton rides three Richards-conditioned gallopers on Sunday, with the jockey also teaming up with the trainer aboard Asian One in the Class Four Magazine Gap Handicap (1,650m) on the all-weather course and Galvanic in the Class Four Pottinger Peak Handicap (1,400m) on the turf track.
Asian One won a Class Four mile on a rain-affected Sha Tin dirt surface last month to make it two victories from his seven starts for Richards.
“He won well,” Richards said. “They went along at a good tempo, and he got into a good rhythm. He’s a horse who needs a few things to fall in his favour. [Matthew] Chadwick gave him a lovely ride last time. We’ve elected to put Zac back on him because he’s up in his weight range again.
“The manner he won in was quite encouraging. It was the first time he’d gone up and put them away. The wet surface we’re probably going to have on Sunday afternoon – he does look like he handles it OK.”
Galvanic has yet to win, placing in three of his four starts. Richards hopes both equipment and jockey changes may help him break through this weekend.
“He was a bit keen at the trials,” Richards said. “We thought we could either come back to 1,200m and leave the cheek pieces on, or we could stay at 1,400m and take the gear off. With Zac booked for the 1,400m race, we thought we’d go that way.”
While Handsome Rebel may not be the Class Four Mount David Handicap (1,200m) top pick of many punters, Alacrity is sure to be a popular selection in the Class Two Wan Chai Gap Handicap (1,800m).
Richards-trained Alacrity is one of three last-start winners in the Wan Chai Gap Handicap, which also features four Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) starters.
“It’s a good quality field. I don’t know what I was expecting, but there’s a lot of nice horses in that race,” said Richards, whose win percentage this term is better than all bar trainers’ championship front runners John Size and Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
“[Alacrity] is in good form. He’s probably going to have to go back again. It seems to be his pattern. We won’t change that too much. Looking forward to seeing how he handles Class Two. There’s nowhere to hide.”
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