Jamie Richards takes a back-to-back winner and two Hong Kong debutants – one with no race experience and one with a Group Three win in Australia under his belt – to Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Flying On The Turf is doing precisely that, building on his first two frame-filling runs for the Richards yard after transferring from the Jimmy Ting Koon-ho stable with consecutive victories at Happy Valley despite rising in grade following his maiden win.
“Some older horses need some time to settle in. He’s a [private purchase] who probably came in too high, but he’s found his mark down there in [Class] Five and got a bit of confidence off his first win,” Richards said of Flying On The Turf, who will jump from gate eight under Zac Purton in the first section of the Class Four Lockhart Handicap (1,200m).
“It doesn’t get any easier for him trying to put three in a row, but he’s drawn a nice enough
barrier and Zac wanted to stay with him.
“Maybe it’s not the strongest of Class Four 1,200m [races] as they split it three times, and he’s shown an affinity for the distance at Happy Valley and the course. With luck in running, hopefully, he can run nicely again.”
Richards introduces unraced Sweynesse three-year-old gelding Happy United in the third section of the Lockhart Handicap, with Luke Currie riding the newcomer after partnering him in three of his five trials, including his two most recent hitouts.
Of greater interest, however, is Richards-trained import Tiger Legend, aboard whom Purton will wear the colours of Boniface Ho Ka-kui when the 2022 Group Three Vo Rogue Plate (1,350m) winner contests the Class Three O’Brien Handicap (1,200m).
According to Richards, Tiger Legend – whose three triumphs from his 10 Australian starts all occurred on rain-affected surfaces under his original name, Tiger Heart – will “need the run” when he makes his first competitive Hong Kong appearance.
Tiger Legend, whose O’Brien Handicap rivals include HK$7 million Hong Kong International Sale purchase Nordic Dragon on his return to Happy Valley after his Sha Tin flop, will begin from the inside gate under his most recent trial jockey, Purton.
Richards is trucking five gallopers to Happy Valley for the midweek meeting, with Copartner Fionn and Faulds also representing the Kiwi’s in-form team.
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