It’s no secret that most horses are better off with Zac Purton in the saddle, but for the David Ferraris-trained Blastoise it seems the only way the four-year-old can win is with the star Australian aboard.
Blastoise has been ultra-consistent across his past four starts, producing a win and three seconds, and statistics suggest the booking of Purton leaves the gelding well-placed to add a second victory to his resume in Saturday’s Class Four Kwu Tung Handicap (1,800m) at Sha Tin.
His only career win came two starts ago under Purton – the only time the reigning champion jockey has ridden him – and his three recent seconds where all behind horses ridden by the reigning champion jockey.
“He’s back with Zac, which is good,” Ferraris said. “Every time he runs second, Zac beats him and when he won, Zac was on him – so thankfully Zac’s riding him.”
After four midfield finishes to begin his career, Blastoise landed his first placing in October with a close second behind Crown Avenue and Purton, before fronting up a fortnight later with an even narrower loss to the Australian aboard Such A Happiness.
Purton then jumped aboard and Blastoise duly saluted, before Ryan Moore took the ride on International Jockeys’ Championship night and Ferraris’ galloper was again the bridesmaid, this time to Zhan Jiang Rocks with Purton in the saddle.
After two 1,600m runs at Sha Tin and one outing over the Valley’s extended mile, Blastoise returns to the course and distance of his first second-place finish and Ferraris is confident he can continue on his run of form.
“He’s going really well, he’s a lovely horse,” the trainer said.
All eight of Blastoise’s starts have come in Class Four and he just sneaks into the grade again on a rating of 59.
Another top-two finish should see the horse rise in class and Ferraris believes that could be the best thing for him.
“Hopefully he can win in Class Four again but he’s not a very big horse so I think Class Three will be a bit better for him with a lighter weight. He’s very tough,” he said.
Blastoise will tackle a handful of other in-form horses on Saturday, with John Moore’s Above chasing a third straight win and the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Dionysus Collin coming in on the back of consecutive seconds.
Ferraris has 11 winners for the season and saddles up seven runners at Sha Tin on Saturday, with the South African eager to see what Methane can produce in his first run at the track.
After a solid third on debut, Methane was denied a fair start before running on strongly from the back of the field in his second trip to the Valley.
He was then ridden prominently by Lyle Hewitson last time out, travelling behind the leader before fading for sixth, but Ferraris indicated there will be a change of tactics with Alexis Badel climbing aboard for the first time.
“We’ll be giving him a bit of a chance, not chasing him up there, just settling him a little bit,” he said.