Champion jockey Zac Purton hopes imported Group One winner Beautyverse will avoid “getting it wrong two times in a row” when he lines up in Saturday’s Class Two Poinsettia Handicap (1,600m) at Sha Tin as the countdown to the Classic Series continues.
Beautyverse, the dominant winner of May’s Group One South Australian Derby (2,500m), made a great first impression on his Hong Kong debut when he led all the way to beat Keefy by a short head over 1,600m on November 6.
Three weeks later, though, Keefy turned the tables on Beautyverse when, according to Purton, the Tony Cruz-trained horse “got it all wrong second time” and burned punters who had made him favourite.
Purton, who needs two more wins to join foundation member Douglas Whyte in the highly exclusive club of jockeys with 1,500 Hong Kong victories, knows the importance of Beautyverse bouncing back if he is going to play a major part in the forthcoming four-year-old features.
“He was good first time. He got it all wrong second time. He’s drawn a gate to get it right this time,” Purton said of Beautyverse, who finished a disappointing six lengths behind Keefy in the Class One Chevalier Cup (1,600m) on November 27.
“Hopefully, he can relax and show us he’s right because we’re getting close to the series, so we don’t want him getting it wrong two times in a row.
“Mentally, it can be hard to come back from that.”
Beautyverse completes Purton’s full book of rides, with the runaway premiership leader steering Fast Buck, Sunny Baby, Golden Bull, Red Titan, Sun Of Makfi, Kungfumaster Panda, Brilliant Way, Marado and Handsome Twelve before the closing event.
Pierre Ng Pang-chi’s Marado is one of the two last-start winners among Purton’s assignments.
“Marado has won his last two in Class Four and steps up to Class Three for the first time,” Purton said.
“That’s always a test, but he’s racing well. Pierre’s done a really good job with him.”
On Friday, the Jockey Club stood down Luke Ferraris from his nine engagements on Saturday “due to a medical condition unrelated to Covid”.
Ferraris, who is eighth on the premiership ladder with 11 wins from 157 rides, was set to partner Smart Beauty, This Is Charisma, Nordic Combined, Smiling Collector, Mission Bravo, Circuit Elite, Copartner Ambition, Master Hero and La City Blanche.
Alfred Chan Ka-hei has taken on two of Ferraris’ commitments, including introducing La City Blanche to Hong Kong in the Class Three Spruce Handicap (1,650m) on Sha Tin’s all-weather track.
Formerly known as Zodiacal, La City Blanche won the 2021 Group One Gran Premio Jockey Club (2,000m) at San Isidro before he joined Cruz’s yard in March.
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