Some of the major players in next Sunday’s Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) tuned up at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning, with Jerry Chau Chun-lok impressed by the effort of Lucky Patch in a six-furlong trial on the all-weather track.
With Zac Purton opting to jump back aboard Naboo Attack after partnering Lucky Patch to victory in the Group Two Premier Bowl last month, Chau reunites with Francis Lui Kin-wai’s speedster next weekend in what will be the first Group Two ride of his career.
“This is my biggest ride yet and the biggest race for me – it’s another step towards riding in more Group races and getting a winner in a Group race,” said Chau, who graduated from his apprenticeship last month.
“I’ve ridden Lucky Patch before and feel he’s a very, very good horse. I’m very lucky, thank you to the owner for putting me on again.”
Chau, who has a win and two placings from three rides aboard Lucky Patch, eased the galloper home in fourth behind fellow Jockey Club Sprint combatants Sky Field and Naboo Attack on Tuesday morning.
“Francis told me just to give him an easy trial, don’t push, don’t pull – just have an easy, happy trial for him and he travelled very nicely on the turn and in the straight he picked up very well.”
The effort of the David Hayes-trained Naboo Attack gave Purton confidence he’s made the right call to commit to the galloper after his Premier Bowl ninth under Alexis Badel, a race in which the Australian jockey couldn’t make the weight.
“It was pleasing to see him begin as well as he did after being slow out of the gates last start but the trial was run at a pretty sedate tempo, so he was up there travelling quite strongly wanting to do his work and in the straight he lengthened quite nicely and I thought it was a good trial,” Purton said.
“We’ll see how he performs – he has to do it on race day again and he gave me a good enough feel this morning to indicate that he’s going to be competitive again, so let’s hope that’s the case.”
Sky Field was a further couple of lengths adrift of Naboo Attack in last month’s race but Blake Shinn feels punters can forgive that effort.
“It was great to see the horse return off what some people may feel was a disappointing run, I feel he had excuses obviously with 133 [pounds] and I rode him a bit upside down against his normal pattern,” Shinn said.
“Today he showed he’s back to his brilliant best and I think if we ride him how he likes to be ridden, conserve his energy early and ride him for that great turn of foot he’s got, I think he’ll bounce right back next start.”
Other key players in the race will be Richard Gibson’s Wellington (Alexis Badel), the John Size-trained Courier Wonder (Joao Moreira) and Hayes’ Super Wealthy (Chad Schofield).
Courier Wonder’s stablemate Hot King Prawn will be ridden by someone other than Moreira
for the first time since February last year, with the Magic Man’s countryman Vagner Borges taking the reins.
The Brazilians have also been engaged by Size for Wednesday night’s Class Two High West Handicap (1,200m), with Borges partnering Sight Success and Moreira continuing his association with Drops Of God in the galloper’s first trip to Happy Valley.
“I was struggling to find a suitable race for him at Sha Tin and he’s pretty nimble so I think he’ll get around the track OK,” Size said of Drops Of God, who has drawn barrier nine of nine. “He doesn’t have much luck with the draws but so far he’s been able to overcome them.”
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