After Sunday’s Group One action, it’s back to earth at Sha Tin midweek – literally.
Hong Kong races on the dirt exclusively at this week’s Wednesday fixture and it can bring some quick improvements from all-weather specialists and even some of those trying the surface afresh after struggling on the turf tracks.
Me Tsui usually trains his share on the dirt each season and has excellent hopes to kick off Wednesday night’s fixture in Forza and Hero’s Win.
Tsui does tend to try his horses at a variety of tasks and Forza has been on all three tracks at distances from 1000m to 1600m in his 9 starts so far. But he has shaped well in dirt sprints and, with Tim Clark aboard, he drops down to Class Five for the first time in just such a race and the barrier draw has been kinder than has often been the case for him.
Hero’s Win, a long term resident of the bottom grade, has mostly been tried as a sprinter and run some excellent races at 1,200m despite his infuriating habit of jumping poorly. Tsui has now removed blinkers from the 21-start maiden and thrown him into an 1,800m event, and the slower tempo might allow him to get into the race even if he does come out poorly.
Zac Purton and Douglas Whyte shared the Jockey Challenge on Sunday after trebles apiece, and the title race continue to hold interest but not on Wednesday. Purton has only 3 rides, all drawn poorly, while Whyte has eight mounts with claims to winning their race.
The best for Whyte might be the very honest O’Halo in the fourth, coming back to Class Four after racing well but overmatched in Class Three. All but one third from O’Halo’s 2 wins and 6 placings have come on the dirt and he has barrier one.
By Nathan Mody