John O’Shea trained Sea Siren was the talk of the Tuesday morning trackwork session at Sha Tin in preparation for Sunday’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint as she cemented her position as Australia’s best chance to win the race since Falvelon in 2001.
The mare worked over 1,000m on the turf under overcast skies and occasional light rain, but O’Shea was bright and happy after her work.
“It has been ten days since she had a gallop, she’d put on some weight and we had access to the course proper so I wanted her to do a bit today and that was really encouraging,” O’Shea told the media afterwards. “She pulled up great after it and wouldn’t have blown a candle out. I’m confident she can run well on Sunday. She’s been set for the race and with her brilliant gate speed, the 1,200 metres around the bend is ideal, probably more so than the straight course.”
Sea Siren has become good ‘friends’ with Alcopop where the two horses are stabled in quarantine together, and the Mackinnon Stakes winner was also out for a spin on the turf.
Jockey Craig Williams rode Jake Stephens trained Alcopop and got off him very enthusiastic about his chances of upsetting the favourites for the Hong Kong Cup, 2,000m, on the weekend.
“I was really happy with him this morning. I didn’t want him to do any more than slot into a nice rhythm and teach him where the winning post is,” he said. “He felt very sharp and was very comfortable going this direction.”
Williams will represent Australia in the International Jockeys Championship at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, but the Land Down Under might have a second string to its bow in the four-race series, Zac Purton.
Purton has been in brilliant form and, after winning a similar series in Japan two weekends ago, was posted as the favourite to win the International Championship in Jockey Club fixed odds markets after the rides were drawn on Monday.
By Alan Aitken