Racing

Purton can score on Smart Thinker

Wednesday's Hong Kong (Happy Valley) preview

RACE 1 (1,650M)

5 ALL YOU KNOW is a two-time course and distance winner who has drawn favourably. He's returned to a winnable mark after scoring on a similar figure in November 2018.

3 SHADOW BREAKER is the likely leader who, on his day, can prove difficult to reel in.

2 FOCUS is a classy on-pace galloper who races well fresh.

6 PERFECT TO PLAY has had the benefit of one run already this season. Strong booking of Zac Purton suggests that he is ready to fire.

RACE 2 (1,200M)

2 MIG ENERGY is ready to win. He's steadily improved in each of his seven Hong Kong starts and the retention of Purton indicates that he's close to breaking through.

4 FLYING ON THE TURF mixed his form last season but did show glimpses of ability. He appears forward enough to be competitive first-up.

5 THE RUNNER is a two-time course-and-distance winner. It wouldn't be a shock to see him fight out the finish for a third.

7 JOLLY GOOD HEART impressed at a recent trial at Conghua. He is worth including.

RACE 3 (1,200M)

4 SMART THINKER caught the eye at the trials for his new handler, Dennis Yip. He appears forward enough to win first-up and the booking of Purton only enhances his chances.

5 THE ONE put in a mediocre trial but he is a much better commodity than that. He's in Class 5 now and deserves his chance.

12 TIGERLAD is next best with no weight and the good gate.

RACE 4 (1,650M)

12 VIRTUS STAR is still winless across 19 starts. He arrived on a mark of 52 in late 2018 and now races off a career-low 20. He's drawn to get a soft run throughout, which should see him with his chance over the closing stages.

3 V CHEVALIERS is an improving on-pace runner who steps out for the first time for his new handler, Manfred Man. Strong booking of Joao Moreira.

1 JOY MASTER is a winner already this term. He remains in Class 5 which suits and is aided by reigning champion jockey Purton.

10 ROYAL CHOCOLATE is a winless seven-year-old. He put in an improved effort first-up and it wouldn't shock to his progress further.

RACE 5 (1,650M)

6 LIGHTNING STEED can find the front in a tricky contest and, from there, prove tough to reel in. He's race-fit coming into this second-up and has an inside draw.

2 JOLLY HONOUR was a two-time course-and-distance winner last season. He bears close watching off the back of a strong trial.

10 LONDON LUCKYSTAR is unlucky not to already be a winner. His best performances have come on the dirt but, still, he has been very competitive over this course and distance previously.

4 HEAVENLY THOUGHT is a tough on-pace galloper who recorded six top-three finishes last season and one win. He'll be in the thick of things.

RACE 6 (1,200M)

11 JADE THEATRE hasn't won since late 2018 but is a three-time course-and-distance winner. He's now at a career-low mark of 45 and, with a soft run from gate one, he shapes as the one to beat.

4 VERY RICH MAN is the one who is going to be in front him, leading the field. He'll do a bit of work early from the draw but is capable of testing this bunch.

7 HERCULES is much better than his record suggests. The booking of Purton warrants respect.

10 INCANTO PREPARED is closing in on a win. Watch.

RACE 7 (1,200M)

3 SELL MY SOLE has done exceptionally well across his first three starts to record two runner-up efforts. He's ready to win and he should have his chance from the favourable draw.

4 COMPASSION STAR won first-up last season. He's trying to do the same again, although this task is much tougher as he resumes in Class 4 instead of Class 5. Still, the draw is ideal.

7 SPLIT OF A SECOND gets weight off his back, thanks to apprentice Jerry Chau's claim. He's consistent and shouldn't be discounted.

9 DAILY BEAUTY has been working alongside both Sky Field and Aethero in trackwork. He bears close watching first-up from a break with Purton engaged.

RACE 8 (1,000M)

8 ETERNAL HARVEST is on-the-up. He rates strongly off the back of his latest win and from the favourable draw, he should get every chance, especially off the back of an impressive trial performance.

3 GREEN AEON grabbed fourth on debut as a well supported contender. He's first-up here following an impressive trial at Conghua. A leading player.

2 SAUL'S SPECIAL's last win was when Purton was in the saddle. The pair reunite again here. Still, he will have to do it a big weight on his his back which is never easy against a classy field such as this.

11 NEXTMODEL grabbed second first-up this season and now returns in the hope of going one better here. He looks the value in the race.

COMMENTS COURTESY OF THE HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB

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