As for the Japan excursion, Yiu and Purton were singing from similar hymn sheets when speaking during Tuesday’s (29 August) barrier trial session at Sha Tin.
“I haven’t had a commitment from any jockey to ride him in Japan. I told Zac he’s in for Japan but he hasn’t given me a definite answer yet,” Yiu said, adding with a chuckle, “I might have to apply for a licence to ride him myself!”
With Hong Kong staging two important Group 3 contests on the same day as the Sprinters Stakes (National Day Cup Handicap and Celebration Cup Handicap), Purton is keen to assess the horse that ran third in both the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup in 2016 after Sunday’s opening effort.
“Let’s see how he goes in this race,” the former champion jockey said. “He’s shown us previously he’s a very capable horse, and, on his day, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he was able to snag a top race like the Sprinters Stakes. We’ll just assess him after the run. Carrying 133 pounds against this lot is a good test for Japan; it’s never easy carrying top weight so we’ll just see.”
The HKSAR Chief Executives Cup entries also feature the smart galloper Fabulous One (117lb) from the Chris So stable, Tony Millard’s G1-placed Strathmore (113lb), and the Caspar Fownes-trained Southern Legend (103lb), G2-placed at the distance in Australia and a winner at Happy Valley on his second, and latest, Hong Kong start back in July.
Hong Kong’s 2017/18 season opener features 10 races and the action will commence at 1pm.