As a result, he backs up quickly into Sunday’s Class 2, with Clipperton taking his first ride aboard House Of Fun on raceday.
“Joao was already committed elsewhere, so I was lucky enough to pick up the ride when entries came out,” Clipperton said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (1 December). “I think he probably should have won last weekend, but it has worked out well otherwise – he probably wouldn’t have lined up on Sunday if he had won, that’s for sure.
“He’s obviously going very well, so if he gets a reasonable run from the awkward barrier, he should be in the finish.”
House Of Fun (128lb) makes his dirt debut at what is the son of Starcraft’s 21st start. His sire has had only one dirt winner from his 23 Hong Kong runners.
However, House Of Fun has won six of his 10 barrier trials on dirt, including one with Clipperton in the saddle in July. That day, he raced clear to hit the wire three and a half lengths clear of his rivals.
“He won his trial comfortably for me, and he gave me every indication that he was fine on the surface,” the Australian rider said. “It’s probably not even by design that he hasn’t run on the dirt, it’s just how it has fallen into place. Now he gets his chance, and I’m excited to jump aboard.”
Moreira rides Caspar Fownes’ Limitless (125lb), who also makes his dirt debut. Others in the 12-runner line-up include Chris So-trained pair Fabulous One (133lb) and Classic Emperor (123lb), the latter a six and three-quarter length winner at his first dirt run last start, while course and distance winners Pablosky (121lb), California Whip (120lb), Fight Hero (115lb) and Perpetual Treasure (114lb) also create interest.
The Class 2 Nathan Handicap is scheduled as the ninth of 10 races.
Three-year-olds headline early part of Sha Tin card
Sunday’s programme sees some of Hong Kong’s young guns come to the fore as they look to continue their rise through the grades.
In the seventh, the Class 3 Middle Handicap (1000m), Size’s unbeaten grey speedster Hot King Prawn lines up for his fourth career start. The Denman gelding has won his three races over the straight 1000m by two and a quarter lengths, five and three quarter lengths and two and a quarter lengths, the last of those his first attempt against open company.