Horse Racing
Charisma in line to charm Happy Valley for a second time

By Declan Schuster
26/03/2019 16:19

John Moore believes that being trained at Conghua has helped unlock the potential of Helene Charisma and is hoping that the formerly frustrating six-year-old can record back-to-back wins in the Mount Collinson Handicap (2200m) at Happy Valley this Wednesday.

Helene Charisma recorded his first win in Hong Kong under Zac Purton.

“He’s a different horse since he’s been at Conghua for a couple of months, that’s done the job for him, he’s enjoyed being over there,” Moore said.

The one-time BMW Hong Kong Derby prospect hasn’t lived up to expectations since he finished fifth behind Rapper Dragon in the 2017 edition of the race, taking a further 24 starts across three seasons to return his first win in Hong Kong.

“He’s been a total disappointment, but finally we got Zac on board and he was able to work a miracle,” said a relieved Moore.

“He did win very well, I was pleased with the effort,” Moore added.

Helene Charisma winning the Police Cup at Happy Valley

Formerly known as Mont Ormel, Helene Charisma won the 2016 G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) when under the care of Pia Brandt, but since that win he has struggled to get his nose in front when it counted and Moore believes a rise in distance may see his good fortune continue.

“If he was racing in Australia and genuine, he’d be a sort of Melbourne Cup horse and I’m sure he’d be a force to be reckoned with over a mile and a half up to two miles,” Moore said.

“The step up to 2200m will not be a problem and he’s drawn what I call, a good gate (3),” he added.

Moore is in the highly unusual position of saddling three runners in a Happy Valley handicap – the others are Happy Dragon and Classic Beauty – but feels Helene Charisma is the one to beat.

“Helene Charisma is the pick of the three, he’s done everything right and he’s been enjoying Conghua, he’s returned a different horse,” Moore said.

Hong Kong’s leading jockey (89 wins) Zac Purton partnered both Happy Dragon and Helene Charisma to victory in their most recent races, but has relied on the trainer to make the final choice this time.

“I didn’t have the choice between him (Happy Dragon) or Helene Charisma, John made that for me,” Purton said.

Happy Dragon winning the Sing Woo handicap at Happy Valley

Purton feels both horses have a relatively equal chance of winning on Wednesday.

“Happy Dragon was good, he found himself in the right spot, with the right tempo, in fact they both did,” Purton said.

“Both horses found themselves in winnable races, both got a race run to suit and they each got the job done. They should both run well again,” he added.

Frustrated proving a calm conveyance for Lor

Frustrated will take his place in the Class 4 The Indian Recreation Club Challenge Cup (1000m) and Frankie Lor is upbeat about his chances of following up an emphatic recent course and distance success.

“He’s got a good draw (1), I hope he can win again,” Lor said.

“He’ll push through to sit on the rail which should be quite easy for the boy (Victor Wong), he has a good chance,” he added.

“He’ll be kept at 1000m for the moment, maybe then he will be stepped up to 1200m which I think will be no problem for him,” Lor said.

Frustrated winning his first race at only his third start in Hong Kong

Music Addition back to harmonious best

Trainer Me Tsui believes Music Addition can return to his best in the Class 2 Pottinger Peak Handicap (1000m) after pulling up lame last start.

“He’s come back to form, he was lame for one maybe two days, he’s back to normal,” Tsui said.

The ex-Australian has now won two races from five starts under Tsui’s care and the trainer is anxious to avoid getting involved in the sort of punishing battle for the lead that played an additional part in his defeat three weeks ago.

“It depends on the pace, I’ll leave this up to the jockey (Matthew Poon), if he needs to settle then he can do that,” Tsui said.

Tsui isn’t the only one expecting a fast-run race, with Little Bird’s rider Zac Purton also having queries about where to settle in the run in a race featuring at least five notable front runners.

“There’s a lot of speed, the intention is to lead, but I’m not sure if he will be able to do so on his own,” Purton said.

Harley’s hit and run mission

Martin Harley heads to the Valley on Wednesday with only one ride, but he remains optimistic that Sumstreetsumwhere will land the prize in the Class 3 Siu Ma Shan Handicap (1650m).

“This is my first ride for Peter Ho, I haven’t had a sit on him, but I’ve watched his replays and he was quite impressive when winning last start,’ Harley said.

“We’ll keep it simple, we should have a smooth passage from the draw (1) and hopefully get the chance to win again,” Harley added.

Harley has recorded just one winner so far in Hong Kong but has five G1’s on his CV and is determined to continue to work until he reaches a level of success that satisfies him.

The eight-race card at Happy Valley commences at 7:15pm, with the D’Aguilar Peak Handicap.