Horse Racing
Little Giant comes up big for Hall in Sha Tin Vase

By Declan Schuster
26/05/2019 19:17

Little Giant cruises to victory under Zac Purton.
Little Giant cruises to victory under Zac Purton.

Little Giant (133lb) sealed victory in the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) under a cool, collected ride from Zac Purton who claimed a six-timer at Sha Tin today (Sunday 26 May).

The win was trainer David Hall’s second Group-race win this term, having waited through a four-year blank in Pattern class before Ho Ho Khan’s victory in the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup earlier this month.

“I was pretty relieved that he could get the job done today, it was a testing sort of a race with the big weight, but he’s put up two terrific performances at Group 1 level – third and a fourth,” Hall said.

Little Giant settled fourth in the run under Purton, before peeling out in the straight – cruising to a three-quarter length victory ahead of Dragon General (115lb), with last-start G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) seventh Wishful Thinker (129lb) in third.

A two-time winner pre-import in New Zealand, Little Giant has now secured four Hong Kong wins from 10 starts in a career that has been stop-start in the past due to physical issues.

“To be able to get that win and as you said he had a lot of troubles last year, so it’s great to see,” said Hall.

Little Giant wins the G3 Sha Tin Vase.

The wet track wasn’t a hindrance to Little Giant who handled the good to yielding ground with ease, carrying top-weight of 133lb to victory.

“He can handle it, I think, but the heavier the track gets the harder it gets to carry the weight, so it’s always a little bit of a concern,” Hall said.

The trainer will target Little Giant towards the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December at Sha Tin.

“He’ll just go through the traditional path leading into December now, he’ll have a rest and hopefully we can be there in the Group 1 sprint in December,” he said.

Little Giant finished fourth in last year’s Hong Kong Sprint, beaten a length and three quarters behind Mr Stunning, but Hall now hopes his gelding will use today’s win as a springboard to further improvement.

“It’s hard, when he’s only had as many starts as he’s had and to get where he got to, you’re still hopeful there might be a little bit more there,” Hall said.

“He got beat less than two lengths in December and got beat three quarters of a length the other day (in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize) and if you look at it he’s got a little bit closer, he’s pulled that win off today.”

John Size’s pair of Full Of Beauty (116lb) and Gunnison (117lb) finished fourth and eighth respectively.

The Tony Cruz-trained Exultant took the day’s major, the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) under Purton.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 29 May.