Stepping up to his optimal distance on his preferred surface, Hongkong Great returns to his happy hunting ground this Wednesday (27 October) evening when he lines up in the Class 2 Hebe Hill Handicap (1650m, dirt) at Sha Tin’s eight-race all-dirt fixture.
Seeking a fourth success over 1650m on the dirt, the former Chilean galloper is readying for his second run this campaign after being run off his feet over 1200m last time out.
Tomorrow night, he reunites with championship-leading rider Zac Purton, who has been in sensational form through October with 13 wins from five race meetings.
“Hopefully he can bounce back to the form that he was in through the latter half of last season, he had a nice pipe-opener over 1200 metres first-up, so he’s back to a course and distance that he enjoys and we’ll see if he’s still got it,” Purton said.
A three-time G1 winner in South America, the 102-rater oozes quality – some of which he will look to impose on rivals, just like he did when smashing Gun Pit’s 1650m dirt course record in May this year, clocking 1m 36.15s for the five and a half-length demolition job.
Although, this morning (Tuesday, 26 October) at Sha Tin’s barrier trials, Purton laced any optimism with prudent caution after the charge’s barrier antics earlier this week.
“The 1200 metres is not his right distance and he probably wasn’t in a comfortable rhythm or zone either, I’m just quite not sure if he’s still in the same form that he was at the back-end of last season.