Erasing the memories of an unsuccessful Seoul campaign, Kings Shield re-established status as Hong Kong’s premier dirt course galloper with a stirring win in the Class 2 Kwok Shui Handicap (1650m) under Zac Purton at Sha Tin on Wednesday night (26 October).
Headed by favourite Apache Pass at the 700m mark, front-running Kings Shield responded strongly to Purton’s urgings in the final 200m to prevail by a neck to post his fifth win over the course and distance – fittingly, at a meeting staged solely on dirt.
Ninth of 13 runners behind Winner’s Man in the G3 Korea Cup (1800m, sand) in Seoul on 4 September, Kings Shield was sent to Conghua by trainer Frankie Lor after returning to Hong Kong before triumphantly resuming on Wednesday night.
Burdened with 135lb, the Scat Daddy gelding stamped his authority on the same race he won last season.
“It was a good, tough win. I rode him patiently,” Purton said. “He did a good job.”
Purton subsequently advanced to a treble which left the five-time Hong Kong champion Jockey with a 17-win lead in the 2022/23 championship over Vincent Ho (14 wins) after the Australian lifted Benno Yung’s Fiery Diamond to a nose margin in the second section of the Class 4 Sha Tsui Handicap (1200m) before again teaming with Yung to clinch the Class 4 Tai Ho Handicap (1650m) with an inspired ride on Yes We Can.
Ho piloted dirt track revelation Super Win Dragon to success in the Class 3 Tsuen Fu Handicap (1200m) for Chris So. Since being switched back to the dirt last season, Super Win Dragon has snared three wins and two seconds from five attempts.