Horse Racing
Lucky Sweynesse faces weight challenge in G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup

By Leo Schlink
29/12/2022 14:36

Lucky Sweynesse has won seven of 11 starts.
Lucky Sweynesse has won seven of 11 starts.

Zac Purton has telling faith in Lucky Sweynesse but the five-time Hong Kong champion jockey queries whether the gifted young sprinter can successfully shoulder equal top-weight of 135lb in the HK$3.9 million G3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (1 January).

Pitted against just five rivals, Lucky Sweynesse will stretch to 1400m for only the second time and will carry the heaviest impost of his short, brilliant career when jumping from barrier six against talented, seasoned opposition.

Winner of seven of 11 starts, Manfred Man’s flagbearer returns to action after a luckless sixth behind Wellington in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on 11 December but, as much as Purton believes in last season’s Champion Griffin (2021/22), the Australian has reservations over the handicap challenge.

“I think the distance is okay but whether he can carry the weight over the distance is a question mark,” Purton said. “He’s won over 1400m, but obviously in a lesser class and here he is in a handicap race with a fair bit of weight on his back.

“So, it’s a challenge for him, for sure, but I think he can run the distance – it’s just a matter of whether the weight might stop him.”

Lucky Sweynesse has contested only one 1400m race so far in his career, narrowly defeating Navas Two in the Class 2 Beas River Handicap on 5 June at Sha Tin.

Zac Purton is chasing a fifth win on Lucky Sweynesse.
Zac Purton is chasing a fifth win on Lucky Sweynesse.

Leading the 2022/23 Hong Kong jockeys’ championship by 40 wins after 70 victories so far, Purton laments Lucky Sweynesse’s misfortune behind Wellington this month after starting 1.9 favourite in the G1 feature.

“He just had no luck at all, he had no room at any stage of the race,” Purton said. “Obviously, when there was no speed in the race and there were a couple of slow horses in front of me that weren’t going anywhere, that enabled the rest of the field to come around and just hem me away – it was just one of those things. We just move on.”

Beauty Joy (135lb) also competed at the elite level at the 2022 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races (HKIR), finishing fourth behind California Spangle in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m).

Beauty Joy starts from gate one this Sunday for Hugh Bowman.

Blaze Warrior also figured prominently at the LONGINES HKIR, winning a Class 2 1400m contest for John Size and Ryan Moore. Blaze Warrior will be partnered by in-form Karis Teetan from gate four on Sunday.

Healthy Happy (123lb), Fantastic Treasure (116lb) and The Golden Scenery (116lb) complete the field.

Sunday’s (1 January) 11-race card starts with the Class 5 Yew Handicap (1400m) at 12.30pm.