Blake Shinn looks to add to first Hong Kong winner at Sha Tin
Twelve years ago this week a brash young Australian called Zac Purton broke his Hong Kong duck on a steamy night at Happy Valley.
A slightly older and more introspective Aussie did the same at the city track on Wednesday night and Blake Shinn’s reaction to landing the opener aboard Green Dispatch suggests that he wants to thrive in his new home long after his initial six-month deal expires next February.
“This has been years in the making,” he said. “I’ve wanted to ride in Hong Kong for a long time, since I was a little boy, so it’s pretty touching to finally be here.”
Renowned for his methodical approach and clinical form study, Shinn starts a three-meeting suspension next week but has five rides at Sha Tin on Sunday, including the in-form Lucky Guy in the Sunbird Handicap (8.35).
Local legend Mosse hits the headlines
Purton remains over a thousand winners ahead of Shinn on the Hong Kong roll of honour but had to endure a blank night – his first since April – at Happy Valley.
However, the dual champion is seldom slow with a mischievous line and took to Twitter to wonder whether the presence of his former rival Gerald Mosse at the Valley might prove significant.
Last seen partnering Sir Dancelot to win the Group 2 Group Park Stakes at Doncaster after a small break from domestic racing, Mosse partnered 659 winners during his Hong Kong career and is level with Purton on eight Hong Kong International Race victories.
Hong Kong remains his second home – daughter Kimberley resides here with jockey partner Umberto Rispoli – but local reports suggest Mosse has also spent time with officials in Macau this week to discuss the possibility of a future training career.
Purton finds friend in Buddies
Zac Purton has several bright chances among his nine rides at Sha Tin, and Buddies looks a very strong contender for the Swallow Handicap (9.35) on the all-weather surface.
John Moore’s So You Think gelding made striking progress during his first season in Hong Kong, winning three times from eight attempts and recording two dominant all-weather successes as he improved from a mark of 52 to 79.
The pair of all-weather wins were gained in similar front-running style, with Purton snaring the inside rail and using his mount’s ability to deal out a sequence of sub 12-second furlongs to ease clear from the home turn.
Stall two looks tailor-made for Buddies to produce something very similar but those who prefer to trade at much longer odds should also keep an eye on Righteous Doctrine, who ran well against some very smart horses when trained in France and left the impression that he’s finding his feet in Hong Kong when third behind Buddies over course and distance on his final start last season.
Douglas Whyte on the rise
The ability to improve recruits from other yards always provides an early measure of a new trainer's potential and Douglas Whyte was at it again at Happy Valley on Wednesday night when Last Kingdom made all under Alberto Sanna.
Whyte's record in his first season training from Olympic Stables – located away from the main barns on the Sha Tin home turn – now stands at three winners from just eleven runners.
The fact that the three horses in question were winless in a combined 55 Hong Kong starts before joining Whyte is clearly significant and the Durban Demon is gradually assembling more new recruits sourced from Britain and Ireland.
As mentioned previously in HK Briefing, the Michael Halford-trained Karasi is now with Whyte and rejoicing under the name of Horseain Bolt. Archie Watson's Deauville Listed winner Showout has also joined the South African, as has James Fanshawe's runaway Lingfield winner Enzemble.
Read The Lowdown from 8.30am daily on racingpost.com and the Racing Post app for all the day's going updates, news and tips