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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Trainer can get off the mark for season with Happy Valley double

Happy Valley: stages an eight-race card on Wednesday
1 of 1

Chiu Chow Kid
12.45 Happy Valley
1pt win

Country Star
1.50 Happy Valley
1pt win

Red Warrior
2.20 Happy Valley
1pt win

Here’s one for those nutty about racing stats: Hong Kong’s champion trainer John Size comes to this sixth meeting of the season yet to saddle a winner.

And here's another one for the analysts:champion jockey Zac Purton, on five winners, shares the lead in the title battle, but also has a staggering 14 seconds to his name.

In Hong Kong, though, a second can be as good as a winner for those playing the quinella (first two, in either order. . . equivalent to a reverse forecast/exacta), so the energetic Aussie still has an army of fans following him Moreira-style.

It is not unusual for Size to start the season slowly, but the ten-time champion usually finishes powerfully in the final months.

I expect the trainer to leave Happy Valley with two winners, andCountry Star (1.50) stands out as his best chance on another intriguing eight-race card at the inner-city track.

Three weeks ago Country Star was heavily backed to make a winning debut in a5f race at the Valley. He had trialled well and theword was he would be too smart for his rivals despite his inexperience.

In the event, he finished fourth (beaten three lengths), but made good ground in the home straight after getting behind early.

He looked good in a barrier trial at Sha Tin last Friday behind his highly rated stablemate Ivictory, which augurs well for his chance as he steps up to 6f here. Incidentally, Country Star's third dam Imperial Beauty won the 2001 Prix de l’Abbaye for John Hammond.

Size and Purton can follow up withRed Warrior (2.20), who raced as Rusper when trained in the UK by Jamie Osborne, and, sticking with Purton, the Benno Yung-trainedChiu Chow Kid (12.45) can kick-start a treble for the jockey in the 1m1f handicap.


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Champion jockey Zac Purton, on five winners, shares the lead in the title battle, but also has a staggering 14 seconds to his credit
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