Hewitson, Purton back to work

Hewitson, Purton back to work


Luke Middlebrook: Both Lyle Hewitson and Zac Purton have been passed fit to resume race riding in Hong Kong this week.

While Hewitson will only be making his comeback on Sunday, Purton will be in action at Happy Valley today.

Both jockeys have been sidelined through injuries incurred from the horror fall in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin last month.

Since Purton’s forced layoff from race riding, rival Joao Moreira has surged to the lead in the jockeys’ title, leading Purton 58 to 49 heading into today’s nine-race fixture.

Prior to the fall, Purton was in red-hot form (he had won the first three races on Hong Kong International Race day) and was looking likely to take catching for the premiership. He returns to the races with a strong book of rides and can eat into Moreira’s lead.

Of those, is impressive debut winner LIGHTNING STORM, who can score two wins on end when he returns to Happy Valley in the Class 4 1000m Handicap in Race 3.

LIGHTNING STORM had trialled well on numerous occasions prior to his first race start at the end of October, so expectations were high and the market agreed, sending him out a well-backed 1-1 favourite after hovering around the 2-1 quote.

The four-year-old didn’t disappoint and despite only winning by a head, the win had good merit to it.

From barrier No 1, LIGHTNING STORM began fairly and had to be bustled up to find the lead, which he did from the 800m. It was a high-pressure race and to make all under the circumstances, it was a solid win.

Purton also has a top chance of claiming the other 1000m race on the card when he partners Douglas Whyte-trained HARMONY FIRE later on the card in Race 8.

HARMONY FIRE has contested harder Class 2 events in his last two starts where he also raced with some excuses, but dropping back into Class 3 this week will only enhance his chances on prior form.

Purton takes the ride from barrier No 2 and will have plenty of options from there in a race that has plenty of speed, even for a 1000m race. HARMONY FIRE looks hard to beat.


Race-by-Race Previews

Race 1: Red Impact unknown at the distance but is racing consistently and he should get the run of the race from the low draw under Purton. Go Ballistic change of trainer recently but is in great form and will be going close again with Moreira remaining onboard. Sky Gem generally a better Class 5 performer but loves the track and distance and may be able to sneak a place. Champion Pal looks a longshot chance in a race like this. Victorious Seeker has a good record over this race distance.

Race 2: Daily Beauty second start in Class 5 and will win in this grade very soon. Drops back to a preferred distance here and will go close to winning. Regency Poet change of trainer recently and can improve. Zacian looks overdue for a win after placing on multiple occasions recently and respect. Winning Strikes a bit erratic but seems to be improving type and getting close to a win. The Jolly drops down in grade and start following.

Race 3: Lightning Storm impressive debut winner who is hard to beat here as he makes his return to the track. Trainer Danny Shum has found an ideal race for him where he looks very hard to oppose. Excellent Peers ran the second fastest sectional time last start for a much better fifth place than it reads. Jazz Steed drops down in grade and start following. Scotch Tycoon second start and will be fitter and can improve from the low draw. Ka Ying Spirit has shown ability and gets his chance.

Race 4: Circuit Booming having second start and can improve with experience. Debut run was solid, on pace in true run race and only fading late into fourth. Happily Friends consistent performer of late and worth considering, barrier 1, again, gives him every chance. Falcon Turbo always finishes close up and must be rated a chance at this level, especially with Purton in the saddle. Touch Faith an easy last start winner who rises in class. Prance Dragon racing consistently of late and expect another big run, just needs luck from barrier 10.

Race 5: Dr Winning too bad to be true when $3.6 at this track and distance last week. Backs up quickly and can be given another chance as he should map the winner from barrier 1. Winning Volatility is back in good form and must be considered a chance on his last start second placing. Glorious Lover looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form. Off The Reel had genuine excuses last start and consider again. Ever Laugh faded late last start, chance to improve under right race shape.

Race 6: Jazz Angel blinkers have been added and must be a big chance as he has shown ability in his three local starts but has been slow out. Moreira rides from barrier 3. Elon racing in great form and expect another good run from barrier 1. Party Warrior showed he was up to this class last start and can go close with a good ride from barrier 10. Ever Force faded late last start, chance to improve under right race shape. Faulds has trialled well for debut and should be rated a chance, but the betting market will be the best guide.

Race 7: Savvy Delight last run suggested a win was very near when a narrow runner-up and he looks ready to get on the board at his third career start. Smart Idea racing consistently of late and expect another big run, while coming into a low draw is a big advantage. So Awesome good performance when storming home for a nice second last start. Spicy Grill last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. Singapore Spirit had excuses last start when racing wide without cover as a race favourite, consider again as there’s some ability there.

Race 8: Harmony Fire has a great record in this class and looks a good chance to bounce back with Purton taking the ride from a good draw. Special M backing up quickly from last week, can run well having drawn well low in barrier 3. Stoltz debut run was good and has trained on well since, has to be considered. Joyful Win winner of last two starts and looks a top chance with luck in running from barrier 12. Sergeant Pepper will find this easier than last start and can run well, but Moreira takes the ride and he will likely be overbet.

Race 9: Maldives brings some solid Sha Tin form to a race like this and will relish coming into a low draw after navigating stall 14 last start. Gallant Crown track and distance specialist and appears suited here and with Moreira in the saddle, he’s a big chance. Cheerful Days video replay showed last run was very good and Purton in the saddle only enhances his chances. Smoothies had genuine excuses last start and consider again. Incanto Prepared well supported last start and won accordingly, this is harder but have to respect Size’s runners of late.




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