Zac Purton sides with Superich in Sunday’s Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin and the reigning champion jockey has high hopes and niggling reservations in equal measure ahead of the four-year-old generation’s first big test.
“Prior to his last start, I thought he had shown enough to be winning a Classic Mile,” the champion jockey said.
Frankie Lor’s charge opened this season with a Class 3 win over 1200m; he followed that with two good-looking placed efforts at 1400m before running second to race rival Mr So And So at the same distance at the end of December.
“All his runs this season up to that point had been terrific performances, really solid efforts,” Purton said. “He gave the look, the feel and the impression that he was going to be able to measure up in a race like this.”
But with Superich’s berth booked in the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, Purton is ruminating over what he feels was a “disappointing” last run.
“He was below par, he didn’t really attack the line how I thought he should have,” he explained.
Lor, though, has applied a piece of equipment that both trainer and rider hope will help the son of Red Giant find his peak this weekend.
“We put the cheek-pieces on him Monday morning,” Purton said.
The chestnut worked 800m in 55.1s (29.4, 25.7) but much more important than that time will be how much positive effect the cheek pieces might have had.
“He’s a strong worker in the morning so it’s hard to get a good guide off that,” the rider said. “But I just found in every one of his races this season I’ve been at him the whole way: not one race has he travelled in and helped me.
“He hasn’t been in a nice position: I’ve found in every race that I’ve been scrubbing just to hold a position or get a position. It’s just too difficult to do that and then hope to find something at the end.”
Purton still believes the New Zealand-bred has the ability to be a leading player but only if he raises his game from that latest run.
“Hopefully the cheek-pieces encourage him to travel better. If that’s the case, hopefully at a mile, with a bit more rhythm, we can see him go and do it. He does need to improve on his last effort.” -HKJC