Zac Purton has sounded a note of caution ahead of Lucky Sweynesse’s return in the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup Handicap (1200m) on Sunday 10 September after the champion sprinter breezed through a delayed trial at Sha Tin on Monday morning.
Postponed from its original schedule of Friday morning (1 September) because of Super Typhoon Saola, today’s 1000m trial saw Lucky Sweynesse finish second to one of Sunday’s likely rivals, Victor The Winner, who clocked 58.08s under Karis Keetan.
A triple Group 1 winner, and winner of eight of 10 starts in a phenomenal 2022/23 campaign, Lucky Sweynesse (58.12s) was only a neck astern of Victor The Winner with Manfred Man-trained stablemate We Are Hero two lengths further back.
While six-time Hong Kong champion jockey Purton was pleased with the hit-out, he concedes the delay caused by the weather has caused issues.
“Every horse is in the same boat, it’s not ideal. That typhoon certainly has wreaked havoc to their preparations and got them out of their rhythm a little bit and it’s not great when you need to trial on a Monday and it’s hot and then have your first start on the Sunday six days later, carrying 135 pounds – giving 20 pounds away to the rest of the field – when it’s going to be equally as hot,” Purton said.
“And the horse (Lucky Sweynesse) is a trier, he’s going to give everything he’s got, so the risk is after that. Going forward, how much does that take out of him?”
Purton, who has 1,610 Hong Kong victories to his credit so far, believes Lucky Sweynesse has further developed after in the short break following his brave victory in the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) on 4 June, when he shouldered 135lb and beat Victor The Winner (115lb) and Cordyceps Six (117lb).
“I thought he felt good in his trial, he seems like he’s a more mature horse this season. He’s handling things really well, he seems to be working well for where he’s at in his preparation,” Purton said.
“His trial was good – of course, he pulled up and had a big blow and he’s going to improve and he needed the trial but for where he’s at this stage, he’s doing what we need him to do.”Victor The Winner, Ima Single Man, Rewarding Together, Adios and Youthful Deal are also entered for Sunday’s feature.
Hong Kong’s 2023/24 season starts at Sha Tin on Sunday 10 September.