Trainer Jimmy Ting and jockey Zac Purton figure to be a formidable team at Happy Valley on Wednesday, December 18.
Ting has entered a half-dozen runners across the nine-race card (first post time is 7:45 a.m. ET), and Purton will guide two of them. Specifically, Purton will be aboard Ting’s runners in the Venus Handicap, a 1,200-meter Class 3 sprint that has been split into two divisions.
There’s a very real chance Ting and Purton will sweep both divisions, so we’ll make their promising sprinters the focus of our latest Hong Kong spot plays:
Race 4: Venus Handicap (Class 3)
#4 Ballistic King enters this 1,200-meter sprint in fine form – he hasn’t missed the superfecta in his last six starts, all over this class and distance. He rallied to victory on October 9 at Happy Valley and employed pace-tracking tactics to miss by just a neck on November 6, clocking a time of 1:09.87 that is right on par for this class level.
For Wednesday’s race, the rider upgrade to Zac Purton is a positive. So far this season, Purton is 9-for-32 (28%) in 1,200-meter sprints at Happy Valley, with nine of his other mounts finishing in the money. Ballistic King has drawn wide in post 10, which is an obvious concern, but if Purton can save some ground around the bends, Ballistic King’s strong recent form should be sufficient to reach the winner’s circle.
- $26 to win on #4 Ballistic King
- $2.6 quinella: 4 with 2,3,11 ($7.8)
Race 9: Venus Handicap (Class 3)
Ting and Purton will team up again with #6 Amazing Star, who appears poised for victory in the second division of the Venus Handicap. This delicate five-year-old has seen his career interrupted on several occasions due to injury, but since recovering from a setback in March, he seems like a completely different horse.
Amazing Star signaled his rising form by obliterating his rivals in a pair of barrier trials, which stamped him as the favorite for a Class 4 handicap sprinting 1,200 meters at Happy Valley on November 20. With Purton in the saddle, Amazing Star carved out the pace and pulled clear under an easy hand ride down the lane to score by 5 1/2 lengths. His final time was a blazing 1:08.92, a record for the class level and nearly a second quicker than the standard time for Class 3 handicaps.
Anything close to a repeat of this performance should land Amazing Star in the winner’s circle.
- $39 to win on #6 Amazing Star
- $1.3 trifecta: 6 with 1,5,7 with 1,5,7 ($7.8)