Stoltz claims his most important Hong Kong victory. Photo by HKJC.

Francis Lui, Zac Purton combine with Stoltz to land G3 National Day Cup

HJKC Staff

HKJC Staff Member


By Leo Schlink


Francis Lui accelerated a blistering start to the season with a Sha Tin treble crowned by Stoltz’s courageous victory in the HK$4.2 million G3 National Day Cup Handicap (1000m) to extend his lead at the top of the Hong Kong trainers’ championship on Sunday (1 October).

Stoltz was the third leg of Lui’s three-timer after earlier victories by Moduleconstruction and Chancheng Glory to leave the veteran handler with 11 wins for the campaign, three clear of nearest pursuer Caspar Fownes (eight) and Pierre Ng (seven).

Providing six-time Hong Kong champion Purton with successive wins in the National Day Cup after last season’s success aboard David Hayes-trained Super Wealthy, Stoltz improved his record to six wins – all over 1000m – from 14 Hong Kong starts.

The chestnut was previously trained by Annabel Neasham in Australia, where he won three races at Wyong Racecourse before transferring to Lui’s stable.

Lui praised Purton’s composed ride and was typically self-effacing over his start to a season he hopes will again be highlighted by the heroics of champion Golden Sixty, who is slated to resume in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on 10 December.

“The jockey (Purton) is a champion and he knows this horse very well. He did a good job. His form is very good,” Lui said. “This horse (Stoltz) had two trials at Conghua and his trackwork has been good.”


Zac Purton trails Hugh Bowman by one win in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship.
Zac Purton trails Hugh Bowman by one win in the Hong Kong jockeys’ championship.


Stoltz (124lb) was the second pillar of Purton’s brace and gave the Australian a seamless ride after settling in third place before clocking 55.91s to defy Adios (117lb) by a neck with Kurpany (119lb) a length further back.

“It was pretty straight-forward. It’s a small field, a straight race – he’s got speed. He’s always put himself in the right spot. It was just a matter of him putting himself where he was comfortable,” Purton said.

“Kurpany wanted to wander in and hamper me a bit in the last 300m, but my bloke has got a really good will to win and that spurred him on even more to make sure he got the job done. When he heard Adios coming late, he found a bit more.

“That’s been typical of him, he’s a very honest horse – when the going gets tough, he gives everything he’s got. Francis has done a great job with him. He’s turned out to be a very good horse.”


Vincent Ho drives Super Sunny Sing to victory.
Vincent Ho drives Super Sunny Sing to victory.


Chris So could target the HK$4.2 million G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) on 5 November with Super Sunny Sing after the 2023 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) winner clinched the Class 2 Beijing Handicap (1600m) as Vincent Ho notched a treble.

“It’s good, he ran well. He carried 132lb – lucky, three-wide with cover,” So said of his stable flagbearer. “I don’t think I will rush him in the middle of October. Maybe we aim for the 1800m, the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (on 5 November), so he can have a two or three-week break and come back.

“I saw in the last (200m), he was just a little bit tired, but still good. Vincent did a good job, he knows the horse well, but lucky we got three-wide with cover. Maybe in future, after this run, he’ll be (rated) 99 or 100, I don’t know. We aim for the Group race and let’s see.”

Ng’s long-range planning paid off with a double with debutants Galaxy Patch and Ka Ying Cheer to leave the second-season trainer third in the trainers’ standings.

“It’s definitely exciting. We planned it from last season,” Ng said. “We have much better new horses that we got towards the end of the (2022/23) season and they’re doing very well. They’re trialling very well and we’re getting the results now.”

Galaxy Patch earned a PP Bonus of HK$1.5 million after surging late to claim the first section of the Class 3 Shanghai Handicap (1200m) under Karis Teetan. By Wandjina and formerly known as Gulinga Spirit when trained by Will Clarken & Niki O’Shea in South Australia, where he was unbeaten in one start before export to Hong Kong, Galaxy Patch justified Ng’s pre-race expectations with a powerful finish.

“I expected that first-up. I was hoping he didn’t do anything wrong, but he did – he missed the start, didn’t jump very cleanly. He showed us he could really finish off in his trials, so he did what he did in the trials,” Ng said. “This one is a nice type and quite a promising one.

“We’ll keep rolling along and hopefully he’ll get more and more mature and we’ll see if he can go any further but he might just be a sprinter. He did brilliantly.”

Ng hopes the Reward For Effort gelding can strike again in Class 4 before advancing to higher levels after winning for Keith Yeung.

“We didn’t expect it to be so close and Keith said he was still a little bit fat. I hope this run will bring on his fitness. He should just get five points and we’ll progress from here, (I’ll look for a race) in two or three weeks and keep him going. He’s a hard worker, so we’ll just work him hard,” Ng said.

Francis Lui and Ho combined in familiar fashion with Moduleconstruction before Harry Bentley successfully teamed with Lui aboard Chancheng Glory. Bentley closed the meeting with a double after Douglas Whyte’s Blue Marlin prevailed.

Splendid Star cruised to a three-and-a-quarter length win under Purton for Whyte in his second win over the 1800m course before Lyle Hewitson drove Sparkling Dolphin to the gelding’s his fifth Sha Tin 1000m triumph, providing Me Tsui with his first win off the season.

Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (4 October).




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