Purton sharpens Pins for BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile

Packing Pins faces by far the toughest assignment of his burgeoning career in Saturday’s (21 November) Group 2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile. Not only is the Ricky Yiu-trained gelding slated to make the leap from Class Two handicap to international Group 2, but the rising star is also set to face Hong Kong’s standout superstar, the imperious Able Friend.

The latter heads the field of nine that also features multiple G1 winners Designs On Rome and Dan Excel among an octet of proven elite grade gallopers. But although the upcoming test represents Packing Pins’ first move out of the relative shallows of handicap racing, jockey Zac Purton believes the exciting five-year-old will not be out of his depth.

“Hopefully Packing Pins runs well this weekend. He deserves to be in the race and I think he’ll acquit himself very well,” he said.

The Pins gelding has made smart progress since winning on debut back in October 2014 off a Hong Kong rating of 52. Now with six wins on the board from nine starts – all at distances short of a mile – and only one finish outside the top two, Packing Pins heads into the BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile rated 109 and seeking a hat-trick for the season at his third start.

Purton was in the plate for the New Zealand-bred’s most recent triumph, the 1400m Class 2 Lukfook Jewellery Cup (Handicap) on 10 October. The Australian ace was on board again on Tuesday (17 November) morning when Packing Pins stretched out over 800m of the turf course in 53.4s (30.5, 22.9).

“I worked him on the grass on Tuesday and he’s ticking along very well,” revealed Purton. “I sat up from the 1400m on him then picked it up from the half-mile pole and he stretched his legs up the straight. He’s a pretty fit horse, even though he hasn’t raced for a while.

“He tends to do a little bit more than Ricky would want him to. He’s always on the borderline of going over the top, so you’ve got to be careful to save a little bit on him where you can. But he feels really good and he was having a bit of a play and a kick when we pulled up – he really enjoyed himself.”

The BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile is one of three features on Saturday’s Jockey Club Raceday, the other two being the G2 LONGINES Jockey Club Cup (2000m) and the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint (1200m). The Jockey Club Races is the prime lead-up to the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on Sunday 13 December at Sha Tin, which features the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile, the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).

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