Hong Kong based Australian jockey Zac Purton has been booked to ride Bow Creek in the Group 1 HK$14m Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
The John O’Shea trained Bow Creek heads to Hong Kong on the back of a fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
The Godolphin owned English import was also an impressive winner two starts prior when, after missing the start, was able to record a stunning win in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 27.
Purton said that he was looking forward to wearing Godolphin’s famous royal blue colours, something he said had been a long time ambition.
“It’s the first time I have had the opportunity to ride in the Godolphin blue, and it’s something I’ve always dreamed about. I think every jockey dreams to ride in these colours. It’s going to be a special moment for me, and hopefully the first of many,” Purton said.
Purton is hoping that Bow Creek will be better suited back on top of the ground after being beaten seven and a half lengths on a rain affected Randwick track in the Doncaster Mile.
“Bow Creek ran a credible race when fifth to Winx in the G1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on a very heavy track. He was baulked for a run at a crucial time, but once in the clear, he closed it off well,” Purton said.
“Usually that type of run isn’t quite good enough to win the Champions Mile here, but getting back to a dry surface could see him improve sharply.”
Last year’s winner Able Friend is a noted absentee from this year’s list of entries because of a leg injury and Purton said this could make the job a little easier for Bow Creek, although the Japanese galloper Maurice looks very good.
Maurice was crowned the Japanese Horse Of The Year after winning all his six race starts in 2015, including a last start win in the Group 1 HK$23m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 13.
“With Able Friend out, it does open it up a little but the presence of Maurice offsets that. He’s had a terrific last 12 months — he won here in December, so we know he likes the track, and now he has the added benefit of having raced here previously,” Purton said.
Maurice heads the market order for the Champions Mile at $2.10 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Bow Creek has been listed as an $11 chance.
Early market order for the Champions Mile at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.10 Maurice (JPN), $5.50 Giant Treasure (HK), $6 Contentment (HK), $7 Safety Check (UAE), $11 Beauty Only (HK), Bow Creek (AUS), $19 Beauty Flame (HK), Packing Pins (HK), $34 Secret Weapon (HK), $71 Rewarding Hero (HK), $81 Dundonnell (HK), $126 Gun Pit (HK).