Jockey Zac Purton is confident that Aerovelocity can record a maiden win at Group 1 level when he contests the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Aerovelocity made his racing debut in Hong Kong in 2013 after he was purchased by Hong Kong-based connections after winning on debut in New Zealand in 2012 and he worked his way through the grades with five straight wins this time last year.
The Pins gelding made his black type racing debut with a win in the Group 3 Sha Tin Vase (1200m) in May this year, but he had his winning streak ended when he tired in the final stages to finish second in the Group 3 Premier Cup (1400m) on June 8.
Aerovelocity returned to racing with a fast-finishing win in the Group 2 Premier Bowl (1200m) at Sha Tin on October 26, but he finished at the tail of the field after being checked twice in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) on November 23.
Purton has ridden Aerovelocity in each of his past nine race starts, but the leading hoop told Racing Ahead that he is still unsure just how much talent the six-year-old although he feels the gelding is good enough to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) this weekend.
“I think that he is,” Purton said when asked if Aerovelocity was a winning chance in the Hong Kong Sprint.
“He had to take the next step this season and I think that he has done that.
“He went through the grades nicely last season and he rattled off five or six wins in a row and then he came back this season and obviously won at the start of the season.
“He was unlucky the other day, I went for a rails run and it closed on me, but if he had off got through then he would have been right in the finish.
“He is an exciting horse, but we still don’t know how good he is.
“I think he can take the required step and be very competitive in the race.”
Aerovelocity started the Jockey Club Sprint as a clear favourite and he tracked into the race nicely, but a rails run closed on him at the 350 metres mark and he became unbalanced before being checked badly on two subsequent occasions.
Purton believes that Aerovelocity would have been right in the finish if he had received a clear run in the Jockey Club Sprint and he confirmed that the talented sprinter had taken no harm from his checkered run.
“He didn’t just get knocked down once in the straight he got knocked down twice,” Purton said.
“By the time he got knocked down the second time it was game over and I just had to idle him down there to make sure that he pulled up well.
“Thankfully he has pulled up well and that run wouldn’t have taken too much out of him because I didn’t get to the bottom of him.
“He goes in there with nice fresh legs.”
Aerovelocity is currently available at 2014 Hong Kong Sprint odds of $5.50 and is favourite from Lucky Nine ($7), Peniaphobia ($7), Sole Power ($8.50) and Buffering ($9).