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Posted 2024-03-08 05:43:34  
Purton says drop in distance will help

Zac Purton is optimistic a drop in distance can prove decisive in Beauty Eternal’s quest to topple Lucky Sweynesse in the HK$13 million G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (10 March).

Acutely aware of Lucky Sweynesse’s imposing attributes – Purton has been more successful on the world’s highest-rated sprinter than any other jockey, having partnered the gelding in 11 of 15 wins – the Australian is hopeful Beauty Eternal can produce a career-best performance.

“If you look at figures and ratings, Lucky Sweynesse has got him covered, so Beauty Eternal is going to have to find something but he gets to his best distance and he gets his chance,” Purton said.

“He (Beauty Eternal) has drawn a reasonable gate (six), so hopefully he just gets the right run – it’s not going to be easy going up against Lucky Sweynesse. He’s going at his very best to be competitive.”

Rated 125 internationally, Lucky Sweynesse will meet his nine rivals at level weights under 126lb as Manfred Man’s charge bids for a fifth Group 1 and a second Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup victory under James McDonald.

McDonald, who has snared three of the seven Hong Kong Group 1s to be decided this season, replaced Purton on Lucky Sweynesse after his luckless sixth behind Victor The Winner in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) on 28 January.

While Purton was diplomatic about losing the ride on Lucky Sweynesse, he believes the five-year-old will be suited by the rise to 1400m, where he is unbeaten in three attempts.

“He (Lucky Sweynesse) has just felt like he’s wanted further for quite some time now and I think the step up in distance is going to be a huge asset for him,” the six-time Hong Kong champion jockey said.

Purton also believes Beauty Eternal is better suited at 1400m after his fighting second to Voyage Bubble in the G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) at Sha Tin on 21 January.

“Voyage Bubble is obviously an emerging horse here in Hong Kong and it was no disgrace to run second to him,” Purton said. “We know the mile is at the outer limits of his (Beauty Eternal’s) capabilities.

“He was up for the fight for as long as he could and just the class difference probably told in the end.”

With an international mark of 116, Beauty Eternal also faces California Spangle (123), Beauty Joy (115), Lucky With You (114), Healthy Happy (107), Taj Dragon (107), Son Pak Fu (106), Red Lion (105) and Galaxy Patch (99).

Lucky Sweynesse will attempt to become the first horse to win successive Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cups since Beauty Generation’s domination of the race with three straight wins from 2018 to 2020 – all under Purton.

The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup is the second leg of the Hong Kong Speed Series, which culminates with the HK$22 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on 28 April.

Sunday’s (10 March) 10-race card at Sha Tin starts with the Class 5 Hau Wong Handicap (1800m) at 1pm (HK time).

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