9th September 2020

It didn’t take long for Price Bloodstock to open the scoring for the new Hong Kong season with British-bred Melbourne Hall also getting the first win for himself and trainer David Hall at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.

The Harbour Watch four-year-old had raced well without luck in his first campaign but everything lined up well for his opening play of the new term and he got the job done for Zac Purton in good style.

“He’s not a big boy. He’s an English-bred horse and his first year was always going to be a little bit tough, but he was overdoing things early,” trainer Hall said.

“He didn’t have much strength to finish his races off, so we switched him around, rode him a bit cold and brought him to Happy Valley to help him.

Unfortunately, he kept drawing outside gates and running well, as everyone could see, but without that little bit of luck in running that makes the difference between winning and losing.”

On Wednesday, the gelding had gate four and a cosy run through the race that allowed him to finish off full of running even though his trainer sees the future over longer distances as Melbourne Hall matures.

“We all know 1,200m is too short for him, he’s going to improve when he gets to 1,400m and 1,600m, so it was just good that he was able to get the job done today and break the maiden,” Hall explained. “He had a barrier and we were lucky enough to put the top jockey on and he gave him the right passage and got the result.”

And the champion jockey suggested there was more merit to the victory than might have been immediately obvious from the neck margin.

“It didn’t go to plan. I got squeezed not long after the start and I was buried back on the fence with a lot horses around me at the 800m,” Purton said. “I thought I couldn’t win from where I was but luckily they fanned out and I got a nice run through and he got the job done. He’s been a tricky horse, and David has had to be patient with him. It’s taken him a while to get his head right, but the light weight and inside gate helped him tonight. I don’t think it’s his last win, for sure.”