16th Oct 2016

A winning treble for Price Bloodstock graduates is a welcome success at any time but National Day at Sha Tin brought the promise of more wins from all three of the victors – and something a bit special from one of them, boom sprinter Nervous Witness.

Even notoriously hard to please jockey Zac Purton was blown away by the second start of Nervous Witness, who had set the internet on fire after coasting to his brilliant debut win in Class 4 on the opening day of the season.

Up to Class 3 this time, Nervous Witness won just as easily again despite getting some serious pressure from one of his rivals.

“They just don’t do what he just did – it was special,” Purton said. “I thought pre-race that Joao Moreira would try and torch him in the first half of the race – which he did, he really went out hard and tried to make it difficult for us. My bloke, at only his second start in a race, had to absorb all of that and he actually got stronger as the race went on. It was a really good performance. He got it put to him today and he had to find – he didn’t just find, he put them away.”

Trainer David Hayes was equally thrilled after the impressive score.

“Zac said he’s a Group 1 horse,” Hayes said. “You’d prefer him not to have that pressure but it’s nice to see how he responded – like a proper horse.”

Lord Thunder also kept his unbeaten record after two starts, this time in much more impressive fashion on the turf than his debut win on the dirt surface.

Blake Shinn dominated the race in front and Hayes-trained Lord Thunder put a wide margin in his rivals once asked to go in the home straight despite showing some signs of inexperience and rolling out towards the centre of the course.

“He just needed a friend in the straight, a bit similar to his first start. That day I thought he was probably going to win by three lengths but just got lost when he went past the second horse,” jockey Blake Shinn said. “Today he didn’t have a horse in front of him so he went looking for a friend. On one hand, it’s probably a little bit exciting because there’s more room to improve but when he goes up in class, he’s probably got to rectify those little habits. The great thing is that he’s learning, he’s talented and he’s progressive.”

Hayes believes those kinks in Lord Thunder will be ironed out with more racing experience.

“Blake has done a very good job on this horse, he was a difficult horse. When he arrived, he wanted to over-race and Blake spent a lot of time on him, riding him every day to get him relaxed and when he’s relaxed, he can go to the upper classes,” Hayes said.

John Size provided the final leg of the Price Bloodstock treble, with Drops Of God bouncing back from his first-up defeat to take his record to 6 starts for 3 wins over the Sha Tin 1200m.

“He’s got a good record for a Hong Kong horse, so he’s not going to stop where he is, he is going to go a little bit further up the ladder,” Size said. “His first run back was good, it was just his first run and he’s obviously come on a little from that. He’s got a bit more experience, he was regulated well today by Joao Moreira and he had a leader to look at. Everything was in his favour and he got the job done,” Size said.