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One of the great race days on the world racing calendar comes around this Sunday at Sha Tin with International Day, with ten races to be run and won, four of which are at Group l level. There are no Australian runners this year, but there are some familiar names going around such as Highland Reel, Tiberian and Werther.

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Race 1. (15:25) Fantastic Light Handicap (Class 3) 1800m

Back Me

Siding with 1 Circuit Hassler (Bet Now: $3.50) in the opener. This bloke is three weeks between runs since racing at this track/distance where I thought he was quite solid, making up really good ground in the straight to run third to the above average Dinozzo. Purton rode this horse a treat two back and is on board again with the rail draw.

Danger

6 Lotus Strikes Back (Bet Now: $8.00) comes through the same meeting as Circuit Hassler, but he ran over 2000m. He looked to travel well off the pace before Clipperton eased him wide on the turn where he loomed large to win but couldn’t quite go on with it when third to Giant Turtle. Draws much better here and Clipperton sticks.

Long Shot

11 Hay Run (Bet Now: $12.00) ran in the same race as Lotus Strikes Back and I thought his effort from the back was great. Got a mile out of his ground but finished off with real purpose to run a close up fourth. The worry is that he comes back to 1800m because I think 2000m would be ideal, but he’s a must for exotics.

Race 2. (15:55) Able Friend Handicap (Class 3) 1200m

Back Me

3 Bravo Watchman (Bet Now: $1.90) looks the first of a couple of good things on the card. This son of Congrats is four weeks between runs since racing at this track/distance where he seemingly had every chance under Moreira and loomed large to win but he had no answers for the finishing burst of Golden Sun. Like the freshen up, he draws well and Moreira sticks.

Danger

7 Winston’s Lad (Bet Now: $13.00) hadn’t won for a little but there was merit in his win at this track/distance a month back. Really liked the way he attacked the line in winning and ended up winning quite impressive, and that form has been franked with a couple of subsequent winners from the event. Drawn awkwardly but is lethal on the fresh side.

Long Shot

9 Flying Lover (Bet Now: $34.00) is the very interesting runner. Former Waterhouse/Bott horse who raced under the name Thorin. He has had two trials to prepare for his Hong Kong debut, firstly with a placing in November before a nice trial here on Tuesday. Bred to be a beauty, and I think he is a definite yard watch.

Race 3. (16:30) Flying Dancer Handicap (Class 1) 1400m

Back Me

6 Nothingilikemore (Bet Now: $1.35) is a horse who I am thinking will be racing at this meeting next year in one of the international races. He is a star and arguably the most exciting up and comer in Hong Kong racing. He is five for five and while he isn’t spanking them, he is winning comfortably and running sizzling time. Hasn’t raced since October 22 but his two trials have been outstanding.

Danger

9 Southern Legend (Bet Now: $9.00) is a horse well known to Australian punters given Les Bridge used to train him. He hasn’t quite gone on with it as expected in Hong Kong but he showed good dash and fight to win last time out at Happy Valley over 1200m six weeks ago, aided by a peach from Nash. Trialled up well last Friday, draws well and is down in the weights.

Long Shot

4 Dundonnell (Bet Now: $13.00) is a veteran sprinter but his class should be respected big time against these. Hasn’t raced since the Golden Shaheen at Dubai but there is intent to run well fresh I think because he has been given a couple of very strong trials to prepare and he has placed three from five previous first up attempts.

Race 4. (17:00) Longines Hong Kong Vase 2400m

Back Me

9 Gold Mount (Bet Now: $8.50) looks the clear overs in this race for mine. Thought his effort in the Jockey Club Cup behind Werther was very good, getting well back off a genuine tempo before peeling out and working home with purpose to run fourth. He’ll eat up the 2400m, has upside and Purton did choose this bloke over a couple of others.

Danger

1 Highland Reel (Bet Now: $3.50) is a champion, an absolute marvel and it’d be great if this, his likely swansong, sees him greet the judge first. Won this race a couple of years and looks on target to go close again after a game effort in the Breeders Cup Turf last time out where he loomed large but Talismanic had the soft run and barged clear to win. Maps to get a lovely run near the speed.

Long Shot

It would be a remarkable training effort if John Moore can get 6 Eagle Way (Bet Now: $12.00) to salute. The star five year old is five weeks between runs since contesting the Ladies Day Purse where he flopped out the back like he usually does and wound up okay late in the piece behind Nassa. Trialled up okay last week but the big tick is that 2400m+, his record is outstanding.

Race 5. (17:40) Longines Hong Kong Sprint 1200m

Back Me

I’m very keen on 2 Lucky Bubbles (Bet Now: $4.40). Some see gate one as a negative but given his early toe, I think it’s a blessing because Bowman can do as he pleases early, whether to punch up and hold a box seat, or come out and look to come one off. Jockey Club Sprint run was a nightmare and he would have gone close with clear air. If he gets it here, it’ll take a special one to get past him.

Danger

1 Mr Stunning (Bet Now: $2.40) is the form sprinter leading in and on that basis, a deserved favourite. I will say that I think he has been a touch flattered in the two wins, with a couple of gems from Nash really helping, especially last time in the Jockey Club Sprint where he had clear/momentum to let down. Probably gets it again here and will go close. Just a tad short in the market.

Long Shot

5 Amazing Kids (Bet Now: $11.00) is the somewhat forgotten sprinter in this race but he is right in this up to his ears. He has placed in both of the lead ups, the Premier Bowl and the Jockey Club Sprint. Got held up a touch in the latter but once he got clear, he did hit the line with real purpose. He draws to get a lovely run near the pace again and it’s hard to see him not running well.

Race 6. (18:15) Lord Kanaloa Handicap (Class 2) 1200m

Back Me

11 Jing Jing Win (Bet Now: $5.00) on top. David Hall trained five year old who defeated Bravo Watchman with ease first up before racing again at the track/distance three weeks back where he worked home with purpose after getting in a tricky spot when fourth to Beat The Clock. That form does read very well for this. Just needs to overcome the sticky gate.

Danger

5 Lockheed (Bet Now: $2.50) is the most interesting runner on the program. This meeting we see leading Hong Kong Derby horses step out and I think this bloke could well be the one. Outstanding overseas form from the UK/Ireland with real class. Always a very good sign when these horses trial well leading up to their first run, and this bloke has been. Big watch.

Long Shot

3 Sea Jade (Bet Now: $10.00) should be suited by the rise to 1200m. He ran down the straight last time out and stuck to the task quite well in defeat I thought when fourth to Premiere. He has a pretty decent record at the track/distance, he draws well, hard fit and does get Hugh Bowman steering, so he has a few things going for him.

Race 7. (18:50) Longines Hong Kong Mile 1600m

Back Me

Thought this was the toughest of the four majors. I’m going each way with 2 Helene Paragon (Bet Now: $5.00). Thought Tommy gave him a gem in the Jockey Club Mile three weeks ago. Parked him off the speed, clear air at the right and let down with purpose, but just no match late for Seasons Bloom, who did have that grounding under the belt. Think there is more upside with Helene Paragon and happy to have him each way.

Danger

7 Seasons Bloom (Bet Now: $3.70) is a deserved favourite. Classy five year old who has built up such an imposing record in Hong Kong and will go close here. Moreira trucked up beautifully in the Jockey Club Mile before getting out 250m from home and savaging the line to overhaul Helene Paragon. A brutal mile is the query, but on form, a big chance.

Long Shot

9 Karar (Bet Now: $34.00) could well be the X-Factor. French star who comes to Hong Kong for the mile off the back of the Breeders Cup Mile where he did a power of work from the wide gate and just couldn’t finish it off when fifth to World Approval. Draws to get a lovely run off the pace and $31+ for him is a crazy price.

Race 8. (19:30) Longines Hong Kong Cup 2000m

Back Me

4 Werther (Bet Now: $2.70) a good thing to my eye. Has been set for this for six months and the noise out of the stable is just too positive and too confident to ignore. Clearly had improvement to come prior to the Jockey Club Cup but his class and brilliance under Tommy got him home when it mattered. He’ll peak for this, he draws well and a fast run 2000m will only play into his hands.

Danger

2 Neorealism (Bet Now: $5.00) is the big unknown here. If we knew the A-grade Neorealism would turn up, I’d give him serious respect. Just not sure where he is at. He was awful in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) last time out behind Kitasan Black but he is a horse who hates to get his feet wet. He draws the rail and Moreira is back on.

Long Shot

1 Deauville (Bet Now: $12.00) is an Aidan O’Brien trained five year old who has taken an unusual path to getting here. Hasn’t raced for three months since contesting the Woodbine Mile at Canada where he finished down the track behind World Approval, who of course went on to win the Breeders Cup Mile. 2000m is his distance, he draws a soft gate and is lethal on firm footing.

Race 9. (20:10) Jim And Tonic Handicap (Class 3) 1400m

Back Me

11 Top Beautiful (Bet Now: $3.50) looks the safe play. This bloke ran at this track/distance three weeks back where he was given seemingly every chance by Moreira and he tried very hard but he couldn’t quite get the job done and had to settle for second to Happy Agility. Draws to get a sweet run again and he can only run well.

Danger

2 Spicy Sure (Bet Now: $3.50) toughed it out very strongly when resuming at the track/distance when fifth to Diamond King after doing work in the run before racing again at the track/distance where he looked home but was nabbed late by Time To Celebrate. Little freshen up should do him the world of good and he trialled very well behind Group l horses last week.

Long Shot

13 Mr Potential (Bet Now: $34.00) comes through the Time To Celebrate race where he was hard ridden to take up a forward spot and that probably left him out of petrol tickets the final furlong when tiring late to run sixth. From the wide gate, I expect Whyte to ease back, look for cover and launch at them late. If that eventuates, a threat.

Race 10. (20:50) Maurice Handicap (Class 2) 1600m

Back Me

12 Rattan (Bet Now: $4.00  is a very progressive gelding for the Richard Gibson yard who is three for three this time in. The latest of those wins came at this track/distance a month back where he absolutely savaged the line from the back and despite the rider dropping the whip 100m out, he still got up to win. He looks a definite Derby horse.

Danger

7 Circuit Glory (Bet Now: $15.00) is another you can put down as a Derby horse. He made his Hong Kong debut a fortnight back over 1400m where he settled midfield on the rail and while he didn’t show a turn of foot, he stuck to the task quite gamely and was sound to the line behind Pingwu Spark. Should come on from that and he’ll be strong late.

Long Shot

1 Rivet (Bet Now: $15.00  is another that interests me long term. Made his Hong Kong debut in the Pingwu Spark race where he got too far back in the run and lacked the turn of foot but the last 50-75m, he was good late. He’ll eat up the extra furlong and these imports generally do improve big time from start one to start two.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Eight Number 4 Werther

NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 6 Nothingilikemore

VALUE: Race Seven Number 2 Helene Paragon

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):

Leg One: 1, 2, 7, 9

Leg Two: 4

Leg Three: 2, 3, 9, 11, 13

Leg Four: 1, 4, 7, 12, 13

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