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Our resident Hong Kong tipping expert Xavier Blair analyses today’s meeting.

Race 1 – PATERSON HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 40-15

Bit of value in the opening event tonight with the likely favourite Aipoder Image (4) expected to be short odds again and I’m willing to take him on as he has been a bit costly of late; in saying that, I’m going with Romancing Tamar (8) who is still yet to place in seven runs in Hong Kong but I do believe he is finding form at the right time. He only battled in two 1400m Sha Tin runs earlier this season, one of them behind the handy Napa II, then he was stepped up to the 1800m here at Happy Valley where he was trapped three wide and his run is best forgotten. He showed promising signs here again last start when he ran out strongly from well back over this distance. He looks a nice each way prospect. Daily Double (5) has some handy recent form on this track while Aipoder Image (4) has been costly at his past couple after winning two in a row. Maximum Charm (12) gets in with a featherweight and has drawn ideal gate.

Selections:

8-5-4-12

Race 2 – KINGSTON HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 60-40

Travel Guide (2) went down narrowly to Encosta Don here last start after sitting on the speed. He should get the gun run from gate one and if the gap opens up on straightening then he should be able to sprint sharply and crack his first win in Hong Kong. Mega Bullet (1) will be much fitter for his first up run at Sha Tin behind All Time High where he didn’t find a lot in the straight but was only beaten 4 lengths. With natural improvement he should be in the thick of things second up tonight as he has some pretty handy track and distance stats. Mainland Shuttle (3) was also first up last start and he took off 3wide at the 800m mark and battled on well to go down just on 2 lengths. He too will be much fitter and can figure. Spicy Shrimp (7) is a good roughie who is coming along nicely. Three runs this time in have been fair, making solid ground from the rear. He has a light weight and looks an each way prospect.

Selections:

2-1-3-7

Race 3 – GREAT GEORGE HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1200m

Rating 60-40

Fair race here where it is hard to split Morning Green (2) and Withallmyheart (12) but the former, Morning Green (2), won in good fashion two starts back on the Sha Tin course then was very flat over 1400m last start when he had a good trail but found nothing in the straight.  The drop back to 1200m is ideal and he should be a little too slick for his rivals here although Withallmyheart (12) is his greatest danger. This fellow ran a cracker last start, getting well back over 1000m and finishing powerfully for a close up fifth. He goes to the 1200m and has won twice over the distance. High Return (4) is next best, coming off a solid run here last start where he finished well from the rear. He has drawn well tonight. Each way chance to hit and miss gelding Darpana (2) who was a bit sharper back to 1200m last start. He could run well again.

Selections:

2-12-4-2

Race 4 – KINGSTON HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 60-40

Tough race. Sohna (7) would have easily been top pick if the race was over 1200 or 1400m and I’m just a little worried about the sharp step to 1650m although he has raced well over this distance in the past. He arguably should have won at Sha Tin last start when he was checked at the 350m mark when going for a run. That was over 1200m and I reckon we can get some odds about him tonight. Chater De Lago (1) came with a well timed run to score two starts back and then made up many lengths out wide last start. He too looks a good each way hope. Century Molly (8) looks to be the pace in the race and therefore has to be a chance. He stays down in the weights and might be the one that kicks a few lengths in front on the turn and they may not run him down. Electronic Master (2) caught the eye last start weaving home between horses. Don’t rule out.

Selections:

7-1-8-2

Race 5 – CLEVELAND HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 80-60

Value here with My Mate Adric (11) stepping up to a suitable distance and is now rock hard fit after three runs in his debut season. He will enjoy the step to 1650m and did put in a very impressive gallop six days ago over 1200m. Holiday Sun (10) will enjoy this lightweight in this tougher race and he has solid form over this track and distance. Winning Reward (1) has to contend with high weight but has caught the eye at his past couple and it wouldn’t shock if he motored home over the top of them. Next best is Yue Lu Treasure (4) who was posted wide behind the handy Moonwalk at Sha Tin last start and it would pay to forgive that run. He gets Prebble tonight.

Selections:

11-10-1-4

Race 6 – THE JANUARY CUP (HANDICAP)

Turf ,”B” Course ,1800m

Rating 110-90

Excellent Boy (3) ticks all the boxes here and looks hardest to beat. From his seven career wins, six of them have been here at Happy Valley and two of them over this distance. He beat home Operation Secret (2) two runs back over 1650m after sitting three wide and draws better than him this time. Last start he was solid behind Holi Ravioli on the All Weather Track and was tuned up for this with a strong trial last week. Noble Conqueror (4) has been looking for these conditions, a Happy Valley 1800m race, where he does his best racing. All of his recent form has been on the Sha Tin track and will no doubt enjoy the return to Happy Valley where he has saluted seven times. Gallant Lion (6) is one who will be suited by the extra ground and is likely to be at healthy odds.

Selections:

3-2-4-6

Race 7 – CANNON HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1000m

Rating 80-60

Easy (6) has been blessed with his draws at his past few starts, drawing gate one at his past two and now gate two for tonight and for that fact he will be hardest to beat as he loves to get a smother on the fence and then storm home which he has done at his past three starts but just been run down on all three occasions. Last start he was defeated in the last stride by a flying Vaugirard who just failed to run down Tai Sing Yeh last week. Cheerful City (11) races up on the pace and has a light impost which sees him hard to run down over the 1000m. He was defeated by Loyal Army two starts back who has won two in a row on this circuit recently. Union’s Star (3) has been mixing his distances but will be the strongest at the finish. If the pace is on this boy could easily sail straight by them. Next best is the disappoint Young Label (7) who has been beaten favourite at both his runs this time in but has to be respected again as he reaches peak fitness.

Selections:

6-11-3-7

Race 8 – CLEVELAND HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 80-60

Soldier (12) has handy form behind Electronic Master and Moonglow, gets in with just 111 pounds and has drawn ideally. He should beat these if he runs up to his past couple of runs. His main opponent is Green Jacket (4) who ran a super race last time out behind A Walk In The Park where he sat three wide and still sprinted sharply to just miss over 1400m at Sha Tin. The 1650m tonight is right up his alley and is sure to run well. Go Lucky Go (3) won well over these conditions at his last start in early December and will freshen well into this event tonight. Clement Elite (2) caught the eye at Sha Tin last start, running on well over 1400m. His previous two were here at Happy Valley behind Super Satin who is no slouch.

Selections:

12-4-3-2

Written by Xavier Blair

 
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