One of the best days on the world racing calendar is the International Day at Sha Tin and it comes around this Sunday, highlighted by the four major Group l events, bringing together some of the best horse flesh in the world.
Race 1. (15:25) Jim And Tonic Handicap (Class 4) 1400m
Found it hard to find something to beat 2 Charizard. Looks a really progressive gelding for the David Ferraris stable who is three weeks between runs since scoring such an impressive win over 1200m, coming from near last to blouse them out wide. Only horse in the race to break 22 for the final 400m. If he can sit closer from the draw, clearly the horse to beat.
4 City Legend is still a maiden but his recent efforts suggest that the first win isn’t far off. Ran over this track/distance four weeks ago and worked home strongly from the back to run second to Witness Hunter in a race where the subsequent form has been okay. Been getting back recently but with the ideal gate, Zac can have him closer in the run.
7 Noble De Love is a Frankie Lor trained gelding who had trialled up well prior to resuming over this track/distance where he was pushed out to hold a forward spot and I reckon given he was fresh, that might have left him without many petrol tickets in the end. Bowman takes the ride and he should do no work in the run. Went close second up last prep as well so he could be dangerous.
Race 2. (15:55) Able Friend Handicap (Class 3) 1200m
I think the first starters hold the key here. Could be silly for making a first starter the best of the day but I’m going to do that in the shape of 9 Loving A Boom, a former Irish galloper making his Hong Kong debut for Richard Gibson. His overall form in Ireland was solid without jumping up and down but I’ve been really taken by his two trials. First trial was on the dirt and he went with arguably the best dirt horse in Hong Kong, Ugly Warrior, and did it easily, before going to Happy Valley where he was just as impressive behind Alcari. If he can get cover/luck from the draw, gee I think he’ll take some beating.
Looks to be intent with 5 Jing Jing Win for David Hall. This gelding seems most effective when produced on the fresh side hence why he is five weeks between runs since being wide with cover over 1400m here and battling away okay in a race where the form has been franked via Mr So And So. Clear threat.
6 Regency Legend is another making his Hong Kong debut, this one formerly being from New Zealand. Danny Shum trains and he’s another that has looked sharp in trials. Loved the way he found the line in the second last trial behind Summer Passage before bolting up on the Conghua dirt. NZ form was average but looks to have taken to life in Hong Kong so he’s a definite watch.
Race 3. (16:30) Fantastic Light Handicap (Class 3) 1800m
Hoping for the power of Moreira to get 12 Remarkable home. He’s done his recent racing on the dirt track and he hasn’t been too bad. Ran over the mile last Sunday and worked home quite well from the back I thought behind Hang’s Decision. From the good draw, hopefully can sit closer and his form earlier in the year on the turf was solid.
1 Bigwood looks to be going well. Ran over 1800m at Happy Valley last time where you could make a case he should have won. Just copped interference when full of of running and that probably cost him the momentum to pick up Rule Three. Better suited at Sha Tin for mine and Zac remains on. Obvious threat.
5 Namjong Plus has been one of the more consistent horses in Hong Kong this year. Yet to really run a bad race in 2018 and won two back before he contested that race mentioned above where he just got too far back in the run but finished off strongly. Record at Sha Tin is nothing to sneeze at and #ThePoonTrain is riding in great form at the moment.
Race 4. (17:00) Hong Kong Vase 2400m
If he runs to his best, I think 13 Latrobe (Bet Now: $11.00) can only run well. High class animal for Joseph O’Brien who was in Australia originally for the Melbourne Cup but stable dodged that and instead they ran in the Mackinnon where he got within a lip of beating Trap For Fools in a great contest. Didn’t travel over 100%, but I’ll trust the stable and the form around him.
I find 5 Mirage Dancer (Bet Now: $7.50) a fascinating runner. Sir Michael Stoute trains, with this horse being set for this race after originally being touted as a Cups horse in Australia. Yet to race at Group l level yet but has the pedigree to suggest he’s a Group l class horse and his UK form reads of a likely Group l winner. 2400m looks his ideal trip and will be a clear threat.
I reckon 6 Eagle Way (Bet Now: $9.50) is the pick of the locals for the Vase. John Moore has him absolutely flying at the moment and that was evident when he surprised most with a dominant Jockey Club Cup triumph over 2000m. He usually comes into his own at 2200m+ so the fact he won at 2000m tells me the horse is going very well.
Race 5. (17:40) Hong Kong Sprint 1200m
I’m going to go each way in the shape of 4 Beat The Clock (Bet Now: $9.00). Like most of the locals, they come through the Jockey Club Sprint. He was first up though and looked to carry condition. He ran a beauty in defeat, looming but just running out of condition late when third to Hot King Prawn. I think he’s got the upside and appears the one at overs.
2 Mr Stunning (Bet Now: $4.00) is the defending champ from last year and I reckon he’s spot on to defend the title. The ride on the horse last start in the Jockey Club Sprint was just odd. Wide throughout and really, I think he should have won but couldn’t reel in Hot King Prawn. Another with upside and from all reports, he’s working the house down.
I think 3 D B Pin (Bet Now: $11.00) is somewhat the forgotten horse. He comes through the Jockey Club Sprint as well and his run was a total forgive. Back and wide throughout, he had no hope of making up the necessary ground. Got close to beating Mr Stunning in this race last year so we know he’s got the class and brilliance to match it with these.
Race 6. (18:15) Maurice Handicap (Class 2) 1600m
I think we could well see the Hong Kong Derby winner run here and I think it might be 10 Helene Leadingstar. Australian punters will know him as Leicester, the Darren Weir trained galloper who was such an impressive winner of the SA Derby before coming here. 1600m is short of his best, but he’s got class, he has been dynamite at the mile when trained by Weir and his two trials leading in have been super. Happy to take a chance on him first up.
4 Easy Go Easy Win is a John Moore trained four year old who steps up to the mile after racing over 1400m here a fortnight ago where he just got too far back in the run but closed off really well behind World Record, though beaten six lengths. Think the 1600m will suit this son of Savabeel and if the forecast for rain is right, he won’t mind getting his toe in.
I think whatever he does here, 3 Dark Dream will improve on, but there’s no denying his quality, and that was evident early on in the Autumn in Sydney before he went on to Group l glory in the Queensland Derby and we know that race has been a key guide to finding some high class Hong Kong gallopers. Two trials have been solid without being great, but he has class.
Race 7. (18:50) Hong Kong Mile 1600m
It’s hard seeing 1 Beauty Generation (Bet Now: $1.50) getting beat. Star galloper who formerly raced in Australia under the name of Montagne but has well and truly gone to a new level since going to Hong Kong. Jockey Club Mile win was outstanding, smashing the track record and doing it whilst being wayward in the straight. I think really only bad luck will beat him.
4 Mozu Ascot (Bet Now: $15.00) is regarded as one of the best horses from Frankel to race in Japan. Always have to respect the Japanese when they are on the road and this horse is a proper miler. He comes through the Mile Championship at Kyoto where he just had no luck at all in a total forgive run. If the breaks go his way, he’ll make sure Beauty Generation is in a race.
9 Southern Legend (Bet Now: $18.00) was a very progressive three year old when racing in Australia under Les Bridge but has been a decent horse in Hong Kong. He comes through the Jockey Club Mile won by Beauty Generation and while he was well held, he did make ground very late and was strong to the line and through it. Can he win? I doubt it, but looks a strong top three chance.
Race 8. (19:30) Hong Kong Cup 2000m
1 Sungrazer (Bet Now: $2.40) for me. High quality Japanese galloper who looks one of the hardest to beat in a rather open edition of the Cup. He hasn’t raced since the Tenno Sho (Autumn) back on October 28 where he ran a gutsy second, with third being Kiseki, who of course ran a mighty second to the champion filly Almond Eye in the Japan Cup. That’s the A1 form for this.
2 Time Warp (Bet Now: $5.00) is a real hit and miss galloper for Tony Cruz who became the first horse to break two minutes for 2000m in Hong Kong earlier in the year. He was taken on in the Jockey Club Cup and rightfully dropped off to finished a long last behind Eagle Way. I think he’ll get a soft lead this time around and that is when he races best.
5 Gold Mount (Bet Now: $13.00) ran really well in the Vase last year but instead tackles the Cup this year. He loved the fast pace in the Jockey Club Cup last time and worked home strongly to run fourth to Eagle Way. I don’t think they’ll go as hard this time around, but he’s got upside in the legs and will be strong at the end of 2000m.
Race 9. (20:10) Lord Kanaloa Handicap (Class 2) 1200m
He’s a bit hit and miss is 7 Raging Storm but I’m sure the best version of him is good enough to beat these. John Size trains this four year old, who ran over this track/distance three weeks ago and produced a brilliant finale from off the pace to surge hard late under Moreira and score. Recent trial behind D B Pin was outstanding and I think he’s ready to go.
1 Fortune Booth finds a very winnable race for John Moore. He hasn’t raced in over a month since being somewhat unlucky over 1200m at Happy Valley when a long way back but closed off well to run fourth to Gunnison. Recent trial was good and from a good draw, I’m hoping Zac can have him much closer in the run.
4 Gold Win is a quality former French galloper making his Hong Kong debut for Tony Cruz with the Derby in mind. Group lll winner over 1400m at Deauville so the talent is there. Just a matter of bringing it to Hong Kong and the two trials leading in suggest he looks pretty good. In France, he was so electric when produced fresh, so he’s a definite watch.
Race 10. (20:50) Highland Reel Hcp (c3) 1400m
I’m hoping we can get an each way price about 14 Grade One in the get out. Paul O’Sullivan trains this son of Manhattan Rain who ran over the 1400m here three weeks ago and was very good late when closing off to run third to Noble Steed, with Nicconi Express second. Nicconi Express and this bloke look the two but I think the value, hopefully, will be with this guy.
7 Nicconi Express will have no trouble coming back to 1200m for John Size. Formerly with David Vandyke, he made his Hong Kong debut in the race mentioned above and ran well in defeat behind Noble Steed after getting the box seat. The Moreira factor means you’ll be asked to take short odds but concede he’s likeable.
3 Tashidelek makes his Hong Kong debut for Jimmy Ting after formerly racing in Australia for Chris Waller under the name Almighty Crown. He was tested in the Queensland Derby after solid efforts in average races in Sydney and he ran okay but didn’t measure up. Probably one for later on, but I didn’t mind the way he went in a recent trial behind Gold Win.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Two Number 9 Loving A Boom
NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 1 Beauty Generation
LONG SHOT: Race Five Number 4 Beat The Clock
Quaddie Tips (Races Seven Through To Ten):
Leg One: 1
Leg Two: 1, 2, 5, 9
Leg Three: 1, 4, 7, 9
Leg Four: 2, 3, 7, 8, 14
$50 Investment= 62.50% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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