Preview and form for the meeting at Sha Tin on Monday. Selections by Andrew Hawkins.
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Monday April 17, 2017)
RACE 1: #3 Lucky Master, #1 Confucius Warrior, #6 Amusing City, #5 Riverside Bird
RACE 2: #1 Amazing Always, #6 Rewarding Flyer, #12 Yourthewonforme, #14 Telecom Boom
RACE 3: #1 Fancy Music, #4 King's Man, #7 Cool And Neat, #12 Gorgeous Again
RACE 4: #1 Endearing, #4 Mr Oriole, #5 Vital Spring, #7 Multigogo
RACE 5: #2 Merrygowin, #1 City Legend, #14 Unbeatable Guts, #10 Wingold
RACE 6: #10 Thor The Greatest, #7 Chung Wah Spirit, #1 Mythical Emperor, #6 Winston's Lad
RACE 7: #3 Star Of Joy, #8 Mr Picasso, #1 Most Beautiful, #9 Vara Pearl
RACE 8: #2 Racing Supernova, #3 Magic Legend, #4 Line Seeker, #1 Strathmore
RACE 9: #8 Penang Hall, #14 Rattan, #2 Cheerful Boy, #9 Razor Quest
RACE 10: #12 Wushu Champion, #1 Convincible, #7 World Record, #3 Top Laurels
RACE 1: CHEUNG LIN SHAN PLATE
This is the first griffin race of the season, so all six runners – four Irish-bred three-year-olds, one three-year-old from Japan and a lone Australian-bred two-year-old – are unraced. All have trialled though and nothing has looked too flash in the mornings. #3 Lucky Master beat #1 Confucius Warrior in a trial on March 21. Both were asked for an effort at some point, but Lucky Master looked to be doing it fairly easily in the concluding stages and he gets the nod here. #6 Amusing City has looked pretty raw in his trials. Two-year-olds have a good record in these griffin races getting weight off their older rivals, so he deserves consideration for that fact alone. Next best, #5 Riverside Bird.
RACE 2: D'AGUILAR PEAK HANDICAP
#1 Amazing Always is four-from-seven in Class 5. He did finish well back in his first run back in Class 5 in November, but he did come out at his next start and win at a big price. Expect him to be around the mark. #6 Rewarding Flyer enjoyed a nice run in transit before finishing second last time out at his second run in the cellar grade. He’s drawn to enjoy a similar run here and should be in the mix. #12 Yourthewonforme returns to the Sha Tin turf for the first time since December 2015, when he was at the bottom of Class 3. He has drawn well and he is at a very attractive mark now, although trainer Gary Ng is not the most reliable handler to follow. #14 Telecom Boom has looked likely to break through a number of times this season but he hasn’t quite put it all together. He only carries 107 pounds here, so should be a chance.
RACE 3: HIGH WEST HANDICAP
#1 Fancy Music is a quirky customer but there’s no doubting he is capable of winning his way up into Class 3. Last time out, he was at the back of the field in a slowly-run race over 2200m, but he still managed to make up solid ground into third. It may be an ugly watch mid-race as he will likely be under heavy riding at some stage, but expect him to be making significant ground late. #4 King's Man has been fairly consistent this season, apart from a poor showing two back. He steps up to 1800m here with Neil Callan, who won on the Iffraaj gelding in October, jumping back aboard. He is a threat. #7 Cool And Neat has run the two best races of his career at his last two efforts, both from the outside gate. Sam Clipperton replaces a suspended Joao Moreira and he should be around the mark again. #12 Gorgeous Again has won his last two races well enough. He has to step up now to win off a mark of 47, but with natural improvement, he can be somewhere in the mix.
RACE 4: MA KONG SHAN HANDICAP
#1 Endearing looked like he was coming right when he was just beaten a neck on international day, but his three runs since have been pretty poor. Now, he gets down into Class 4 for the first time with Zac Purton jumping aboard. From gate six, he should be able to track the speed and he can score here. #4 Mr Oriole ran well on debut down the straight and showed the benefit of that run when sticking on well second-up. With further improvement, he should be one of the main dangers. #5 Vital Spring’s first two runs were very good, but he stuck on one-paced behind Shamal two back before disappointing last start. Kei Chiong replaces a suspended Joao Moreira, but if he fails to muster again, she might be the least suitable jockey around. Still, the horse is some chance and has to go in. Next best, #7 Multigogo, who ran well on debut down the straight. He went to the dirt at start two, looking terribly outpaced before finding again late. There’s talent there but he still looks a work in progress.
RACE 5: MOUNT BUTLER HANDICAP
#2 Merrygowin and #1 City Legend have contested the same three races to begin their Hong Kong careers. The score is City Legend 2, Merrygowin 1, but Merrygowin does have a win on the board which City Legend does not. Both get blinkers on here and Zac Purton has switched from Merrygowin to City Legend, but Merrygowin does have a better draw and has looked a horse with more upside at this stage. However, both are chances. #14 Unbeatable Guts has not shown a great deal in recent times, but he was a course and distance winner last season off a higher mark. The booking of Dylan Mo means that he only carries 106 pounds and it looks possible that he can break through before he drops down into Class 5. #10 Wingold is honest enough but he does need breaks to fall his way in the run too. He should get a good run in transit from gate six under Sam Clipperton and can fill a place.
RACE 6: THE HONG KONG LIONS CUP
#10 Thor The Greatest has not won in almost two years but he has rarely run a poor race this season. This is his first time back on the circle at Sha Tin in almost 18 months, but he is a course and distance winner and he should be able to get somewhere near the speed. #7 Chung Wah Spirit showed a hint of the form that he had displayed in Australia when running into third over this course and distance last time out. He will likely get back in the run again but he should be able to save ground throughout and if he gets the splits, expect him to be finishing strongly. #1 Mythical Emperor led at big odds last time out and was just run down late. With Matthew Poon aboard, expect similar tactics to be employed and he will likely be around the mark for a long way. #6 Winston's Lad returned to form by running home nicely behind Bravo Watchman last time out. He should be running on late again.
RACE 7: MOUNT COLLINSON HANDICAP
#3 Star Of Joy has shaped well in two starts to date. He was outgunned last time out as favourite, but he should have come on for the experience and he is drawn to enjoy another good run here. #8 Mr Picasso is a quirky customer but he put his best foot forward when winning last time out. The claim of Matthew Poon takes his impost down to a featherweight 107 pounds, but he also does shape as the kind of horse not best suited by an apprentice. #1 Most Beautiful has to lug 133 pounds but does look suited back down in class. He did run some strong races at the top of Class 3 earlier in the season and he is drawn to get the run of the race. Next best, #9 Vara Pearl, who did run on very strongly for fifth last weekend. With a similar set-up, he can be charging home late again.
RACE 8: NAM LONG SHAN HANDICAP
#2 Racing Supernova drops to 1200m for the first time this season after mixing his form at 1400m. He has been slightly slow to break at times, but if he can settle midfield with cover and the breaks present for him, he should be able to finish strongly. #3 Magic Legend is unbeaten in Hong Kong from three starts. He still looks to have points in hand, although it is still a big ask for him to progress higher at this stage. Still, he has to be a contender. #4 Line Seeker appears to have found his mark on 97. However, with the claim of Matthew Poon employed, he gets in with 115 pounds on his back, which could prove all the difference here. #1 Strathmore has not been able to live up to his best form of last season, including a G1 placing behind Chautauqua, this term. However, with a drop in class, perhaps he can find that spark again.
RACE 9: POTTINGER PEAK HANDICAP
#8 Penang Hall relished the step up to 1600m last time out to race away for a comfortable win. His intended rider that day, Matthew Poon, finally jumps aboard, with the horse set to carry one pound less than he did under Derek Leung last start. He’s a major player again. Another last-start winner is #14 Rattan, who won nicely enough and now gets in with only 114 pounds on his back from a middle gate. He should settle in the second half of the field and can find the line nicely. #2 Cheerful Boy will likely be at the head of affairs, especially with in-form claimer Dylan Mo aboard from gate 13. He has shown that the best way for him to be ridden is to set a strong tempo, yet it is likely he will still be in contention for a long way. #9 Razor Quest should be able to get a nice run in transit from gate three. He might be on his mark but he can still fill a placing.
RACE 10: SIU MA SHAN HANDICAP
#12 Wushu Champion has more ability than his one placing from nine starts suggests. That placing came last time out with Ben So aboard, running home strongly for third behind up-and-comer Bravo Watchman. Douglas Whyte is a positive jockey change and perhaps this is his chance to get a win on the board. #1 Convincible has put together a solid enough record without winning in his eight Hong Kong starts to date. He raced closer to the speed with blinkers on last start and with claimer Matthew Poon taking 10 pounds off, it is possible he ends up on speed here. He’s a legitimate contender. #7 World Record’s last four starts at this course and distance have yielded three wins and a second. Sam Clipperton jumps aboard now but he has a good gate again and he should be around the mark. #3 Top Laurels has looked promising in two starts to date. He has to contend with gate 14 but he’s a chance nonetheless.
Form for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's meeting at Sha Tin on Mondday.
The 10 race broadcast commences at 3.00pm AEST, 1.00pm HKST, on Sky Racing2 and from 5.35pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and Thoroughbred Central.
Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service, neurals, worksheet and customised form guide.
Click on the HKJC form guide banner for Racingandsports.com.au form and select race.
Racing at Sha Tin on Monday, picture ThoroughbredNEWS