Preview and form for the meeting at Sha Tin on Saturday. Selections by Andrew Hawkins.
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Saturday May 13, 2017)
RACE 1: #9 Hot King Prawn, #4 Lucky Master, #7 Amusing City, #1 A Shin Hoof
RACE 2: #3 Merrygowin, #7 G-One Union, #2 Hard Ball Get, #1 Charity Kingdom
RACE 3: #5 California Whip, #3 Winner's Way, #7 Pablosky, #2 Lucky Year
RACE 4: #8 Forever Posh, #11 Five Stars Agent, #2 Super Talent, #10 Crown Avenue
RACE 5: #3 Encore Boy, #7 Ivictory, #4 Strathclyde, #9 Nice Fandango
RACE 6: #1 Agree, #10 Laugh Out Loud, #5 Empire Star, #4 Metallic Star
RACE 7: #1 Lucky Wan Feng, #4 Lucky Dollar, #11 Sunshine Universe, #13 Flying Monkey
RACE 8: #2 King Genki, #11 Top Ace, #10 Giant Stars, #2 Who Dat Singa
RACE 9: #3 Friends Of Nanjing, #7 World Record, #1 Mighty Maverick, #9 Lang Tai Sing
RACE 10: #10 Green Energy, #6 Mongolian King, #13 Wushu Champion, #3 Lucky Double Eight
RACE 1: THE CHAIRMEN'S DAY PLATE
The second griffin race of the season only appears better on paper due to the presence of one horse. Unraced Denman two-year-old #9 Hot King Prawn impressed with a speedy performance at his first trial down the straight, while he had an easy hitout on the dirt against the older horses last week. In a field that is notable for its lack of depth, he should be making a winning debut. #4 Lucky Master finished second to Amusing City in the first griffin race of the season but looked good enough there to suggest he can fill that spot again here, turning the tables on the winner. #7 Amusing City did find the line well to score there, but he has to carry a seven-pound penalty here which gives Lucky Master the upper hand in their rematch. #1 A Shin Hoof is the first Hong Kong-trained horse for Hirotsugu Hirai, who owned Hong Kong Cup winner A Shin Hikari among others. A Shin Hoof has looked a big baby in the mornings but is one to watch at his first start.
RACE 2: THE CHEUNG CUP
#3 Merrygowin just seemed to hold his spot last time out, never really making ground but not losing his spot either. He has a soft draw here but he needs to prove that he is not just one-paced now. Still, he’s clearly the one to beat on paper. #7 G-One Union has had an injury-interrupted season, but he made up significant ground at Happy Valley at his return last month. He might need this one but the step up to 1400m looks a plus. #2 Hard Ball Get is not a prolific winner, having scored one win from 32 starts. However, he returns to Class 4 here, where he has a record of six starts for a win and three seconds, all over this course and distance. Zac Purton is a significant jockey upgrade too. #1 Charity Kingdom can bob up every now and then. He’s one to keep on side now that he gets the drop in grade as well.
RACE 3: THE MACWHINNIE CUP
Trainer Tony Cruz looks to hold the key to this seven-runner Class 1 contest with the two leading chances in the race. #5 California Whip has only won one from seven, and that came on the dirt. However, he’s been consistent otherwise, with big performances around some of the best four-year-olds in town. With only 119 pounds on his back, he clearly appears the horse to beat here. #3 Winner's Way made his Happy Valley debut last time out, prevailing over 1650m under a gem of a front-running ride from Zac Purton. He carries the same weight here, although he has gone up nine points in the ratings, and he will be the hardest to beat. Outside of the Cruz pair, #7 Pablosky creates interest here with only 114 pounds on his back. He is hard to catch at this level but his run behind stablemate Magic Legend last start was strong and a repeat will see him in the mix. Next best, #2 Lucky Year, who finished alongside Midnight Rattler and California Whip last start. He looks well served by Jack Wong’s seven-pound claim.
RACE 4: THE PURVES QUAICH
#8 Forever Posh has his second run for Richard Gibson here, having previously been with Tony Cruz. By all reports, he has been working well on this surface. He is drawn ideally with Chad Schofield taking the ride, and with natural improvement, he can challenge here. #11 Five Stars Agent won nicely on speed two back, but was awful last time out. It was a wet-slow surface that day and it played inconsistently, so perhaps it is worth forgiving him that effort and expecting improvement now that Kei Chiong has been replaced by Vincent Ho. #2 Super Talent kept coming last start, but just couldn’t wear down Imperial Seal, going down by a head. He has a more awkward draw this time out but he also looks a horse certain to get a victory before the end of the season. #10 Crown Avenue improved in that same Imperial Seal race last start, enjoying the step up to the extended mile. He can get into the placings this time out.
RACE 5: THE SWAINE CUP
#3 Encore Boy produced one of the more impressive beaten performances of the season when second to Sight Leader last start. He jumped out and led, kicking clear before Sight Leader knuckled down to win by a head. However, they raced almost five lengths clear of their rivals, and Sight Leader did frank the form with his improbable win last weekend. It won’t be easy from gate four but if he gets across to the lead near the outside rail, then he will be hard to beat. Trainer John Size can do no wrong at the moment and he looks to have a nice horse in three-year-old #7 Ivictory. The galloper has had four fairly easy trials but has showed promise and he looks to be another who can add to Size’s win tally as the handler chases the record for most wins in a season. #4 Strathclyde looked to have made significant improvement in his time on the sidelines before he began this preparation, and he hasn’t disappointed. It is only a matter of time before he steps up to Class 3, and he is sure to be in the mix here. Next best, #9 Nice Fandango, who was solid on debut and is sure to have come on for that third.
RACE 6: THE WONG CUP
#1 Agree was out the back and couldn’t make up any ground at his last two starts over the Happy Valley 1650m. He now gets the drop in grade and also looks suited returning to the Sha Tin 1400m with strongman rider Neil Callan taking the reins. He’s worth a play here. #10 Laugh Out Loud has been racing well of late. He is hard to catch, but expect him to be running on strongly late. #5 Empire Star almost joined the longshot winners club at his first start, running Nashashuk to a head at 100-1, before starting even money at his second start under Joao Moreira and running on for fifth. He clearly needs the step up in trip and he looks capable of figuring under Douglas Whyte. #4 Metallic Star finally broke through last start after threatening to get another win on the board for much of the season. He is over his pet course and distance with claimer Jack Wong offsetting the weight rise, and if he gets it soft out in front, he could go back to back.
RACE 7: THE LI CUP
#1 Lucky Wan Feng had absolutely no luck down the straight on debut, blundering badly, but he was able to put that behind him with an impressive win last time out over 1200m. He returns to the straight course here, but Dylan Mo takes 10 pounds off so he only has to carry 123 pounds. He should be able to get into a handy position from gate 11 and he looks the horse to beat here. #4 Lucky Dollar may be the best horse in this race in time. He had looked a promising galloper in Australia, where he was unbeaten when named The States, and his trials were very strong. He ran well on debut in Hong Kong behind Shamal, who led all the way. The major negative here is barrier two, which could make it tough over this course and distance. Still, he’s a chance if he gets any sort of position. #11 Sunshine Universe was short of luck at two starts over the straight 1000m before a lacklustre effort at 1200m last time out. The return to the straight is a plus, as is gate 14 – as long as he can get a run through. #13 Flying Monkey was good off a long lay-off at Happy Valley last start. He only carries 107 pounds with Jack Wong’s claim and he can find his way into the finish.
RACE 8: THE ARCULLI TROPHY
#2 King Genki is yet to win in Hong Kong after being tried as a Derby horse last year. However, he looks likely to win a race or two over the dirt, and this is the first time he has had a top jockey aboard on the surface, with Zac Purton now taking the ride. There are a couple of potential leaders in here, but if he can get into a good position, he will be hard to beat. #11 Top Ace flew home at his first start since September last time out, failing by a short head to grab Good Fit. That was his first run off a bleed, so perhaps he might be unable to replicate that effort here, but if he can, he will be a major contender with only 115 pounds on his back. #10 Giant Stars is so tough to catch, sneaking into the placings when it is least expected. However, at his first run at 1650m this season, he might be one who could grab second or third. #2 Who Dat Singa makes his debut for Manfred Man here after five runs for Richard Gibson. This seems an odd starting point, but he’s a horse with talent so he’s worth throwing in underneath.
RACE 9: THE CHAN TROPHY
#3 Friends Of Nanjing hasn’t been able to repeat his feats from last season, but he’s been honest this season. The move back to 1400m with the addition of blinkers looks a smart one by trainer Benno Yung, and if he can get cover from gate 12, he looks set to break through for his first win this term. #7 World Record has been something of a revelation this season, winning three times and placing four times at his last seven starts over this course and distance. He is sure to hit his mark at some point soon but perhaps he can score another before then. #1 Mighty Maverick was Joao Moreira’s eighth winner when he made history at Sha Tin in March. He returns to Class 3 for the first time since that day with Neil Callan aboard in place of a suspended Moreira. He is some chance. #9 Lang Tai Sing has been better suited over 1200m than the 1400m of this race. However, he is looking in need of more ground, so maybe now is the time to give him a go over this trip again.
RACE 10: THE STEVENSON CUP
#10 Green Energy held his ground well enough on debut at Happy Valley, but really caught the eye running into third at his second start behind Kingsfield two weeks ago. If he has taken another step forward, as can be expected, then he will be a leading player here. #6 Mongolian King is returning from a heart irregularity suffered at Happy Valley in late March. He had looked on the cusp of breaking through before that, so he bears close watching at his return. #13 Wushu Champion is a talented horse, but – put simply – he is a nutcase too. One day, it’s all going to click and he will rise higher than his current 63 rating, but predicting when that time will come is difficult. #3 Lucky Double Eight is racing in great heart at the moment, having finally scored his Hong Kong breakthrough three starts back. He’s a chance yet again.
Form for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's meeting at Sha Tin on Saturday.
The 10 race broadcast commences at 3.00pm AEST, 1.00pm HKST, on Sky Racing2, from 5.00pm AEST on Sky Racing1 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.