This Sunday sees a competitive 11-race card from Sha Tin getting underway at 5.30am. The feature of the meeting is the finale, The Class 2 Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (10.45am) over 7 furlongs, which sees a pot of over £200,000 GBP up for grabs.
Wednesday's meeting from Happy Valley saw Karis Teetan take the riding on honours with an 837/1 four-timer when steering Telecom Fighter to victory for Me Tsui in The Class 5 Moreton Handicap. It was the fourth time Teetan has ridden four or more winners on a card during his time in Hong Kong.
Now onto this week’s selections.
No doubt the John Size 3yo is going to be well into the red here, and I do apologise for siding with one so short, but it’s a tough card with few standouts, and I appreciate many people like to find bankers for bets like the place pots etc, and Courier Wonder is easily the most likely winner on the card.
The selection has won two from two and was so impressive when scooting up last time over course & trip that the handicapper has hiked him up another 14lb meaning he has been penalised 28lb in just two starts.
He has more on his plate this time in what looks a slightly stronger Class 3 than he last contested, but he won by a big margin with Moreira barley moving a muscle and the form was well and truly franked (not that it needed to be) with the runner-up subsequently winning.
The Chris So 6yo arrives in cracking form with a couple of victories before picking up the silver medal behind a promising type last time out. That was over 10 furlongs and given his run style, not to mention his last four wins have all been over 8-9 furlongs, the drop back in trip is a big plus.
The selection had four of these in behind last time, and this race is likely to set up in very similar fashion with Pakistan Friend on the front without having to go to quickly.
There are a few here who arrive in decent shape, but the selection goes from the foot of the weights and should take plenty of catching over this trip if reproducing recent efforts.
The Frankie Lor 4yo was a two-time winner for Roger Varian when known as Establish, and won over the mile here two back when having just his third local spin.
The form will show he finished 9th last time, but he was planted wide the entire trip and the race was dominated by the leaders with the selection finishing in a bunch of horses behind the first two.
He is probably better suited to the mile, but there’s plenty of pace here which should afford those ridden in the second half of the field every opportunity. He will need some luck as he will be at the back, but with a softer commute and if he gets the breaks when he needed, he could easily surprise at what should be a decent price.
REMAINDER OF THE CARD
In a race for young debutants, a market watch is strongly advised. The 3yos (Northern Hemisphere bred, horses 1 through to 5) concede 5lb to the 2yos (Southern Hemisphere bred, horses 6 through to 10). Chiu Chow Warrior, Turbo Power and Cheval Valiant have all won at the trials.
SUPER KINGDOM will be the selection but it goes without saying that given the nature of the contest it would be positive to see some support for the Tony Millar youngster.
He’s only been seen once at the trials and wasn’t asked to do a lot when finishing in third spot. He moved nicely that day and was passed to race after just one trial.
He has a solid enough pedigree with the sire having produced four winners (including the brilliant Rapper Dragon) from nine runners in Hong Kong.
Along with the selection, horses 2-3-4-5 are all class droppers and land in a Class 5 lacking any notable form. Viva Mama has been showing plenty of speed recently and Moreira is a first-time booking. One Step Ahead, who is still a maiden after 17 spins, has been consistent of late, but tries the minimum trip for the first time.
MAJESTIC CONQUEROR is one of five class droppers and although he’s yet to win in 10 starts, he has run with a bit of promise on several occasions. The selection has only had the two starts over the 5 furlongs and both performances, especially last time when he placed behind two horses who have subsequently won three of their four starts between them, would make him very hard to beat at this level.
He has to lug co-top weight, but he looks well drawn and this is the weakest race he has contested to date.
Horses 3-5-6-7 are all class droppers who need to find some form. Winners Heart met with support when runner up last time which was his first spin at this level, but he jumps from 5 furlongs to 7 furlongs in a move that doesn’t look obvious. Galaxy Emperor won over course & trip two back and with Jerry Chau claiming 7lbs, is now effectively 2lb better off.
VICTORIOUS LEADER bare form looks ordinary, but he’s had a terrible run with high stalls and has finally drawn a decent gate. The selection was a two-time winner last season, the second of those wins coming from a 5lb higher mark, and this is well within his scope.
They’ve had to snag him back to the tail of the field at his last few runs, but they should be able to ride him closer to the speed here.
Happy Good Guys and Poised To Strike are both class droppers with the former being the pick of the pair given he won when last seen at this level from this mark, although all three career wins have been at Happy Valley.
Take What You Need is yet to record a local win after 19 starts but picked up the bronze behind a promising type last time when having his first spin at this level. Along with the selections, horses 6-7-8-10 are all debutants.
HUGE TIGER is a debutant who has been to the trials twice for two wins. Whilst it can be difficult to gauge just how strong the trial form is, the bottom line is he looks above average and those types tend to make short work of their introduction mark of 52.
The selection is well drawn toward the grandstand rail and Purton, who was on board for his latest trial (5 furlongs, Happy Valley) success, is a notable booking.
Almighty Pegasus and Victory Scholars are both debutants with the latter a recent trial winner, although Purton, who rode him that day, has looked elsewhere. Devine Era picked up the bronze at just his second start last time and should be sharper for the run. Branding Power has been placed two from 4 starts and looks a definite player with Purton a first-time booking.
RHAPSODY makes his return to racing having pulled up with an irregular heartbeat after a disappointing run when last seen in November. However, the John Size 4yo won over course & trip two starts prior that, which was just his fourth time to the races, and the runner-up has subsequently won twice, including in a grade above this, thus the form has a nice shape to it.
The selection looks short list material if ready for a first up tilt, which is likely given he has won a couple of recent trials.
Green Reign and Universal Hero are the class droppers with the former the pick of the pair given he has been placed six times at a level above this. Redbrick Flyer had a horrid commute last time that is best forgotten, and is shortlist material on his previous form, although may need some luck from the high draw.
Winwin Thritythree goes up in grade under a 7lb penalty for winning last time but is yet to be successful in twenty spins at this level.
MY ECSTATIC is a low mileage well-bred 4yo from the Frankie Lor yard who has run with some merit in defeat recently. Last time out he sat on a hot pace to finish 4th in a race that was dominated by the back markers. That was his first try over this trip and he’s entitled to improve further for the run.
He has drawn high again, but he has plenty of early boot, and got across easily enough last time, and hopefully that will be the case again.
Master Hero was runner-up over course & trip behind a smart type last time and should get the run of the race from the 1 gate. Plikclone hasn’t been outside of the top four in six runs this year, which includes two wins, but is yet to score at this level.
Green Envy has been very consistent in what has been a busy season, but is another yet to win at this level. Everyone’s Delight was doing his best work late last time but once again has drawn high.
DANDY YEARS won over course & trip two back at just his fourth start before picking up the silver medal last time behind an in-form rival who made all and has subsequently gone in again.
The selection has what looks an ideal draw in 3 and the race maps for him to park up behind the leaders in a race that shouldn’t be run at anything more than an honest tempo, and Purton sticks solid.
Fantastic Treasure will be a worthy favourite having won both starts, the latest of those in emphatic fashion, but he has been hit with a 14lb penalty which sees him in a higher grade over 7 furlongs for the first time, and at the likely prices I've decided to look for some value.
Lewis was a four-time winner in Australia for Chris Waller and has shown enough in a handful of local starts to suggest he’s up to this level, but meets a couple of smart types. True Legend has had some tough draws recently but has finally had a bit of luck with a low gate and looks the likely leader.
BEAUTY FIT looked smart when winning both starts in Australia (known as Barocha) before a luckless local debut when picking up the bronze medal. It would be a stretch to say he should have won, but he was slow out of the gates, and met some traffic issues with the vet reporting after the race he had sustained a laceration to his hind right heel.
That was his first try at this trip and he ran through the line strongly enough. He’ll strip fitter, and provided he jumps cleanly, he will sit closer to the speed and should represent a bit of value against the favourite.
Sunday’s Tote Placepot will be races 4 through to 9. All up we will be playing 72 combinations (2x2x3x2x1x3), which will cost £7.20 for a 10p stake and so on. Good luck.
Sunday’s Placepot will be races 6 through to 11. All up we will be playing 54 combinations (3x3x1x1x2x3), which will cost £5.40 for a 10p stake and so on. Good luck.
LEG 1 - 1 GREEN REIGN 4 MY ECSTATIC 10 RED BRICK FIGHTER
LEG 2 - 1 MASTER HERO 3 DANDY YEARS 6 PLIKCLONE
LEG 3 - 2 COURIER WONDER
LEG 4 - 12 PAKISTAN FRIEND
LEG 5 - 3 BEAUTY FIT 5 FANTASTIC TREASURE
LEG 6 - 1 NOT USUAL TALENT 3 SUPER WEALTHY 10 FLAGSHIP GLORY
Tim's Best Bets:
9.05am SHA TIN
COURIER WONDER (NAP)
9.35am SHA TIN
PAKISTAN FRIEND (NN)
10.45am SHA TIN
FLAGSHIP GLORY (EW)