This Saturday sees a competitive 10-race card from Sha Tin on both the turf and dirt tracks getting underway at 6.00am. The feature of the meeting is Race 9, The Class 2 Alnwick Handicap (10.10am) over 6 furlongs on the dirt track, which sees a field of twelve runners line up to contest a valuable pot of over £200,000.
The latest edition to the riding ranks, Harry Bentley, has his first outing in Hong Kong this weekend with six rides for five trainers including Frankie Lor and Tony Cruz. The 28yo has a short-term contract until the end of the season and will be keen to get amongst the winners from the off.
Now onto this week’s selections.
The Tony Cruz 5yo has been a bit frustrating of late with several decent efforts without winning. However, he hasn’t always enjoyed the rub of the green and it's worth noting connections have booked Moreira for the first time.
Although yet to win at this level, the selection has slipped a few pounds down the handicap and is now only 3lb higher than when winning over course & trip in November.
He draws against the paint in stall 1 and is likely to be ridden from the second half of the field, but there’s a few here who like to get on with it which should ensure we are afforded every opportunity.
The Dennis Yip 6yo doesn’t have the greatest overall record but has relished a recent switch to the dirt track which saw him win over course and trip two back before a very good effort last time out when only collared close to the line.
There are no secrets to the selection, he likes to get out and go from the front, thus the draw in 1 looks ideal and he won't have to work to get across like last time when he was only headed literally 20 yards out.
He goes up 1lb for his latest effort and has the same rider, Alfred Chan, who in claiming 7lb effectively means he runs off the same mark as his recent course & trip success.
The Michael Chang 6yo was seen winning for just the second time last time out, but that was his maiden voyage on the dirt and given the strength of the win, I'd suggest connections would look to keep him to the All Weather going forward where possible.
On that occasion he won by a margin and in the second quickest time of the night of all the races run at Class 4 level and below over 6 furlongs, which in summary means he ran a faster time than six rivals he meets here.
He goes up 7lb for the win but in a shrewd move, connections have replaced a senior rider with Jerry Chau’s 7lb claim and the race maps for the well-bred son of Redoute’s Choice to track the speed from the low draw similar to last time.
REMAINDER OF THE CARD
Regency Poet is yet to win in 16 starts but had a couple of these in behind when runner-up over course & trip last time and Moreira is a first-time booking. Smart Charade continues to plummet down the handicap and has been placed a couple of times this season at a level above this, but his last win was over two years ago. Alloy Star is still a maiden after 14 goes but ran his best race to date when runner-up last time, although that was over 7 furlongs.
MOON PEAKS could be worth a play in what looks a tricky affair. His last two spins over course and distance have netted a win and a placed effort when only beaten a nose. He has a very similar draw to both of those runs; thus, he should be able to grab a spot in mid division, or slightly better, and this looks the type of race that will definitely be won by a horse who has a soft run in transit.
Elon, who was a three-time winner for William Knight (known as Progressive Rating), and Super Win Dragon, who was a twice winner in Australia (known as Ready To Bolt) are both local debutants with a market watch advised. When You Believe ran with plenty of promise when grabbing the bronze at just his third local spin last time and looks shortlist material despite top-weight.
CARROLL STREET was a surprise winner when dotting up on debut over course and trip in December before a decent effort behind an in-form rival when grabbing the bronze at his next start.
We haven’t seen the selection since January with Douglas Whyte sending the 3yo to Conghua for a freshen up. He’s been tuned up for this with a recent trial win and in what is an intriguing contest the draw in 9 looks ideal.
Awe is the class dropper and should be respected in the grade given he won at a level above this last season (7 furlongs) and with Jerry Chau’s claim is effectively 14lb better off. Exaltation picked up three silver medals on the bounce earlier this year, but needs plenty of pace as he’s an out and out closer. Ezra has been placed three of his last four including last time out when he had a few of these, including the selection, in behind.
JOYFUL HEART has run with plenty of merit at his last two starts since dropping back down to this level. He didn’t have a lot of luck from a high draw last time when snagged back to the tail before running through the line strongly to finish 4th.
Purton, who takes over, will be able to sit nearer the speed from the good draw this time around. All three career wins have come in this grade and although his last couple of wins have been over 7 furlongs, he definitely enjoys further these days.
Double Take carries a 5lb penalty for his latest success, which sees him on a career high mark, but he’s won two of his last four and looks shortlist material despite top-weight. Crown Avenue is consistent and has won off higher marks but is seen to better affect over 9 furlongs.
Unite Spirit has been placed his last two over course & trip but Moreira jumps off. Lady First has a better draw than when placing here last time after a tough commute and did win over course & trip in January.
EL VALIENTE is still a maiden but has low mileage on the clock and looks progressive given he has run his two best races at his last couple of spins. Last time out he came from off the pace and looked all over the winner before being chinned right on the line.
Although they will most likely look to cover him up, I suspect they will sit a lot closer from the low draw, and from the foot of the weights with Moreira sticking solid, the 4yo son of Savabeel looks the sensible play.
Charge On drops back to a level he is a two-time winner at but he does have a tricky draw. Flying Sword is another class dropper and could surprise at his first spin at this level. Zone D is a promising type who should get a good tempo to suit his late closing style.
Mercurial ran with plenty of promise when placed at his first go on the dirt last time and is drawn to get a favourable spin toward the lead.
SPEED FAY FAY is a bit of a swing here in that we have never seen him on the All-Weather; however, the Benno Young 4yo has trialled strongly on the dirt track a couple of times and looks a major player if converting his turf form.
The selection has won two of his last four starts over todays trip and the race maps for him to park up behind the leaders from the low draw. Connections have gone with a claim for the first time which effectively means the selections runs from 1lb below his latest winning mark.
Kurpany has been in great heart of late and arrives here with an 8lb penalty for an impressive success last time but does go onto the dirt for the first time. Golden Dash is a three-time winner over 6 furlongs but is yet another who tries dirt for the first time but Purton, who has been on top three times for two wins, is booked for the first time this season. Amazing Chocolate won with the selection in second when last seen on the dirt but is on 8lb worse terms.
WILL POWER is a quality dirt performer having won five of his 10 starts on the track. He was placed on the turf in behind Kurpany last time, who he meets on a massive 15lb better terms, not to mention his preferred surface.
He does go off top-weight, but with Jerry Chau’s claim he is effectively running from a mark below his last two placed efforts and now that he returns to the dirt, he should take plenty of holding out.
Moeraki has been in decent form of late on the dirt but is unplaced all eight runs on the turf. Perfect To Great is lightly raced with plenty of upside and although yet to win locally, has shown a bit of improvement lately and Purton is a first-time booking.
Trust Me won at his penultimate start and is a four-time winner but never beyond 6 furlongs. Excellent Chariot has won two from 3 starts at Sha Tin but steps up to 7 furlongs for the first time.
JUNEAU PARK disappointed last time out but without trying to make too many excuses it was one of those races where nothing made up any ground and the race shape barley changed from top to bottom throughout with the leaders dominating.
Prior to that, he had run with plenty of merit in two defeats where he was running on over 6 furlongs. He steps back up to 7 furlongs, which all three wins have been over, and he looks worth a second chance at this trip.
Saturday’s Palcepot will be races 5 through to 10. All up we will be playing 81 combinations (3x1x1x3x3x3), which will cost £8.10 for a 10p stake and so on. Good luck.
LEG 1 - 1 DOUBLE TAKE 2 LADY FIRST 10 EL VALIENTE
LEG 2 - 4 FLYING BONUS
LEG 3 - 7 GALLANT LEGACY
LEG 4 - 2 FLYING SWORD 3 SPEEDY FAY FAY 6 MERCURIAL
LEG 5 - 1 WILL POWER 4 KURPANY 5 AMAZING CHOCOLATE
LEG 6 - 1 PEREFCT TO GREAT 4 JUNEAU PARK 11 EXCELLENT CHARIOT
Tim's Best Bets:
7.00am SHA TIN
PARTY EVERYDAY (EW)
8.35am SHA TIN
FLYING BONUS (NB)
9.05am SHA TIN
GALANT LEGACY (NAP)