Brett Davis - Selections - Sha Tin - 24/5/20
The Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup highlights Sunday’s 11 race card from Shatin with all races to be conducted on turf. The rail returns to the A or true position for Hong Kong’s 12th and final Group 1 race of the current season.
Local legend Tony Cruz has an outstanding record training six of the last seven winners, with John Moore runners only a few steps behind on many occasions. Together the two greats rivals today saddle up the entire field, being the only two trainers represented.
John Moore shall no doubt be pondering a dream Group 1 finale to his long distinguished training career in Hong Kong, as he prepares to bring down the curtain when compulsory retirement is soon enforced.
Tony Cruz, however, saddles up the likely favourite Exultant who finished 2nd in 2018 behind the mercurial Pakistan Star. He atoned in 2019 when starting 1.5 favourite and in the process notched up his third Group1 win that season. Amazingly, in any other year he would have been rewarded with Horse Of The Year honours, but the champ Beauty Generation made that an impossibility remaining undefeated from eight starts that season.
On Sunday Exaltunt shall once again launch his attack on another Horse Of The Year title, with victory and a second Group 1 this season, likely to give those deciding at least something to think about. Realistically it is a title he may never win but thoroughly deserves.
The griffins step up from the 1000m to the 1200m and we see the addition of another three youngsters joining in for their debut. Ironically this race last year was won by Aethero, who cantered up after leading all the way in his second career start defeating the now very handy Farhh Above, and last weekend's winner Judy’s Star finished third.
#1 Sunny Star was enormous winning on debut by giving most of these rivals a start and a beating. He was squeezed out the gates having no idea what he was doing, was held up badly when searching for the run to win, thereafter putting pay to the opposition in a twinkling. It was an incredible win based on purely raw ability. Since then he’s been given plenty of time to recover and quietly trialled leading in, just to remind him why he’s there.
#2 Chancheng Prince was fair on debut but improved sharply second start. The step up to the 1200m and meeting the same opposition slightly better at the weights, along with gate one today, give him a strong chance of turning the form around on the other's. He needs to further improve again but I would expect him to develop into a nice horse in time.
#7 Like That also improved noticeably from his his first up run in April to win at his second start, dialling out a very quick 21.80 final 400m.
He’s well placed from the draw to continue on his winning way but is in receipt of a weight penalty for that winning performance. It might not be enough to stop him winning again as he looks a progressive type better suited over further ground.
#6 Smiling Face shall bounce well and put himself in the game early. If the others are making mistakes allowing him latitude around the 1200m bend, he is going to give a big sight.
#5 Sea Monarch led then tired on debut but is likely to strip fitter with that under his belt, he would have to improve out of sight though to be winning.
Selections : 1,2,7,6,5
R2 - 6,13,2,4,14
R3 - 2,13,4,10,9
#2 Thanks Forever has had a marvellous season winning a Class 2 in November, then accumulating almost 9 million HKD in prize money with multiple Group 1 placings thereafter. He has drawn perfectly which entitles him to camp on the speed in the run, from there, if he is going to be Hong Kong’s next best sprinter he should be overpowering to the line.
#1 Hot King Prawn is the best galloper pound for pound according to the handicappers on his mark of 126. He has been consistent at a high level for seasons now and unless there is a surprise he will lead and take all the running down.
#4 Big Party delivered some incredible sectionals in the first half of the season, in the process collecting a Group 3 victory over 1000m back in December. Since then following a 10 week break he has returned a rung below that level and has some what struggled, but do not be surprised as he does possess the capabilities to win, if he can produce his best.
#7 Waldorf looks out of his depth on ratings but credit where it is due, he has gained plenty of admirers over the last 12 months with fast finishing and gritty wins.
#3 Wishful Thinker was another 12 months ago that promised so much. Unfortunately he has been a few lengths inferior to that of his best since returning from Dubai in 2019.
Selections : 2,1,4,7,3
R5 - 4,10,6,1,12
R6 - 9,10,8,3,14
R7 - 1,5,4,7,9
#1 Exultant as already discussed is on the verge of a second Champions and Chater and a another little crack at the coveted Horse Of The Year title.
With the race at set weights over the 2400m he is on paper the stand out selection. If he is to be vulnerable for any particular reason it may be that he has been up a long time, and now on the downward spiral of his campaign. Zac Purton did suggest after the QE 11 Cup that due to the tactics of the race he stretched Exultant to an area of vulnerability of the final 200m, but his greatness got him over the line. That performance in review was a gut buster and repercussions may raise there head causing concern when today’s fight is there to be won.
#7 Savvy Nine confirmed his class last outing by chasing hard all the way to the line. Always giving the impression of a high quality four-year-old from the northern hemisphere, today’s test at set weights shall be a fascinating watch. This examination may arrive a fraction to soon although he is a cracking proposition going forward and might just stand up big time.
#2 Furore the Derby winner in 2019 has not won a race since that memorable day in March last year. All throughout the current season he has been competitive without brilliance, until February when he changed stables. Since arriving in the Cruz yard he has taken on a whole new training regime, had the addition of a tongue to the help his breathing and has regained that swagger and class in performance. Although never tried at the 2400m he is all class and looking again on the upward spiral, following the refreshing and mindful stimulation that comes with change.
#5 Chefano showed he can run the trip no problem by leading and winning his last start at Group 3 level in terrific fashion. Today there is strong opposition for pace and he meets rivals on level weights, another big assignment to overcome.
#6 Helene Charisma first ran in this race back in 2017, after arriving a Group 1 winner from France. He has been an underachiever, all considered, but his effort last outing was honest enough and he should at least be competitive, but surely he couldn't... could he?
Selections : 1,7,2,5,6
R9 - 8,1,9,4,10
R10 - 10,3,2,1,5
R11 - 2,3,6,14,13
Form for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Champions and Chator Cup meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The 11 race broadcast commences at 2.30pm AEST, 12.30pm HKT, on Sky Racing2, from 3.00pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and from 5.35pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and Thoroughbred Central.
ThoroughbredNEWS has live streaming of the complete Hong Kong Jockey Club broadcast commencing at 2.00pm AEST - go to LIVE STREAMING.
Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service, neurals, worksheet and customised form guide.
Click on the HKJC form guide banner for Racingandsports.com form and select race.
Exultant and Zac Purton race in the Group 1 Champions & Chater Cup, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club