The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, July 6th, 2020:
RACE 1 CASTLE PEAK BAY HK $850,000
Griffin - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:09.52 Standard Time: 1:10.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.80
Winner: CHANCHENG PRINCE (USA 3yo g Carpe Diem – Bliss) is just too professional for them, he does everything perfectly while other run greenly. Joao Moreira bounced him out to lead and he kicked away to win easily before the runner-up finally got going and made it interesting late. That’s win two plus three placings from five starts as a Griffin this term, a really strong start to his racing career.
Runner-up: ENCHANTING START trailed the winner but lost his rhythm after turning for home and wanted to lug in toward the rail before Zac Purton finally got him balanced up again. Big final 200m dash to run the winner close at the end. This horse has a bright future, can really gallop.
Run Of The Race: ENCHANTING START is the horse to follow out of the race as we think towards next season. His dam did win at 2000m and he looks a quality 1400m to 1600m horse. Slick last 400m in 21.81.
Disappointment: SUPER TEN was well backed to worry them today and was disappointing after sharing the pace, fading in the run home.
Comparison: A good half-second under standard and the rail looks the hot spot today on a perfect track again.
Market Mover: SUNNY STAR $7.20 to $5.30, SUPER TEN $4.10 to $3.60
RACE 2 SHA TIN HOI HANDICAP HK $967,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:09.65 Standard Time: 1:09.50 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45
Winner: MORE THAN ENOUGH (NZ 3yo g Dalghar – Worship) improves a tonne on his debut seventh on this track on June 21 for Tiny Cruz and relished the inside barrier to gain a lovely trail behind the leaders under Neil Callan and power to victory. He was imported after four unplaced trials for Robert Hickmott in Australia, the last of those November 2019. He’s a full-brother to recent Hong Kong winner Armor Star, a year older gelding who won for Frankie Lor on May 24 at Sha Tin over 1400m. It seems possible the brothers could well clash in the new season.
Runner-up: SUPER MISSION was the late mail for punters and they had a very strong look at him, almost getting the job done with a powerful finish from back of midfield but having to bow to the horse with the cheaper run on the fence.
Run Of The Race: COPARTNER ERA scooted home beautifully to run third at huge odds (188/1) and won’t go around anywhere near that price for some time. After five unplaced outings in Class 4 the son of Testa Rossa was not expected to show up but certainly surprised many with this, flying home from last.
Disappointment: At $2.00 MY SUGAR didn’t deliver as expected after some slick trial performances but he looked a little lost in his first race start and will only get better as he goes. Outside leader but really green.
Comparison: Interesting to see the Griffin’s run a shade quicker than the Class 4 horses, quite a muddling tempo this one.
Market Mover: SUPER MISSION $7.20 to $4.80, LUBY RUBY $18.10 to $10.10
Fined & Suspended: Neil Callan (MORE THAN ENOUGH) for careless riding neat the 50 metre mark, fined $35,000 and suspended July 15 race meeting.
Derek Leung and Hay Run, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
RACE 3 KAT O HOI HANDICAP HK $725,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 2200m – Track Good TF
Time: 2:15.42 Standard Time: 2:16.65 Course/Class Record: 2:16.13
Winner: HAY RUN (AUS 7yo g Delightful Choice – Missun) had last won in March 2019 and gains just his second success in 42 starts for Peter Ho. Another to benefit from an inside gate as the previous winner did, he spent little petrol in the first three-quarters of the race and had plenty to offer late after racing much closer than usual. Brave from home turn to the winning post, he angled up three-wide on the corner and kept up a very resolute finish. With a rating of 32 going into the race he should get another crack in Class 5. Interesting to see him bounce off five consecutive races on the all-weather to win on return to the turf track.
Runner-up: FORTUNE PATROL squeezed through to look the winner 250m from home and just failed. Gate three also a plus for him, they really ran along in this and the strong tempo suited both him and the winner from soft gates. Another long-time trier, one win in 35 starts but there will be a Class 5 win there for him soon.
Run Of The Race: SKY GEM should have won. Chequered passage back beyond midfield and strung up in traffic when the front half-dozen snuck away at the 400m. Big bold finish wide and unlucky for it not to be his day.
Disappointment: Favourite ENJOYABLE SUCCESS could not sustain a run today, just too far back and never a threat.
Comparison: A quickly race run in class record time, 1.2 seconds under standard and 0.6 seconds under record time, a very strong clip for the Class 5 gallopers.
Market Mover: SKY GEM $7.90 to $6.00, BRING IT ON $29.30 to $19.50
RACE 4 TATHONG CHANNEL HANDICAP HK $967,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good TF
Time: 0:55.07 Standard Time: 0:56.85 Course/Class Record: 0:55.12
Winner: JOYFUL FORTUNE (AUS 3yo g Nicconi – Sneaky Tsu) jogged in, super impressive an as expected after showing some raw ability at the trials including a trial win on this track. He’s a very good animal, Blake Shinn motionless on the red-hot favourite all the way down the long straight and home in class record time in cruise control. He showed some brilliance in winning two trials for Kim Waugh in New South Wales before his move to Hong Kong. He’s Class 1 sprinter on his way through the grades. Mum won five from 1200m to 1523m and sire Nicconi is of course represented by arguably Australasia’s best sprinter, Nature Strip.
Runner-up: FABULOUS EIGHT gave it everything as always but simply met a horse a class above them. Took the race to him mid-way through but could not stay with the flying chestnut over the final stages. A quiet season, just the six starts culminating in a win and four placings, all at 1000m at Sha Tin.
Run Of The Race: Daylight between the winner and the remainder. A bit to like about CARRY THE DIAMOND on debut running onto fifth and a horse to follow with Richard Gibson
Disappointment: Would not mark one down as disappointing in a class record race chasing a star.
Comparison: Obviously super-quick, JOYFUL FORTUNE did it all on his own and could have run a lot quicker. Staggering to think he could have run close to 54.00 if pushed.
Market Mover: JOYFUL FORTUNE $2.80 to $1.80
Fined: K H Chan (MAGIC SUPREME) $5000 for marking the horse
Joyful Fortune and Blake Shinn (center), picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
RACE 5 RAMBLER CHANNEL HANDICAP HK $967,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – All Weather Track – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.71 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.14
Winner: EIGHT TRIGRAMS (AUS 4yo g Magnus – Demandehere) is the latest of a few runners lately that have managed to win in their first start on the all weather surface. This horse a winner and three times second on the turf track at Sha Tin and debuting on the inside track today. Bounced and led in a very quick opening stoush, kept the momentum going and kicked away to win easily. Race to race double for trainer David Hall who would still be on a high after Joyful Fortune’s brilliant success. Matthew Poon claimed a couple of pounds off his back and was tactically too good for the other jockeys in this. Jim Collett prepared him to trial twice in New Zealand before heading to Hong Kong.
Runner-up: STRIKING MR C hit the line bravely once again from some way off the leader, a nice up in form from him on the dirt track this year, five of his six seasons runs on the track for three wins and this placing. Well graded in Class 4 and very competitive into next season on this track.
Run Of The Race: STRIKING MR C came up very strong sectionally. He did avoid the trouble wider on the track on the turn by sticking close to the inside.
Disappointment: LITTLE THUNDER was waging war early from a wide gate and he paid the price for that, drifting right out to run last at 5/1.
Comparison: They seemed to be going quickly so to be well outside standard time suggested the track is quite deep today.
Market Mover: SUPER ALLIANCES $5.90 to 4.20
Fined: Karis Teetan (SUPER ALLIANCES) $3000 for failing to present himself in the parade ring on time
RACE 6 VICTORIA HARBOUR HANDICAP HK $1,450,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – All Weather Track – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.39 Standard Time: 1:08.70 Course/Class Record: 1:07.40
Winner: UTOPIA LIFE (AUS 4yo g Wicked Style – Camphor) has hit top form on the dirt track in 2020, and with some strong betting confidence around him very late he paid the believers again today. He’s been really consistent on the all weather track with two wins four seconds and a third this season and another of the in-form Manfred Man stable to be running really well. He won for Liam Birchley in Australia as ‘Wicked Ways’ before making his way to Hong Kong. Dam won seven at sprinting distances in country Queensland.
Runner-up: ENSHRINED always looked the late danger off the winners back and came up short after gaining a slit between UTOPIA LIFE and hot favourite SKY SHOW. Brave try, first show of form in five starts for Caspar Fownes. He won two from four at Chelmsford in Great Britain as ‘Fox Coach’ when trained by Marco Botti, both over 1400m on the polytrack.
Run Of The Race: UTOPIA LIFE was there to be grabbed and just would not lie down under the 131lb, the runner up carried 118lb, the third horse 116lb.
Disappointment: At $2.10 SKY SHOW would go down as disappointing despite giving it a good strong crack. He sat outside the winner and could not reel him in. First race start on the dirt and it seemed to be quite trying underfoot. Stay with him.
Comparison: Again, outside standard on a track playing quite slow today.
Market Mover: UTOPIA LIFE $750 to $5.00, SHOUSON $28.40 to $14.30, PRANCE DRAGON $14.20 to $8.90
RACE 7 PORT SHELTER HANDICAP HK $967,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good TF
Time: 1: Standard Time: 1:22.15 Course/Class Record: 1:20.96
Winner: PERFECT PAIR (NZ 5yo g Darci Brahma – Minori Express) is another to win from barrier one today on a good bias to the inside, though the way he won this in a canter it’d be hard to say he wouldn’t have won from any other draw. Purton had him box-seated from the draw and when he produced the horse the impact was instant. Nice type, a slack season though and he needed to lift his game, especially after leaving Class 3 in March and three starts in Class 4 since had been okay without threat. Won consecutive races in 2019 for Chris So, now trained by Jimmy Ting.
Runner-up: MISSION SMART was terrific from second to last, powering home through the middle and superb to beat all the but the winner who had a huge gap on him. His first placing in sis starts in Hong Kong since starting his career. By Smart Missile, a $A125,000 yearling at the Inglis Sale in 2018.
Run Of The Race: VICTORIOUS LEADER was also super good, last in the big field of 14 and very wide on the track to make his run at the top of the straight. Huge finish, clocked in 22.35 (MISSION SMART in 22.44). Both horses terrific. Nice impact in Class 4 after two Class 5 wins this season.
Disappointment: Money came for HANG’S DECISION today but after being left wide in back of midfield the effort was too much.
Comparison: Another Class record, another race where the leaders really scooted, making the runs of the second and third horses even better.
Market Mover: HANG’S DECISION $6.90 to $5.40, PERFECT PAIR $4.70 to $3.50
Bled: MONSTER KAKA
RACE 8 VICTORIA HARBOUR HANDICAP HK $1,450,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – All Weather Track – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:08.98 Standard Time: 1:08.70 Course/Class Record: 1:07.40
Winner: SUNNY BOY (AUS 5yo g Star Witness – Hilton Head) used gate one to full advantage, Zac Purton jumped him out, held the rail and led, from there on in the rest ran for second. Purton had a four-length buffer half-way down the straight and was in control, a nice bounce back to form from the Aussie import who had won one from 10 in Hong Kong before this, and that on the turf track. He’s had to mix it in Class 2 and Class 3 since arriving from the Hawkes stable in Sydney. He ran second at Randwick in the Group 2 2017 Skyline Stakes as ‘Eden Roc’ thus a tough rating. Nice win for the great John Moore who bows out as a trainer in Hong Kong in a couple of weeks; he wins the final dirt track event of the racing season.
Runner-up: ELITE PATCH had twice won on the dirt this season and capped his run for the term with a strong placing, never going to catch the winner but really good working forward to a new season in September. There had been good signs of late again in the drop from Class 2 to Class 3.
Run Of The Race: Nice lift in performance from HALL OF CHAMP, eight starts for no cigar in Hong Kong after arriving a two-race winner from Great Britain at 1400m and a mile. He did win on the poly at Kempton so the dirt form was going to surface at some point. Made up plenty of ground to run into third.
Disappointment: CALIFORNIA CONCORD received a nice trip but looked in trouble coming to the 500m and he drifted out without Karis Teetan pressuring the horse.
Comparison: Outside the standard but a really sharp run from the winner, the fence clearly the place to be on a shifty looking all weather track.
Market Mover: AQUILA $20.10 to $11.10
Fined: Chad Schofield (LE TERROIR) $3000 for failing to declare probable 2lb overweight
Bled: PRECIOUS EXRESS
RACE 9 MIRS BAY HANDICAP HK $967,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1600m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:34.06 Standard Time: 1:34.90 Course/Class Record: 1:33.78
Winner: SO WE JOY (AUS 4yo g So You Think – Soho Secret) just superb in taking win one in Hong Kong for John Moore, a brilliant ride from Moreira to take a run off the corner when others would have baulked. Very strong through the line to win this, the son of former champ So You Think has lifted to a nice new level since some early 1200m contests, now to an obviously best trip at a mile. Plenty to recoup, he was $A575,000 at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale.
Runner-up: CHEVALIER PRINCE powerful wide, some would say not as sharp as he had been, but in retrospect the winner has simply been so good today his run looked a little dour when he really wasn’t.
Run Of The Race: SO WE JOY great, Moreira better. Ran the fastest final two sectionals 800m to winning post, a very good run this.
Disappointment: TELECOM ROCKET came into the race looking well poised but after sitting on the speed he couldn’t go on with it.
Comparison: Well under the standard, this track has raced so well the last month it’s just perfect, albeit favouring the speed from onside gates. This one terrific to win from gate nine.
Market Mover: TELECOM ROCKET $7.30 to $4.40,
RACE 10 TOLO HARBOUR HANDICAP HK $1,450,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:21.34 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.62
Winner: AWE (GB 4yo g Bated Breath – On Her Way) was AWEsome under Zac Purton. He’d won two for William Haggas in Great Britain and saluted at 1400m in a quality race at Newmarket in June 2019 before heading across. Seven starts without placing and things were starting to look a little grim in Hong Kong but the big hint came on June 21 when he powered home from well back to run fifth at 1400m and made his way to the mile today with Purton an important factor. Huge finish, supremely guided as you’d expect, picking paths through centre field from last to arrive at the perfect time and take victory. He is by a sprinting sire out a dam that won three between 2000m and 2200m.
Runner-up: CIRCUIT GLORY also flew home, closer in off a lovely ride from Karis Teetan. The former Group 2 winner in New Zealand as ‘Tavidream’ has never had it easy in Hong Kong but he continues to deliver and a rare visit into Class 3 company agrees with him. Post the season break he will bounce back to winning form.
Run Of The Race: Deadheat with the three runners who all rushed home with huge finishes, AWE, CIRCUIT GLORY, and PICKEN very hard to split, only the photo finish could. PICKEN (22.82) got home faster than any.
Disappointment: RELENTLESS ME sat handy, swept to them to make his move but peaked on the run.
Comparison: They scorched along but most weakened from on-pace apart from a game leader in STAR OF YUEN LONG who kicked hard to hold fourth. This set it up for these back-markers.
Market Mover: PICKEN $15.50 to $9.80
Fined: Chad Schofield (ROMANTIC COMBO) $3000 for failing to declare probable 2lb overweight
RACE 11 YAN CHAU TONG HANDICAP HK $1,450,000
Class 2 – Rating 100-80 – Turf ‘C + 3’ – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:08.32 Standard Time: 1:08.90 Course/Class Record: 1:07.89
Winner: SHINING GEM (AUS 4yo g Makfi – Raneen) produces a stunning burst to mow them down and win, running 21.89 the final 400m in a scorching display to win the second time in his last three starts for Ricky Yiu. Second-to-last on the fence on the turn and picking narrow gaps in the straight to gain clear racing room the four-year-old claimed win four for the season, all trademarked by swift finishes from off the speed. A low of 61 rating points in November, he now vaults beyond 90.
Runner-up: ALL IN MIND had enjoyed a much cosier run in transit and had the momentum up before SHING GEM got running, though he couldn’t withstand the heat late in the race. A strong first season in Hong Kong with a win and five placings from just nine starts after coming from Sydney where he won and the placed in Listed company in just two starts as ‘Deep Sea’ for Mark Newnham.
Run Of The Race: Look no further than the winner, he gave them a big start and a big beating. ARMANDO was tidy from well back and wide.
Disappointment: LUCKY EXPRESS raced a little ungenerously in the front half and skied his head a couple of times in the run. As the $2.40 favourite he was alright, just a way off being that settled racehorse John Size wants him to be and gave Moreira a difficult ride. Of course, he starts off in Class 2 having won the $950,000 Vobis Showdown at Caulfield as a two-year-old in April 2019 as ‘Prince Of Sussex’.
Comparison: Easily under the standard level and knocking on the door of 1:08.00 which is always a terrific run. SHINING GEM broke 22.00 the final two 400m sectionals, rarely seen.
Market Mover: SHINING GEM $24.20 to $16.20, GOLDEN DASH $30.20 to $20.30
Fined & Suspended: Joao Moreira $150,000 and July 15 race meeting for careless riding approaching the 150m mark.
Joy for Blake Shinn with Joyful Fortune, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club