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The Davis Files - Sha Tin

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, September 26th, 2021:

Race 1 – Wa Fu Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:08.64 Standard Time: 1:09.70 Course/Class record: 1:08.64 Iron King

Winner:  IRON KING (NZ 6yo g Ferlax – Gatestopper) was cleanly into stride and was able to sit just off the speed in fifth position. He travelled well in behind the speed and had plenty of galloping room in the duration of the 1200m event. Zac Purton was able to stroll into the middle of the track and amble up to the leaders, asking for an effort with 300m to go. He sprinted well when Purton pushed the button, shooting to the lead and pulling away over the concluding stages to win in fine style by 3-3/4 lengths.

Runner-Up:  GOLDEN MISSION jumped well and was caught wide in the early stages before pushing on to sit outside the leader with 850m to go. The speed was hot through the early and middle stages of the race, but he was able to grab a quick beather as they turned for home and he travelled well into the home straight. 

Run Of The Race: IRON KING demolished the course/class record by over half a second in a scintillating display. He lobbed in a lovely spot and was suited to the fast pace of the race, but then exploded down the centre of the track. He looks ready to add to his tally this season.

Disappointment: SHANGHAI POWER used a lot of his energy to get across and lead and was responsible for the fast pace set through the early and middle stages. The fast pace cost him in the latter stages of the race, fading away from the 300m point to finish a distant tenth. A veterinary examination after the race failed to find any abnormalities.

Comparison: A new course/class record, smashing the old time.

Market Mover: GOLDEN MISSION was crunched late in betting, halving his quote to jump as a $5.40 chance.

Race 2 – Fuk Loi Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – All Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.43 Standard Time: 1:08.60 Course/Class record: 1:07.49 Dehere’s The Love

Winner: ELON (GB 4yo g Bated Breath – Foxtrot Alpha) jumped well from the outside barrier but Vagner Borges elected to restrain the gelding after the start, settling at the tail of the field in the three-wide trail. He was 7.75 lengths away from the leaders as they straightened but was travelling well into the home straight. He responded immediately to Borges’ urgings, sprinting well and weaving his way through traffic but was still many lengths behind the breakaway leader with 200m to travel. He continued to charge home, catching and passing the leader with 25m to go and running on to win by a neck.

Runner-Up: NORTHERN DRAGON was another who broke away well from the barriers but was eased back to obtain cover in the early stages. He continued to drift back during the middle stages after ending up four-wide and without cover. Dylan Mo put the gelding under pressure as they straightened as he came to the outside of the field. He continued to eat up the ground over the last 200m and charged into second position, with the winner just finishing the better.

Run Of The Race: It’s hard to go past ELON as the run of the race. He had no right to win the race, but he exploded over the final 400m to claim victory.

Disappointment: READY TO WIN was on debut in Hong Kong but finished last after starting in the market at $8.30. He settled well in the run, sitting just off the speed but came under pressure a long way from home. He didn’t respond to Matthew Poon’s riding, falling out to finish last, beaten 14 lengths. 

Comparison: A very slow time, nearly a second outside the standard time. 

Market Mover: INVINCIBLE MISSION was the one punter’s backed late in betting, shortening to jump as a $6.50 chance.

Race 3 – Shun Lee Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.54 Standard Time: 1:21.75 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Winner: GOLDEN BOLT (GB 4yo g Kingman – Upper Street) broke well from the outside stall and was sent forward by Jerry Chau. He was forced to use up plenty of petrol tickets to get the lead and after sitting wide for the majority of the opening stanza, he was able to cross to the outright lead with 800m remaining. Once he got to the lead, he was able to catch a breather around the turn and travelled into the straight under a strong hold. Chau said “go” with 350m to go and the gelding dug deep, fighting off his rivals and get the win in a photo finish, with the official margin being a short head.

Runner-Up: SUNNY DELIGHT jumped fast and was able to utilise his inside draw to settle along the rail. Joao Moreira stalked the leader wherever he went but looked as though would begin to fade out of the race after coming under pressure with 500m to travel. Instead, he found another gear and challenged for the win down the entire Sha Tin straight. He tried his heart out, but he just couldn’t reel in the winner, going down in a photo finish.

Run Of The Race: GOLDEN BOLT was super tough in his win. He overcame the outside barrier to lead and go all of the way to win by the barest of margins. A gritty win, and if he’s able to draw a more favourable gate next time, he could prove very tough to beat once again.

Disappointment: LOYAL BABY was sent out in the market at $8.30, but after settling on the pace he was unable to finish off the race. He travelled into the straight under a hold but quickly weakened out of the race to finish in last position. 

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: SUNNY DELIGHT was $5 when markets opened and was backed into favouritism, jumping at $3. 

Race 4 – Oi Man Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – All Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.12 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.14 Happy Tour 

Winner: THE BEST HERO (FR 4yo g Siyouni – Pertinence) wasn’t the fastest into stride but was able to take advantage of the speed battle up front to improve his position, eventually settling just off the pace. The pace continued to be hot through the middle stages which prompted Alex Lai to put the gelding under pressure with 450m left to travel. He was 3-1/4 lengths off the lead as they straightened, and it took him a while to wind up in the straight, but he was able to catch the leader and get his nose down on the line to win by a short head in a photo finish.

Runner-Up: WHIZZ KID was fast away from the outside barrier but was caught up in a speed battle throughout the race, sitting wide and without cover for the duration of the event. Despite the tough run in transit, he was able to take the lead in the final straight and put a gap on his rivals, but he was just grabbed right on the line by the winner. Another tough performance.

Run Of The Race: WHIZZ KID is the one I want to be following out of the race. He sat up on the speed, was wide without cover and still fought out the finish. The two runners who kept him wide in the run finished over a length behind him and they enjoyed a more economical run. A great performance by Whizz Kid.

Disappointment: FOURAWARRIOR was on the third line of betting at $5.10 but never played a part in the race. He settled in the back half of the field and was under a ride with 500m to go. He didn’t make up any ground in the straight, finishing 8-3/4 lengths away in tenth.

Comparison: Outside the standard time.

Market Mover: SHADOW RUNNER, EVERYONE’S VICTORY and VALIANT ELEGANCE were all well supported late in betting in what was an open betting race.

Race 5 – Kwong Fuk Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:09.35 Standard Time: 1:09.10 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight 

Winner: INFINITE POWER (AUS 6yo g Smart Missile – Hussta La Vista) wasn’t the fastest into stride but was pushed along by Matthew Poon out of the gates, eventually striding forward to settle in the lead along the rail. He settled well out in front and set a good tempo through the middle stages of the race. He was under pressure shortly after straightening and he was even headed by Infinity Win with 200m to go. He looked gone for all money when overtaken, but he lifted himself up off the canvas to fight back and take the lead, along with the win in an outstanding performance. 

Runner-Up: FALCON TURBO broke well and was able to sit on the leader’s back shortly after the start. He got into a nice rhythm around the turn and the gelding travelled well into the straight, aiming for a gap between the leaders which was quickly shut when the outside runner shifted in. Jerry Chau was forced to check slow his momentum and shift to the outside of that runner, he dug in again and picked himself up to charge home, but just miss out on the win in by a short head in a photo finish.

Run Of The Race: INFINITE POWER backers would’ve been ripping up their tickets with 200m to go, but the six-year-old fought back to get the win in a photo finish. A gritty performance which I’m happy to follow up next time he steps out.

Disappointment: INFINITY WIN was able to overcome his wide draw and settle between runners up on the pace. Zac Purton rated him beautifully up on the speed, with the gelding taking the lead with 200m to go and looking like he was going to run away with an easy victory after starting as the favourite. He quickly hit a wall though and despite the urgings of Purton, he lost the lead and finished half a length away in third. Finishing third isn’t the disappointment here, it was the manner in which he ended up in that position which was the disappointment.

Comparison: Outside the standard time.

Market Mover: INFINITE POWER was $11 into $7.10.

Race 6 – Shun Lee Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.33 Standard Time: 1:21.75 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Winner: VOYAGE STAR (NZ 6yo g Guillotine – Next Century) was quickly into stride and was able to cross to the outright lead with 950m to go without having to work too hard. He settled well out in front, despite being challenged during the middle stages of the race. He travelled into the straight under a strong hold and was able to keep a space between him and his rivals before Alex Badel pushed the button with 300m to travel. He didn’t quicken as well as expected and was forced to fight his way to the win, getting in by a short head in a photo finish.

Runner-Up: BREEZE OF SPRING was away fairly but was caught three-wide in the early and middle stages of the event, settling in about midfield. Joao Moreira was forced to then pull out even wider on the track with the runner in front of him weakening with 500m left to travel. He travelled well into the straight and built-up good momentum to go up and challenge the leader with 150m remaining. He tried hard but he just couldn’t get his nose in front, going down by a narrow margin.

Run Of The Race: BREEZE OF SPRING is the one I want to follow out of this race. He was caught back in the field and was forced to make a sustained run into the straight. A good performance under the standard time.

Disappointment: SHINING RED was sent out on the third line of betting at $7.90 and after being in a prominent position in the run, he faded out to finish in eighth position. It was only his second race start so I’m happy to forgive him this time but would like to see more out of him at his next outing.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: as much as $9.50 was offered for VOYAGE STAR when markets first opened, with the bottom-weight well supported, jumping as a $4.90 chance.

Race 7 – The Celebration Cup (Handicap), HK $3,700,000

Group 3 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:20.48 Standard Time: 1:21.00 Course/Class record: 1:20.05 Beauty Generation

Winner: BUDDIES (AUS 6yo g So You Think – Gladwell) was fast into stride and was able to take an uncontested lead without using too much energy. He settled well out in front, getting into a nice rhythm and keeping the field running along at a good pace. He kicked away at the top of the straight to lead by three lengths with 300m left to travel and the gap was big enough, with the field unable to chase him down as he kept on running to win by 0.75 lengths. A well-rated ride out in front by Matthew Chadwick to win the Group Three feature. 

Runner-Up: TOURBILLON DIAMOND got away cleanly from the inside draw and was able to utilise that draw to settle just off the pace in fifth position. He travelled into the straight under a hold and had to duck back toward the rail to obtain clear running in the early part of the straight. He tried his hardest, but he ran out of time to reel in the winner. Another Group placing for the gelding who has returned in good order this campaign.

Run Of The Race: BUDDIES just kept running and didn’t look back. Matthew Chadwick said after the race the six-year-old was suited to the firming surface and that showed, running the rest of the field off their feet to claim the feature race on the card.

Disappointment: I was expecting more out of SOUTHERN LEGEND. He carried 3.5Kg more than any other runner, but he is a multiple Group One winner. He found himself a bit further back in the field and didn’t make up much ground in the straight. He will build off this run, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment, but there was not too much to get excited about for his next run.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: TOURBILLON DIAMOND $8 into $5.50.

Race 8 – Fu Tai Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:08.56 Standard Time: 1:08.90 Course/Class record: 1:08.29 Dublin Star

Winner: PACKING VICTORY (NZ 4yo g Reliable Man – Espresso Cavallo) was a bit slow into stride and was pushed along by Zac Purton in the early stages to improve his position. He was able to muster well and settle on the leader’s back, before striding up to sit on the outside of the leader with 750m to run. He travelled well into the straight and quickened nicely when Purton asked for an effort at the top of the straight, putting a length between him and his rivals. He was tiring late in the race and was challenged by his rivals, but clung on for a close victory, keeping him undefeated with the official margin being a neck.

Runner-Up: FIVE ELEMENTS was brilliant in his debut run in Hong Kong. After finding a position behind the leading division, he settled well under Joao Moreira and was travelling well behind the leaders. The three-year-old was in a spot of bother with about 300m remaining, with plenty of traffic around him as Moreira tried to find a way into clear air. Once into the clear he knuckled down and tried his heart out to catch the heavy favourite but ran out of time. 

Run Of The Race: FIVE ELEMENTS was superb in his Hong Kong debut and looks to have a bright future in the jurisdiction. With more clear air at his next start, a win looks well within his grasp. 

Disappointment: There were no real disappointments in the race, but I would have expected IMA SINGLE MAN to finish closer than he did. Despite this, he found trouble in the straight and was able to pick himself back up after that. Big forgive run in this race, which may turn out to be a great form reference in the weeks to come.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: PACKING VICTORY $2 into $1.40.

Race 9 – Hing Man Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.37 Standard Time: 1:21.45 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

Winner: MASTER HERO (NZ 5yo g Savabeel – Eudora) broke well from a wide gate and sat wide without cover for some time before Joao Moreira pushed on to take the lead with 850m remaining. Moreira slowed the pace between the 800m and 400m before kicking away at the top of the straight when placed under pressure with 350m to go. He kept finding to hold off the fast finishing second placegetter, giving Joao Moreira his first win on the card.

Runner-Up: UNCLE STEVE wasn’t the fastest into stride and Jerry Chau elected to ease back and cross to the rail in the opening stages, settling at the back of the pack. Chau began to improve his position as they rounded the home turn but found stuck behind a wall of runners early in the straight and was only able to ask his mount for an effort with 250m to go. He then had to dodge another runner passing the 150m mark, before he exploded over the concluding stages to run into second position.

Run Of The Race: UNCLE STEVE really let rip over the final 100m but just ran out of time to reel in the winner. With a clearer run in the straight, who knows what could have happened. His racing pattern means he’ll find trouble more often than not, but I’m happy to be in his corner when he can have an unimpeded run down the straight.

Disappointment: PROUD DRAGON settled off the pace after jumping as a $6.30 chance. He enjoyed a lovely run in transit and appeared to be travelling well into the straight, but didn’t offer much in the straight, finishing 4-1/2 lengths away in eighth position.

Comparison: Just inside the standard time.

Market Mover: GOLFMAN STAR was well found late in betting, being backed at long odds and trimming right up to jump as a $25 chance with as much as $50 on offer earlier in the day.

Race 10 – Woodpecker Handicap, HK $2,400,000

Class 2 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:08.22 Standard Time: 1:08.55 Course/Class record: 1:07.89 Thanks Forever

Winner: TRILLION WIN (NZ 5yo g Proisir – One Swanstonstreet) provided somewhat of an upset in the final event on the card. He was fast away from the gates and mustered well under Alex Badel and settled on the leader’s back as the left the back straight. Badel was forced to check off heels at the 800m pole, but he was able to get him to settle again and travel nicely around the turn, moving one off the rail to give himself options as they entered the straight. He tracked the leaders into the straight before popping off their back’s with 250m to go and he sprinted well. He caught and passed the leader and pulled away over the final stages to win in fine style by 1-1/4 lengths. 

Runner-Up: Many expected NABOO ATTACK to ‘just win’, but he turned in an enormous run under the top weight. After being only fair out of the barriers, Zac Purton elected to settle near the back of the field. He travelled nicely around the turn and into the straight, but he was forced to try and weave his way through traffic the whole way down the straight. He tried his heart out but just had too much work to do in the straight, but it was a fantastic run nonetheless.

Run Of The Race: It may be quite obvious, but NABOO ATTACK was clearly the run of the race in my eyes. He stormed home from the back of the pack and under a big weight. He looks primed and ready to tackle some bigger races now.

Disappointment: KILLER BEE was expected to be up and challenging for the win. Instead, he finished in seventh position, beaten 4-1/2 lengths. Joao Moreira could not offer any explanation to the gelding’s performance, he too telling stewards he was disappointed in his effort.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: IGNITING, TRILLION WIN and WINNER METHOD were well tried late in betting.

Buddies and Matthew Chadwick, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

 

 

                  
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