The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin, October 24th, 2020:
RACE 1 WYLIE HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:22.44 Standard Time: 1:22.15 Course/Class Record: 1:21.53
Winner: MONEYMORE (AUS 6yo g Reward For Effort – Just Stunning) flies the David Hayes flag for a second time since the great trainers return to Hong Kong, the second win already this season in Class 5 after success at the beginning of September. As Hayes reacquaints himself with the Hong Kong style this dude has been great in the low grade, another dominant win off a lovely trip middle and one-off the fence under Keith Leung, too powerful when presented into a gap. He was a 22-start maiden when Hayes arrived, now 25 starts and twice successful. He did win a race in Australia, on debut at the Sunshine Coast back in 2017 for trainer Troy Hall.
Runner-up: KA FORTUNE was seen for the first time this season and his effort a strong one after trailing the speed on the fence, sliding through to look a possible winner, bowing late. This horse was transferred from Peter Ho to the stable of David Hall since last racing in July. No success from 10 starts last season and back on a low rating, he looks sure to improve with the run and will be a competitive racehorse in the weeks ahead in Class 5. He was a 180,000 Euro yearling then n-sold for $HK 3 million at the Hong Kong International Sale.
Run Of The Race: GOLDEN GENERAL was terrific. Third-last and a long way from them he was expertly guided through centre field off the back straight by Karis Teetan, interrupted for a run wide when checking off heels and strong out wide to the line. Jimmy Ting has had no real success with the horse in 15 starts prior to today so a nice kick forward from the Kiwi-bred here. Limited, but there is a win in him soon.
Disappointment: GALAXY EMPEROR was below the standard required as a warm favourite, unable to do the job under Joao today.
Comparison: Outside standard after they were only steady up front after settling.
Market Mover: GALAXY EMPEROR $3.30 to $2.60
RACE 2 HAMILTON HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 0:57.45 Standard Time: 0:56.50 Course/Class Record: 0:55.07
Winner: GOKO (NZ 7yo g O’Reilly – Miraculous Miss) loves a straight 1000m dash at Sha Tin, from a career record of five wins – all at the track and distance. He utilised the widest gate of 14 to full advantage today, Antoine Hamelin intent on being first to the outside fence and controlling it, and the plan worked. Interesting to see him so far forward after settling in sixth and 12th position in his previous two starts this season so leading was a major turnaround. Trainer Dennis Yip has enjoyed the success of late with a handy team around him and this horse another to represent him in style. That is eight wins and 18 placings and more than $HK 9 million from just over 50 runners this season for Dennis. He won 26 last season and $HK 26 million so he is well on track to beat that.
Runner-up: ALL THE WAY goes around 228/1 and races like he was a $2.80 chance Huge performance to come from near last, take the inside run in the lower part of the track and make up so much ground. He had run four times previously and never looked likely, a big switch in effort today third up for the season under the guidance of Tony Millard. The Choisir four-year-old was a $70,000 yearling via the 2018 Inglis Classic Sale.
Run Of The Race: ALL THE WAY the best of them by a margin. COMFORT LIFE also really solid from back of middle and down the low part of the track late too.
Disappointment: SPARKLING DOLPHIN may have over-raced a touch up second and sharing with GOKO, petering on his run late in the race. He is a horse to stay onside with given his previous win was just outstanding. Favourite GIVE WAY PLEASE was up handy but the first beaten and rather disappointing.
Comparison: Nearly a full second outside standard which leads us to believe the track is not super quick today at all.
Market Mover: YOUNG VICTORY $21.40 to $8.80, GOKO $7.50 to $5.50
RACE 3 WYLIE HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:22.27 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:21.53
Winner: THE FULL BLOOM (GB 7yo g Zebedee – Break Of Dawn) is another to perform strongly for Dennis Yip in this early part of the season, registering his sixth win in Hong Kong for the in-form trainer, yet some time since his previous success of April 2019. The grey, almost distinctive white, lucky he was not knocked off his feet in a race for spots around the home turn. He was back and wide and caught in a tussle where four runners wanted the same blade of grass and rider Matthew Poon had to bail his way out of that urgently to avoid a real issue. All honours with the horse who picked himself up and powered home wide out to get the money, going one better after a very similar second placing last time around. Rated on just 22 points going into today’s race means he will remain in Class 5 for some to yet. He will win again soon the way he is racing.
Runner-up: RED BRICK FIGHTER was given a peach of a ride by Joao Moreira and would win most Class 5 races on his performance. Moreira saved every inch of ground possible, dived at them when through a gap and came up short. A last start winner coming into this, also over 1400m at Sha Tin, the gelding was rated just 37 points into the race so his turn is again very due in the bottom grade given his position.
Run Of The Race: THE FULL BLOOM was great, gave them a start and a beating and had to overcome that check at the top of the straight to do it. VLAZING PARTNERS also ran into his own troubles in the run and did a good job to finish on into fourth. Unlucky was SHANGHAI DRAGON, flattened twice in the run home.
Disappointment: SHANGHAI DRAGON was knocked from pillar to post in the straight as the $4.10 favourite and must be immediately forgiven.
Comparison: A good four-tenths above the standard and it seems they are not running time today.
Market Mover: SMILING SUCCESS $13.20 to $7.70, GREAT HARVEST $13.90 to $6.50
RACE 4 NELSON HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.85 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45
Winner: COURIER WONDER (NZ 3yo g Sacred Falls – Fabulist) wins like an exceptionally good horse. You would look a long way back to find a more impressive maiden winner than this boy – a spectacular victory that had rider Joao Moreira laughing as went across the finishing line under double wraps. He was a $NZ150,000 yearling purchase, developed to win a lone trial under Robert Hickmott in Australia in March this year. His dam Fabulist (by Savabeel) was a quick mare who won five, so we get some speed from the maternal line, and his half-brother NOWYOUSEE has been a real sprinting performer in Singapore winning seven to date. Incredibly, soon after this win his full-sister ICEBATH would win at Randwick in a real alignment of the stars. Sire Sacred Falls won back to back Doncaster Handicaps in Sydney and was a champion of his time. Ironically, Zac Purton travelled to Sydney to ride him to win both Group 1’s and was on the beaten $1.40 favourite in today’s race. John Size unearths a potential star here.
Runner-up: EVERYONE’S DELIGHT went around cramped odds and expected to be too good for them after success on debut. But they did not know the real ability of the winner. No doubting this horse has class of his own and will continue on the upward spiral for Frankie Lor. He met a potential star today and was not disgraced in running second.
Run Of The Race: COURIER WONDER could be the horse John Size has been looking for. It is not easy to find those freakish racehorses that do things others simply cannot. Size must be wondering how high this horse can reach already. Hello, 22.31 with his head on his chest 400m to winning post – next best 22.89.
Disappointment: For the backers of the $1.40 favourite they must have felt comfortable for three-quarters of the race – until COURIER WONDER went into overdrive. Then that deflated feeling hit them.
Comparison: He galloped four-tenths outside record pace with his head on his chest. On a track that had previously suggested it was on the dead side of good.
Market Mover: EVERYONE’S DELIGHT $1.80 to $1.40
RACE 5 WATERLOO HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:47.62 Standard Time: 1:47.65 Course/Class Record: 1:46.54
Winner: BEAUTY ANGEL (GB 4yo g Dark Angel – Handana) was travelling so sweetly coming off the back straight rider Zac Purton said enough is enough and he was out of the one-one trail and off and gone. From there only one horse would win this race and in doing so ended a reasonable drought for Purton after the champion rider had failed to kick home a winner in the previous three race meetings in Hong Kong, very unusual for him. That is three wins in succession for this UK import, a talented horse Tony Cruz has worked patiently with through the acclimatisation stage to a level where he can handle the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong racing. Stepping to 1800m has been absolute key, each of his three wins coming at this distance since stepping up from 1200m through to a mile. Now borderline Class 3 but that may well help, a light weight and he is going to be really dangerous in the higher grade.
Runner-up: CHEERFUL STAR ran through the line nicely in a much-needed lift in performance. Only the one win from 30 previous starts and quite difficult to follow this horse so a pleasing result for Frankie Lor second up off a spell from 1650m on the all-weather track to the 1800m today. Of note a strong tote push for him here, $15.00 into $8.00.
Run Of The Race: JIMMU ran on nicely from midfield and stuck to his task well up the straight to grab third money. BEAUTY ANGEL was really a margin clear of this field today.
Disappointment: BUNDLE OF ENERGY was coasting along back on the fence and awaiting his call but once into the clear he was really plain today. He was expected to do a lot more off a win and a placing already this term but failed to see it out here. Vetted, blood in the trachea.
Comparison: Bang on the standard and quite even the tempo so no excuses here.
Market Mover: FAMILY LEADER $17.50 to $8.10, CHEERFUL STAR $15.10 to $8.30
RACE 6 FIFE HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:33.54 Standard Time: 1:34.50 Course/Class Record: 1:33.27
Winner: GREAT TREASURE (AUS 9yo g Husson – Russian Belle) has been a decent money spinner for Me Tsui over the years, the now nine-year-old back to winning form as he drops to a very comfortable 120lb with the aid of superstar jockey Joao Moreira. Not a star-studded field it seems, though his performance was actually very good, coming from well back on the fence and Joao again the master in saving ground wherever he could, popping through a gap when it was needed, and finding the sprint to finish it off. Now 71 starts in Hong Kong for eight wins and into his sixth season of racing here after winning two for leading New Zealand trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman in 2015.
Runner-up: PERFECT TO GREAT debuted in Hong Kong on April 26, ran down the track and had not been sighted on race day since. Three trials had him fit and ready and he ran well at long odds, the winner grabbing him late after coming off the fence to hit the front. The former Victorian galloper won on debut at Bairnsdale and went on to place at Moonee Valley and Caulfield before joining the Caspar Fownes stables. A big horse, he’s a son of former Magic Millions winner Unecumbered who was well known for providing the late Nathan Berry with this big-race win.
Run Of The Race: GREAT TREASURE really good from well back in a hotly run race, also PRECISE EXPRESS who carved out some handy sectionals in coming from back on the fence to run third.
Disappointment: FLYING MIGHTY was trapped wide without cover on the speed and looking at the time they ran no wonder he stopped. The heavily backed EASY GO EASY WIN was disappointing, was vetted no findings.
Comparison: Really quick considering what we had seen so far today. A second under standard and rocking towards record speed so certainly a very genuine tempo.
Market Mover: EASY GO EASY WIN $7.50 to $4.00, FLYING MIGHTY $7.60 to $5.60
RACE 7 PITT HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.67 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80
Winner: SUNNY STAR (USA 3yo g Flatter – Suzee Sunrise) was such an impressive debut winner as a Griffin back in April it seemed inevitable he would go on to do a nice job as he joined the main game. First up this season was a good sign, he ran sixth and got through the line strongly from well back over 1200m, indicating he was a horse capable at 1400m or further. And trainer Francis Lui did not wait around to find out, straight to 1400m today and Jerry Chau up to get that golden 10lb off his back. Midfield and seemingly travelling peaches and cream, the diminutive gelding was too swift for them once he was asked to go. Dam won 14 races to 1350m, sire Flatter was a winner to 1800m, so there is an argument there that at least a mile will be achievable for him. Great to see him progress so well in just his fifth start.
Runner-up: MIGHTY POWER looked to be travelling like the winner coming around the home turn and Purton was waiting to let him go. It seemed like he would dash away but soon got on one rein and really did not stretch out accordingly. Solid run but it seems like an opportunity wasted.
Run Of The Race: How about ROBOT WARRIOR out wide. He was great from last at 95/1 – had no friends at all but raced well ahead of those low expectations. Keep an eye out for him. After getting off the bit and being pushed wider on the corner JUDY’S STAR rallied well to run fourth.
Disappointment: ALL FOR ST PAULS was the disappointment today. He was king last start but not here, had a good trip and failed to finish it off with his usual determination.
Comparison: Shade under standard, they never really rocked and rolled here, was quite the sit and sprint sort of race.
Market Mover: CALIFORNIA LEVEE $40.00 to $19.70, VIGOR CHAMP $30.00 to $17.90
RACE 8 BEDFORD HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 0:56.60 Standard Time: 0:56.35 Course/Class Record: 0:54.89
Winner: BALTIC SUCCESS (AUS 6yo g Exceed And Excel – Madam Pedrille) bounces back to his best form with a smart end-to-end victory in using that fast lane out wide to best advantage as Goko had earlier in the day. The son of the former star sprinting filly Madam Pedrille has shown mum’s ability at various stages of his career, and today another highlight of that bloodline. Trainer Danny Shum had him primed third up for the season, Jerry Chau claimed his 10lb and despite a low draw was single-minded in his approach to get to the outside fence. Under siege he was too good for them. The penalty comes in the way of a rise back into Class 2 company and he’s not coped in that grade in the past. A better horse this season, however, no doubt about that. Back from $34 to $23 so a nice result for some.
Runner-up: SPARKLING KNIGHT was sparkling, a few traffic troubles to overcome to find his way through the bunch and his turn of speed was not to be understated after also having to beat a very low draw from gate two, never easy down the straight 1000m at Sha Tin. A total of just seven starts and now into his third season of racing, there have been obvious hiccups along the way for Me Tsui and his team but they are now bearing fruit from the patience shown in an obviously talented galloper.
Run Of The Race: You will want to follow LOBO’S LEGEND and MERIDIAN GENIUS through their campaigns after smart finishes from a long way back, even JOYFUL HEART who was another doing good work from well back. This race will throw out a few winners in the Class 3 sprints to follow in November.
Disappointment: You could say $2.40 favourite GOOD VIEW CLARICO was disappointing, perhaps more dour than normal but hard to knock his endeavours again, raced up on speed and did not throw in the towel.
Comparison: Outside standard. The two straight sprints today both well below the usual quick times down the chute at Sha Tin.
Market Mover: BALTIC SUCCESS $34.20 to $23.70
Suspended: H T Mo (SPARKLING KNIGHT) two days for careless riding over the concluding stages.
RACE 9 DUNDAS HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.61 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.31
Winner: LOCKHEED (GB 6yo g Exceed And Excel – Clinical) is relatively lightly raced and a horse trying to overcome some Issues but quite obviously a talented horse now finding his best form. Trainer Danny Shum has been on his side since he arrived from the UK as a horse three-times placed in Group company. Some 22 starts before this and winless in Hong Kong did not mirror his obvious ability. A sharp start to his season on September 13 when second at Sha Tin behind the classy Sky Field suggested Shum had found something and that transferred into today’s winning performance, an even better horse on track under Zac Purton who guided him through it with a class ride, opting not to draw any wider than needed off the turn, waited for his gap in the middle and took it when presented. No doubt a special win for connections who have been patient with the grey ghost from Great Britain.
Runner-up: KEEP YOU WARM kicked and kicked hard off the corner, held them all at bay apart from the determined bid from the winner. Seeing some consistency in performance from the Irish galloper now, that is two second placings in a row for new trainer Francis Lui who took over from initial tutor John Moore at the end of last season. Riding him right on the speed seems to have altered his mindset and Alexis Badel has even the man on board in making that change, a clever rider.
Run Of The Race: BIZ POWER was the eye-catcher, zipped home very strongly from a long way back in a race-best 22.30 the final 400m to run fourth. Paul O’Sullivan is searching for his maiden success sin Hong Kong, another horse lightly-raced over the last three seasons with just 15 runs but again, some nice consistency from him with two powerful finishes in two starts this term suggesting he’s on his way to the winners list. PING HAI BRAVO was unlucky.
Disappointment: Well supported runner WINNING BREW made his run wide with Biz Power but the former was running away from him over the final 200m.
Comparison: Much more genuine this one, they rolled along in a bit of war and it set things up for a good time.
Market Mover: PING HAI BRAV0 $11.50 to $7.00
RACE 10 ARGYLE HANDICAP HK $2,200,000
Class 2 – Rating 100-80 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:20.79 Standard Time: 1:21.35 Course/Class Record: 1:20.29
Winner: MIGHTY GIANT (NZ 5yo g Power – Wanderov) does not know when to quit. What a great horse he is – it is not easy to win races in Hong Kong and he secures his fifth in a row in taking this out, holding quality horses at bay in his refusal to give an inch. Zac Purton put him where he likes to be in that front handful, actually a place further back than usual in the one-one though ready to strike. He was the first to go and ultimately first home, class gallopers of the ilk of Sky Field and Lucky Express unable to worry him out of it. Big in stature and obviously huge in heart, this Kiwi-bred is real beauty and a horse trainer Ricky Yiu now considers good enough to tackle some of the International Classics in December, particularly given overseas runners may find it difficult to attend. He will do the stable proud.
Runner-up: BALLISTIC KING was terrific, travelled up sweetly onto the back of Mighty Giant in the run and peeled to make his run off the corner. Very strong bid to outscore Sky Field and Lucky Express late, an exceptional result in a hot field. Cannot help but win again very soon.
Run Of The Race: WATER DIVINER was the one and only from the back who was able to scoot home and make up the ground on these extreme talents. He nearly broke the 22.00 second mark to dash into fifth from the rear in a sign of good things to come. Francis Lui has him peaking to win at 1400m, this his third up run after two at 1200m to begin the term.
Disappointment: Maybe SKY FIELD, maybe LUCKY EXPRESS? They both came off sits and loomed large to win it at some point but could not finish it off. Cannot knock them, they were beaten by a very good horse, or two, today.
Comparison: Half a second under standard, half a second above record speed. Tells you this was run very genuinely as you would expect.
Market Mover: SKY FIELD $2.70 to $2.00
Mighty Giant and Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club