The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, March 7th, 2021:
RACE 1 ONCIDIUM HANDICAP HK$750,000
Class 5 – Rating - (40-0) All-Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Wet/Slow
Time: 1:08.78 Standard Time: 1:09.30 Course/Class Record: 1:08.46
Winner: LUCKY RUBY (AUS) 4yo g Zoustar – Elysian Hera) had to do it tough early from a wide draw under Neil Callan to find the front. Once he did, he relaxed under a comfortable stride before giving a strong kick on the home turn. Considered suspect at the trip, Lucky Ruby ran it right out for a convincing win. Will that give him the confidence to go on for another victory, especially on the all-weather. We shall see.
Runner-up: LITTLE THUNDER found himself in a midfield position on the fence early in the race but Karis Teetan was able to work him out into the clear as the field turned for home. He took a little time to wind up and while at no stage did he look like overhauling the winner, he was able to defeat his fellow rivals with ease. There should be a win coming up for him in this grade soon.
Run Of The Race: Pretty hard to take anything away from the winner LUCKY RUBY, especially after doing it tough early. He had had six previous starts without troubling the scorer. It was also his first outing on the all-weather, a surface he may prefer.
Disappointment: ONE HAPPY STAR was sent off favourite under Zac Purton. He landed in a good spot outside of the runner-up, but was under pressure before the turn. He had clear running throughout, but did not finish the race off and was very disappointing.
Comparison: Race was run inside of standard so form should stack up.
Market Movers: Smart Charade $24 to $15, Supreme Patrol $12 to $6.9.
RACE 2 KALANCHOE HANDICAP HK$1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating - (60-40) All-Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Wet/Slow
Time: 1:08.54 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.14
Winner: MOERAKI (NZ) 4yo g El Roca – Go Kate Go) was given a gun ride by Matthew Chadwick who bided his time on the fence in the early stages. As the leader upped the pressure before the turn, Chadwick drove up on the inside so as not to give the leader too big a break. The tactic work and Moeraki joined the leader at the 300m mark and in a two-horse war he was able to get the upper-hand in the final stages.
Runner-up: MAGIC SUPREME was driven hard to find the lead early. He travelled sweetly in front before ramping it up just before the home turn, setting up a nice advantage. What that did was allowed the winner to travel through and into clear running. A two-horse war was staged for 200m with little between them, but in the end the winner proved too strong.
Run Of The Race: The first two over the line, MOERAKI and MAGIC SUPREME had a clear gap on their rivals over the last 400m. Magic Supreme set a good tempo while Moeraki was able to take full advantage and drive up on the fence. They are clearly the two to follow from the race.
Disappointment: THOUGH SHALL SING maybe had to do a little work early in the race but he found himself in a good spot soon after settling. However, he was under pressure before the turn and while still in fourth spot at the 200m mark, he petered out over the final stages.
Comparison: Time was inside that of standard and not that far short of the class record. The form, especially for the first two, should hold up.
Market Movers: Flying On The Turf $6.3 to $4.3.
RACE 3 CORNFLOWER HANDICAP HK$2,200,000
Class 2 – Rating - (100-80) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 56.37 Standard Time: 56.15 Course/Class Record: 54.69
Winner: PING HAI BRAVO (AUS) 4yo g Red Dazzler – Mountain Bluebird) was brave. He found the outside fence but at the vital stage near 200m it looked as though he was not going to be able to get clear room. But then the leader, Baltic Success, rolled off the fence allowing Ping Hai Bravo some clear air, and producing a quick turn of foot was able to get up and score. As I said, it was a brave performance.
Runner-up: DUKE WAI certainly lost no admirers. Had the main danger, and winner, in his sights the whole race. Near the 200m as Ping Hai Bravo was attempting to edge off the rail, Duke Wai held a straight line and did not allow him out. It was only the leader and eventual third placegetter Baltic Success rolling off the fence that allowed Ping Hai Bravo to drive through, otherwise it would have been a win for Duke Wai.
Run Of The Race: BALTIC SUCCESS has explosive speed. He quickly found the outside fence and after 200m had opened up a four-length lead. He was still two in front at the 200m mark but could not withstand the late charge of the two favourites. It was still a strong performance and one that will see him successful over 1000m soon.
Disappointment: HIGHLAND FORTUNE had good support suggesting there was the expectation of a good run. He seemed to travel well early, but when the pressure went on before the 400m mark, there was little response and, in the end, he was eased down crossing the line. Very disappointing.
Comparison: Time was just outside of standard and well short of the class record. Time will tell on the strength of the form.
Market Movers: Highland Fortune $11 to $6.1; Sunny Boy $23 to $14.
RACE 4 SNAPDRAGON HANDICAP HK$750,000
Class 5 – Rating - (40-0) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:23.15 Standard Time: 1:22.15 Course/Class Record: 1:21.53
Winner: CITY LEGEND (NZ) 7yo g Red Giant – Show Exhibit) has finally broken through at start 32 after starting his career in January 2017. The gelding had been racing consistently and everything fell into place for him. There was enough tempo but the field did not string out, allowing him to stay in touch. He was well back early and still second last turning for home. He was able to track the runner-up through and in the end finish too strongly. Could there be another win in him, who knows, but at least he has now broken through.
Runner-up: GREAT HARVEST was brave. He raced one pair more forward than the winner and was given a good ride by Neil Callan. He worked his way through the field from the 400m, but at the same time opened a passage for the winner. After striking the front inside the final 200, he was unable to hold off the finishing burst of the winner.
Run Of The Race: Pretty hard to go past the winner. The race was not run at an overly strong tempo, so to come from the position he was in, second last on the hometurn, it was a solid effort.
Disappointment: VICTORIOUS LEADER was sent off the top elect. He settled back in the field, with the winner outside of him, and Zac Purton tried for luck to gain a run through the field. Gaps appeared, but he was unable to take advantage of them, and in the end, he just battled home to the line.
Comparison: Race was run well outside of standard, so a question mark will be held over the form.
Market Movers: City Legend $11 to $8.10; Great Harvest $17 to $7.3; The Full Bloom $6.5 to $4.8.
RACE 5 JONQUIL HANDICAP $HK1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating - (60-40) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.90 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45
Winner: DRAGON FORTUNE (NZ) 3yo g Per Iccanto – Princess Analiesse) was put into the race by Karis Teetan from the outset after his debut performance where he settled last and ran on. This time he raced in fifth position to the turn when early in the straight he was held up for clear room. Once clear, he was spotting the leader three lengths with 300m to run and the task looked forlorn. He did knuckle down well under the urgings of Teetan to get up on the line. There should be better wins.
Runner-up: DECISIVE TWELEVE found the front and set a steady tempo before giving a strong kick on the point of the turn. Still held a two-length lead with 200m to run and looked the winner at the 50m mark, only to be grabbed on the line. May have been beaten by a smart performer.
Run Of The Race: There is a lot to like about the winner. The way he knuckled down and chased the runner-up and claim victory in the final stride, the only time he looked like winning.
Disappointment: Most of those in the market ran as expected except for BULLISH UNICORN who was at double figure odds. He looked to find a good spot early in the race, but when the pressure come on in the straight, he was found wanting, eventually winding up in last place.
Comparison: Time was again outside of standard, but with Dragon Fortune it could be a case of trusting the eye.
Market Movers: Dragon Fortune $4.7 to $2.7, Smart Wongchoy $8.4 to $6.5.
RACE 6 MARIGOLD HANDICAP HK$1,000,000
Class 2 – Rating - (100-80) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:22.13 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80
Winner: SO WE JOY (AUS) 5yo g So You Think – Soho Secret) had to overcome some adversity in the run to win. Was allowed to drift back early by Zac Purton who was content to bide his time. Once balanced, narrow runs started to appear and it took some encouragement from Purton to push the gelding through. But So We Joy was brave and extended to get up and claim a narrow victory on the line.
Runner-up: GOLDEN LINK settled in the perfect spot, one-out, one-back before coming out three-wide rounding the turn. He hit the front at the 200m mark, but the cavalry was coming. He fought bravely, but in the finish could not withstand the late flourish of the winner.
Run Of The Race: Again the winner. He settled in the second-half of the field and needed to be brave to take runs in the straight when they appeared. He hit the line strongly and may even appreciate something a little longer now.
Disappointment: ULTIMATE GLORY was well supported in betting but he did not raise his backers hopes. He settled back in the field on the fence and saved ground around the turn. While there may not have been a lot of clear room, it was expected he would produce a stronger effort.
Comparison: Not that far outside of standard time on a day where times were moderate. Winner may be able to go on with it.
Market Movers: So We Joy $4.9 to $4.2; Ultimate Glory $10 to $6.5
RACE 7 DENDROBIUM HK$1,500,000
CLASS 3 – Rating - (80-60) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.47 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:07.89
Winner: CHANCHENG PRINCE (USA 4yo g Carpe Diam – Bliss) was a strong winner after racing three-wide in the run. Did have cover on the back of Divine Regulus before edging out four-wide on turning for home. Made his run to join in at the 200m mark and in the end proved too strong, drawing clear over the final 50m.
Runner-up: STORM WARNINGS had no excuses. Came in for good support, found the front easily, travelled at a comfortable tempo, then gave a strong kick early in the straight. Kept on trying when challenged by the winner but was no match in over the final 50m.
Run Of The Race: There was not a lot to get carried away with outside of the winner CHANCHENG PRINCE who, despite racing three wide, always seemed comfortable in the run and did show a nice turn of foot when asked.
Disappointment: If you backed the short-priced favourite JUNEAU PARK, you would be disappointed. However, the race was not really run to suit, despite a number of horses winning from beyond midfield earlier in the day. He settled back, travelled smoothly, but there was no explosive turn of foot that you would be expecting from a $2.1 top elect.
Comparison: Time was about standard for the day with most being outside of standard on the turf.
Market Movers: Storm Warnings $14 to $5.9; Diamond Brilliant $17 to $8.50.
RACE 8 FREESIA HANDICAP HK$1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating - (80-40) All-Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.35 Standard Time: 1:08.65 Course/Class Record: 1:07.27
Winner: FLYING BONUS (AUS) 6yo g Snitzel – Sabanci) showed good early speed to lead but took his time to cross down to the rail, which he eventually did coming off the back. Travelled comfortably until the straight and once balanced was asked to extend, opening a winning margin. While the placegetters closed off, they were never going to overhaul him.
Runner-up: LUCKY FUN found the fence early but was able to work into the clear before the home turn. Came out wide in the straight and had clear running all the way home, but at no stage did he look like overhauling the winner. It was a sound run from the odds-on favourite.
Run Of The Race: SUPER ALLIANCES was buried away on the fence in the second-half of the field until the turn. Saved ground into the straight and edged out looking for clear room without finding a lot. While he did not trouble the winner, he finished the race off soundly for a longshot, suggesting a win won’t be that far away.
Disappointment: GOLFMAN STAR held his price through betting and looked to enjoy a good run behind the leader on the fence. However, when the race got serious, he was found wanting and did not finish it off. Maybe he prefers racing outside of horses.
Comparison: Race was run inside of standard time which suggest the all-weather form should stand up.
Market Movers: Resolute $14 to $9; Flying Bonus $13 to $6.6.
RACE 9 HYACINTH HANDICAP HK$1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating - (80-60) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:35.51 Standard Time: 1:34.50 Course/Class Record: 1:33.27
Winner: FLAGSHIP GLORY (GB) 4yo g Australia – Azenzar) was successful under a patient ride from Zac Purton. Settled back in the second-half of the field on the fence and Purton was content to save ground on the topweight turning for home. Edged him out to the centre in the straight where he ran home strongly under urging, before recording a soft win on the line.
Runner-up: AUTHENTIC CHAMP had every chance. Enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out,-one back, position and moved out into clear air turning for home. Issued his challenge at the 200m, hit the lead with 100m to go but could not hold off the last burst of the winner. He had every chance.
Run Of The Race: Again going with the obvious here, the winner Flagship Glory, but there was a lot to like about the way he went about his work. He chased hard in the straight, but then in the final stages was able to cruise home under Zac Purton. He can win better races.
Disappointment: LEWIS came in for good support and had every chance. Track the leader Beauty Day, who also was heavily tried, but when the pressure came on from the top of the straight, he just battled home, having every chance.
Comparison: The race was just over 1 second outside of stand. Will the form stand up, I don’t know yet, but it is worth trusting the eye with the winner.
Market Movers: Lewis $13 to $10, Kyrus Unicorn $24 to $18, Beauty Day $17 to $7.7.
RACE 10 DAISY HANDICAP HK$2,200,000
Class 2 – Rating - (105-80) TURF ‘C’ Course – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:47.18 Standard Time: 1:46.85 Course/Class Record: 1:45.88
Winner: BUTTERFIELD (BRZ 5yo g Setembro Chove – Londrinita) was given the perfect ride by Zac Purton. Settled three pairs back on the fence and decided to stay there until the straight. Edged out into the clear soon after, struck the front at the 200m and raced clear for a comfortable win, looking good in the process. Is capable of a better win.
Runner-up: CHARITY GO settled in second last position under a good hold. Started to improve before the hometurn then got shunted very wide on straightening. Gave away a healthy start and while he was no match for the winner, and stablemate, he was taking ground in the run home.
Run Of The Race: CONQUEROR was the outsider in the 14-horse field. He was snagged back to last after the start and was still in that position turning for home. He came widest in the straight and ran on strongly, without worrying the placegetters. He is now racing like he wants more ground.
Disappointment: SUPER FOOTBALL was sent off the top pick and had every hope. He travelled well outside the leader and got out into clear air early in the straight. While the winner saved ground and sprinted home solidly, Super Football just ground home.
Comparison: Time not far outside of standard on a day when times struggled to get near those marks.
Market Movers: Butterfield $9.8 to $5.8; Maximus $11 to $6.20.
Flagship Glory and Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club