The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, April 12th, 2021:
RACE – 1 WINDY GAP GRIFFIN PLATE, HK $850,000
Griffin - Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 56.96 Standard Time: 56.60 Course/Class Record: 56.00 Lifetime Pals
Winner: TURBO POWER (USA 3yo g Mizzen Mast – Head For Home) left the machine cleanly and balanced up fourth a couple off the outside fence. Travelled sweetly behind the leading bunch in the middle stages before being clicked up on the inside of runners 300m from home. Let down strongly under heavy riding over the final stages to win going away from them. Savaged the line late on the far side in what looked a professional debut. Another win for jockey Ho who is riding with a lot of confidence.
Runner-Up: SMART IDEA copped a couple of slight bumps upon jumping but got into his rhythm nicely after travelling 200m. Cruised up the middle part of the track on the inside of the leaders and hit the front 200m from the post looking the winner. Just ran out of puff over the final stages but wasn’t disgraced first time at the races.
Run Of The Race: TURBO POWER really let down late and ran through the line. Can go on with it now.
Disappointment: GREAT KING jumped second favourite at $4.7 but didn’t fire a shot into second last.
Comparison: Just outside standard in an evenly run race.
Market Mover: HK DRAGON $17 to $7.5
RACE – 2 TAI TAM GAP HANDICAP, HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 57.41 Standard Time: 57.25 Course/Class Record: 55.64 United We Stand
Winner: CARRY THE DIAMOND (AUS 4yo g Moshe – Lucand Star) wasn’t the best to jump from gate 11 but quickened to sit behind the leading trio near the outside fence after travelling 300m. Had a cluttered run for most of the trip before finally extricating onto the inside of the leaders and let down with a withering burst once clear 250m from home. The second horse didn’t shirk the task but he was too strong on the line to post his first win in 11 starts.
Runner-Up: MAJESTIC CONQUEROR jumped straight to the front from gate 12 and got into an even rhythm one off the outside fence. Let down strongly with 400m to go and looked the victor at one stage but the eventual winner pulled off his back and finished too strongly. Has now placed two of his past three starts and a win is just around the corner.
Run Of The Race: CARRY THE DIAMOND only got clear air late in the piece and would’ve been a good thing beat if he didn’t win.
Disappointment: VIVA MAMA started second favourite but faded to finish ninth beaten over seven lengths.
Comparison: Slightly slower than standard but the winner could have run quicker with a clearer run.
Market Mover: FOR FUN’S SAKE $26 to $12
RACE – 3 VIOLET HILL HANDICAP, HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:22.28 Standard Time: 1:22.15 Course/Class Record: 1:21.53 Exponents
Winner: GALAXY EMPEROR (AUS 4yo g Verrazano – Naivety) pounced out of the barriers from gate 12 but found himself three wide no cover outside the leaders in the early stages. Couldn’t slot in at any stage during the run and was posted in that position until hitting the lane. Was headed a few times in the straight but just kept finding under heavy riding for a very brave win. He has now won two of his past three starts and is starting to put it all together.
Runner-Up: KUNG FU TEA jumped on the outside of the winner and tracked him three wide with cover the entire journey. Switched off heels four wide upon straightening and had the sitting shot on them 300m from home. Hit the front a furlong out but Galaxy Emperor kicked again and was too strong in the final stages. This second is by far his best performance in eight career starts.
Run Of The Race: GALAXY EMPEROR had no favours from the wide draw but still had the audacity to finish off the race after being headed in the straight.
Disappointment: DESTIN jumped a $3.9 favourite but never got into the race.
Comparison: Slower than standard and fair enough given the difficult run the winner had.
Market Mover: SPICY GRILL $21 to $9.4
RACE – 4 POTTINGER PEAK HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 56.98 Standard Time: 56.50 Course/Class Record: 55.07 Joyful Fortune
Winner: DRAGON BABY (NZ 3yo g Sizzling – Pharonia) was squeezed out of the barriers but couldn’t pick his feet up early to sit in the last couple after travelling 200m. Started to track the wall of horses in front of him and eventually got the split down the centre of the track 250m from home. Showed an electric turn of foot over the final furlong and rallied through the centre to win going away from them. Was truck loaded late in betting and rewarded his investors. A very impressive performance on debut and could eventually look to get over further ground.
Runner-Up: HAPPY GOOD GUYS jumped evenly from gate four and found himself racing on the inside of the eventual winner down the lane. Switched to the inside of runners on the far side and let down strongly when was asked the question 300m from home. Finished off the race well but was no match for the winner.
Run Of The Race: DRAGON BABY took a while to let down but really motored over the final stages and looks a galloper with plenty of promise.
Disappointment: HUGE TIGER jumped $2.4 favourite but could only manage 12th.
Comparison: Slower than standard with the top two coming from the second half of the field.
Market Mover: DRAGON BABY $21 to $7.9
RACE – 5 SIU MA SHAN HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4– Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.46 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45 Winston’s Lad
Winner: GLUCK RACER (AUS 3yo g Super One – Keep The Filly) wasn’t the best away and settled just behind mid-field one off the fence after travelling 400m. Got going before the turn and shifted out to the middle of the track upon straightening. Looked to be a bit one paced but kept coming to the line and eventually overhauled them at the post in a tight four way go. Only ever looked the winner in the shadows of the post. A handy start to the career making it a win and a third from two starts.
Runner-Up: VICTORY SCHOLARS had to be snagged back to the tail of field from gate 11 and settled second last one off the fence. Was the widest runner when they turned and was actually in front of the eventual winner with 400m to go. Continued to grind away down the outside and looked the winner 100m out but was nabbed right on the line. Was heavily backed late in the piece and just missed.
Run Of The Race: Hard to go past GLUCK RACER. Never looked likely but had the heart to keep finding in the later stages and get the bob in on the line.
Disappointment: BRANDING POWER jumped second favourite but faded to finish ninth beaten more than eight lengths.
Comparison: Slightly slower than standard with every horse having their chance.
Market Mover: VICTORY SCHOLARS $21 to $6.9
RACE – 6 STANLEY GAP HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.85 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair
Winner: MY ECSTATIC (AUS 4yo g All Too Hard – More Radiant) jumped well from gate 11 and had to do a bit of work in the early stages three and four wide. Eventually slotted in one off the fence behind the speed and travelled kindly up to the turn. Let down four and five off the rails as they straightened and responded strongly under the urgings of Purton. Ended up saluting by two lengths on the line and it was a pretty soft win in the end to shed the maiden tag.
Runner-Up: SOLAR POWER jumped quickly from gate nine and was clicked up to take a forward position and eventually take the lead as they speared off the back. Stole a couple of cheap sectionals in the middle stages before being asked for the ultimate effort 300m from home. Showed a good kick but was no match for the winner. Has finished runner-up at two of his past four starts and you wouldn’t deny him a victory soon.
Run Of The Race: GREEN REIGN settled a couple of pairs further back than the top two but worked home steadily to finish third and should be breaking the maiden status shortly.
Disappointment: No real disappointments with the fancied runners filling the frame.
Comparison: Bang on standard in an evenly run race.
Market Mover: IRON KING $8.5 to $6.2
RACE – 7 STANLEY GAP HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.90 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair
Winner: EVERYONE’S DELIGHT (NZ 4yo g El Roca – Catch Your Idol) left the machine cleanly from gate 12 but travelled three and four wide in the early stages. Managed to get some cover three wide on the back of Plikclone as they turned and shifted off heels to go out after them 300m to go. Really let down with authority over the last furlong to pick up Green Envy right on the post. Is building up a handy record with two wins and two seconds from eight starts.
Runner-Up: GREEN ENVY jumped perfectly from gate two and took up a position leading on the fence after travelling 400m. Got pestered a little in front by Voyage Star but showed a good kick when asked for an effort 300m to go and just got run down late. Is very consistent finishing in the top five at his past seven starts.
Run Of The Race: EVERYONE’S DELIGHT was wide the trip but made up a stack of ground over the final stages.
Disappointment: Favourite DANDY YEARS had the perfect run in transit but looked one paced in the straight and could only manage a plodding fifth.
Comparison: Right on standard with no one having any excuses.
Market Mover: GREEN ENVY $6 to $4.6
RACE – 8 D’AGUILAR PEAK HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.59 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.32 E Star
Winner: COURIER WONDER (NZ 3yo g Sacred Falls – Fabulist) jumped in the leading couple from gate eight and eventually worked to the front as they took the first turn. Was cuddled by Moreira entering the lane and was only asked for an effort with 250m remaining. Trillion Win switched off his heels to set out after him but he was too strong and given an easy time of it over the final stages. Wasn’t as impressive as his first two victories but he still got the job done from a sticky draw.
Runner-Up: TRILLION WIN jumped fast from gate four and led them up initially before handing up to the eventual winner. Took the sit behind the speed before getting clear and setting out after the leader with 200m to go. Finished off strongly but was never going to catch Courier Wonder. Has a win and a second from four career starts and certainly wasn’t disgraced behind a pretty smart one.
Run Of The Race: Have to say COURIER WONDER who won easily although not as dominant as previous outings. Special mention to SPEND who improved sharply to finish third at the odds of $56.
Disappointment: No disappointments with the top three in betting finishing in the first four.
Comparison: Well inside standard which you’d expect from a quality galloper such as Courier Wonder.
Market Mover: COURIER WONDER $1.5 to $1.2
RACE – 9 MOUNT BUTLER HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:46.30 Standard Time: 1:47.35 Course/Class Record: 1:46.18 Glorious Forever
Winner: LOOKING GREAT (NZ 4yo g Holy Roman Emperor – Montwest) left the machine mid-field but managed to take advantage of gate three and push up along the inside of runners to settle fifth one off the fence. Got into a beautiful rhythm in the middle stages and switched off under Moreira until they straightened. Cruised up behind a wall of horses before eventually getting a split through the middle with 400m to go. Let down nicely over the final furlong in what was a pretty easy watch for supporters. Finally breaks the maiden after finishing runner-up at his past two.
Runner-Up: CALIFORNIA TEN was average to leave the barriers from gate 12 and snagged back to the tail of the field in the early stages. Sat three wide with cover at the end of the field until straightening and then was taken to the extreme outside to make his run in the lane. Made up many lengths out wide but just died on his run late. Has now placed two of his past three and a win is on the horizon.
Run Of The Race: CALIFORNIA TEN was afforded no favours from the wide gate and finishes closer if he draws a better marble.
Disappointment: BELUGA was well in the market but was beaten more than nine lengths.
Comparison: More than a second quicker than standard which further enhances the effort of California Ten.
Market Mover: GOD OF DRAGON $21 to $15
RACE – 10 MA KONG SHAN HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.39 Standard Time: 1:21.65 Course/Class Record: 1:20.62 Preciousship
Winner: FANTASTIC TREASURE (AUS 3yo g Written Tycoon – Brambling) left the barriers cleanly to settle mid-field on the fence upon settling. Pinched a few positions along the rails as they approached the straight but still had plenty of horse flesh in front of him with 250m to go. Finally got into clear air at the 200m mark and really let down strongly under vigorous riding by Schofield. It was heart in the mouth stuff until the final furlong for supporters. That makes it three wins from as many starts and he is shaping as a horse with plenty of upside.
Runner-Up: PERFECT PAIR jumped in the first few from gate nine and managed to get across one off the fence in the leading trio. Stalked the speed one out one back during the middle stages and was clicked up 300m from home down the centre of the track. Grinded his way home to just get nabbed on the line in a four way go. Has been narrowly defeated at his past two starts and deserves to go one better.
Run Of The Race: We’ll rename this Ride Of The Race as Schofield had to remain very patient on FANTASTIC TREASURE and not panic until the final 200m. Once he got clear he stayed balanced and kept his momentum to finish over the top of them.
Disappointment: LEWIS was backed late but could only manage eighth.
Comparison: Slightly faster than standard in a race that you could throw a blanket over the first four.
Market Mover: LEWIS $12 to $9.2
RACE – 11 CHEUNG LIN SHAN HANDICAP, HK $2,200,000
Class 2 – Rating 100-80 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.22 Standard Time: 1:21.35 Course/Class Record: 1:20.29 Golden Sixty
Winner: HINCHINLOVE (AUS 6yo g Hinchinbrook – Wildly Entertained) pounced out of the machine from gate six to sit outside the leader after travelling 300m. Settled nicely underneath Chadwick in the middle stages and took over the running as they hit the lane. Was left in front a long way from home but kept finding under heavy riding to hold off a wall of them in behind. Has now won two of his past four starts and the penny is starting to drop.
Runner-Up: ROMAN TURBO jumped handily from gate 12 and was ridden forward to try and get across into a leading position. Eventually managed to slot in one out one back tracking the eventual winner. Switched off heels to set out after them 250m to go but was cannoned into by Silver Express which cost him some momentum over the final stages. Balanced up and got going again but the bird had flown. Not sure he wins without the interference but would have definitely finished a bit closer.
Run Of The Race: It was a better run by INVINCIBLE MISSILE than it looks on paper. Was unwanted in betting at $52 but was the only one to make steady ground from the back half of the field and his final furlong was his best. Might be looking for further now.
Disappointment: No real disappointments with the top three in betting finishing in the top five.
Comparison: Slightly faster than standard with the top six placegetters all travelling in the first half of the field.
Market Mover: HINCHINLOVE $31 to $19
Courier Wonder and Joao Moreira, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club