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The Davis Files - Sha Tin review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Friday, July 1st, 2022

Race 1 – Racing Goes On 1200m Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1200m - Track Good
Time: 1:10.57 Standard Time: 1:09.70 Course/Class record: 1:08.64 Iron King

Winner: M M JOHNNY (AUS 5yo g Better Than Ready – Belle Soliel) got away on terms from an outside draw and was snagged back toward the tail of the field. The gelding had to be restrained passing the 800m point and found himself at back of the pack, but Chadwick was able to improve his position along the inside rail as they travelled past the 600m point. Chadwick then came away from the inside to continue his run, with the gelding finding himself with plenty of galloping room on straightening with the field fanning out as they swung into the straight. He picked up nicely in the home straight to burst through between runners inside the final 150m, before getting his nose in front inside the final 50m and going home the strongest. He got the job done easily in the end, pulling away to win by a neck.

Runner-Up: THETA HEDGE got away well and eased out of the speed battle in the early going, settling midfield and along the rail once fully into stride. He was able to build good momentum around the home turn and improve along the inside when the field fanned on straightening. Harry Bentley was able to slide across and into the clear with 100m to run, with the eventual winner looming on his outside. He hit the front head-and-head with the winner, but he just couldn’t hold on in the closing stages and was forced to settle for second.

Run Of The Race: What a terrific ride by Matthew Chadwick aboard M M JOHNNY. The local hoop was sliding his way through traffic beautifully, getting the job done in brilliant fashion.

Disappointment: STAR OF WUYI pushed on from out wide to take the lead through the early stages. He came under pressure on straightening and had nothing left in the tank when Teetan pushed the button. He finished back in 10th place, beaten 4-1/4 lengths.

Comparison: Way outside standard time.
Market Mover: STEEL WIN was tried at double figure odds.

Race 2 – World-Class leadership 1200m Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m - Track Good to Yielding
Time: 1:12.38 Standard Time: 1:09.10 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

Winner: SUPER SUNNY SING (AUS 3yo g Nicconi – Red Centre) got away well from an outside draw and was ridden along by Joao Moreira in the early going, eventually settling midfield as they turned off the back straight. He didn’t seem to be travelling all that well passing the 600m point, drifting further back in the running line to be toward the back of the field as they turned into the straight. Moreira was able to slide his way into the clear at the top of the straight, but was still spotting the leader 6-1/2 lengths with 400m to run. He kept on well, taking ground off the leader with every stride to hit the lead with 100m to run and proved far too good in the closing stages to bolt in by 2-1/2 lengths.

Runner-Up: REGENT GLORY jumped well off the inside and showed good pace off the inside to land just off the pace under Luke Currie, sitting 2-3/4 lengths off the pace as they turned off the back straight. Currie stuck right along the inside throughout the straight, and was able to have an uninterrupted run right down the straight with his rivals coming away from the inside. He was no match for the winner in the straight, but he stuck on brilliantly along the inside to run into second position.

Run Of The Race: SUPER SUNNY SING made amends for his disappointing debut, bolting in at his second start under Joao Moreira. Nothing went right in his debut, but he showed his ability today and can go on with the job.

Disappointment: E BROTHER was one of the slowest into stride and settled in the back half of the field under Zac Purton. The championship leading jockey was able to improve into the race on straightening and got him into the clear at the top of the stretch. He simply wasn’t going good enough in the straight to feature and finished back in 9th place, beaten 6-1/4 lengths after jumping as the favourite. 

Comparison: Well outside standard with the racing surface deteriorating.
Market Mover: SUPER SUNNY SING was well backed late in betting.

Race 3 – Uncompromising Integrity 1800m Handicap, HK $1,800,000

Class 2 – Turf – Distance 1800m - Track Yielding
Time: 1:51.00 Standard Time: 1:46.95 Course/Class record: 1:45.88 Solar Hei Hei

Winner: BOURBONAIRE (NZ 4yo g Darci Brahma – Star Guest) jumped well from an inside draw and went straight to the front under Alex Badel, crossing to the rail in the early stages and running the field along down the back stretch. He ran along at a good pace through the middle stages, stretching the field right out down the back straight to be 10-1/2 lengths from top-to-tail. Badel held the gelding together right into the straight, with the four-year-old travelling brilliantly turning for home while many of his rivals were under heavy pressure with 400m remaining. The Frenchman shook the reins and the response was immediate, with the son of Darci Brahma shooting away and extending his margin to an impressive 6 lengths. A dominant win.

Runner-Up: MONEY CATCHER got away on terms and showed good pace to make light work of an awkward draw to sit outside the leader in the early stages. Matthew Chadwick kept up with the leader through the middle stages, sitting on the leader’s hindquarters down the back straight and around the turn. Chadwick moved up on the turn to lay down the gauntlet with 500m to run, but was under heavy pressure on straightening. He was no match for the winner who was in a class of his own, but he stayed on well enough to hold down second position. 

Run Of The Race: You can’t go past the win of Bourbonabire who absolutely bolted in under Alex Badel. It’s taken a few starts for the four-year-old to break through, but he did so in a big way today, and next season looks his oyster.

Disappointment: BELUGA disappointed once again after taking a sit off the leader under Zac Purton through the middle stages. He came under pressure a long way from home and was under the whip on straightening, He didn’t have anything left in the tank in the closing stages and weakened out of the race to finish in 6th spot, beaten 9-3/4 lengths.

Comparison: Way outside the standard with the rain continuing to fall.
Market Mover: SIGHT SPIRIT was backed into favouritism.

Race 4 – Serving The Community 1400m Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 1400m - Track Yielding
Time: 1:25.89 Standard Time: 1:21.95 Course/Class record: 1:21.53 Exponents

Winner: SEA MONARCH (IRE 5yo g Dandy Man – Cucuma) was one of the last to leave the barriers and was ridden up by Matthew Chadwick, with the gelding rushing through the pack to take the lead with 1000m to run. He set a genuine tempo early on, but slowed the pace down around the turn as he held the lead comfortably passing the 600m to run. The field fanned across the track behind him, but he kicked clear when Chadwick placed him under pressure with 400m to run. He never looked like being run down in the straight, going home an easy 2-1/4 length winner in very wet conditions.

Runner-Up: BRAVE POWER got away on terms from barrier 5, with Blake Shinn happy to let the pace go in the early stages to settle in the second half of the field once they’d sorted their order out. He travelled comfortably in behind runners through the middle stages, but found himself 5-3/4 lengths off the pace as they turned off the back straight. He didn’t really improve his position around the home turn, but quickened nicely at the top of the straight. Shinn came right across the field and ended up right out near the grandstand rail. He found the better going out wider and rattled home over the concluding stages, but he was just too far back to reel in the leader.

Run Of The Race: Once again, it’s hard to go past the win of SEA MONARCH who was far too good for his rivals today. He relished the wet going to bolt in and make light work of his rivals.

Disappointment: MISSION SMART got away well and landed in a great spot in the run, just sitting in behind the leaders He burst through at the top of the straight and ran to a clear second early in the straight, but peaked on the run with 150m to run and weakened right out of the race. He finished back in 7th position, beaten 7 lengths after jumping as the second favourite.

Comparison: Way outside standard.
Market Mover: MISSION SMART had plenty of fans, while LONDON LUCKYSTAR and WONDERFUL TIGER were specked at double figures.

Race 5 – Continuous Development 1000m Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1000m - Track Yielding
Time: 58.09 Standard Time: 56.40 Course/Class record: 54.94 United We Stand

Winner: SPARKLING DOLPHIN (AUS 5yo g Exceed And Excel – Perfect Hostess) jumped well from a favourable draw toward the outside of the track and was ridden along by Dylan Mo to sit up on the pace through the middle stages. He was racing well in the lead and was travelling well passing the 400m point and took the lead heading into the closing stages. He was really challenged in the final furlong by the second placegetter, but the five-year-old responded brilliantly to the urgings of Mo to hold his rivals at bay and even pull away in the final few strides, winning by a half-length.

Runner-Up: FORTE jumped well and sat closer to the lead than he had done at his most recent outing, being about a length off the leader with through the middle stages. Zac Purton had the gelding travelling comfortably in the middle stages, and made sure to keep the gelding in clear air as they headed into the final 400m. He went up to join the leader shortly after and the race was there to win if he was good enough, taking it right up to the leader right down the stretch. It may have been the weight, but he just couldn’t stick his nose in front, and eventually tired to finish half-a-length away in second.

Run Of The Race: FORTE took it right up to the winner in the dying stages, but just didn’t have enough left in the tank under Zac Purton to finish off the race. The gelding could now head back up into Class 3 company, where a repeat effort would see him go very close to winning a race down in the weights.

Disappointment: AMAZING ROCKY was ridden along on jumping to hold a position on the outside of the leader through the middle stages. He came under heavy pressure from Matthew Poon as they passed the 400m point and did not have anything to offer, weakening back through the field to finish in 12th place, beaten 10-3/4 lengths. Poon told stewards he believed the disappointing performance was due to the track conditions, but the gelding was also found to have blood in his throat after the race.

Comparison: Outside standard time.
Market Mover: LUCKY GOR had support, with FLYING HIGH and KOWLOON EAST STAR also having fans at double figures.

Race 6 – The Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup (Handicap), HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1400m - Track Yielding
Time: 1:25.45 Standard Time: 1:21.75 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Winner: PEAK TO PEAK (AUS 4yo g More Than Ready – Mineko) was quickly into stride from barrier 8 and went straight to the front under Vincent Ho, pushing on to sit on the outside of the leader as they turned off the back straight. The pace wasn’t overly fast through the middle stages, with Ho moving up to eyeball the leader around the home turn, with the gelding ambling up to take the lead early on in the straight. He was a bit unbalanced when initially placed under pressure, but once he straightened up, he shot away under the urgings of Ho. He was some 3 lengths in front with a furlong to run and stuck on gamely over the concluding stages to win in impressive fashion. There was a rival taking some ground off him late, but he was too far ahead as the official margin was still 2-1/4 lengths in an emphatic win.

Runner-Up: WIN WIN got away on terms but drifted back in the early going under Jerry Chau from a wide draw. Chau had the interesting tactic early in the race to stay out of the running line and race right out near the centre of the track down the track straight, before eventually crossing to sit four-wide and without cover as they turned off the back straight. He tracked into the race nicely around the home turn with Chau immediately angling toward the centre of the track as they swung for the judge. He stuck on gamely down the stretch and was a real eye-catcher over the final 150m, running into second position. He was no match for the winner, but it was a very eye-catching effort in defeat.

Run Of The Race: PEAK TO PEAK was far too good, relishing the deteriorating conditions to be far too good at the finish. He showed good pace at the start and finish of the race, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him go back-to-back at his next outing.

Disappointment: NICHOLSON RETURNS jumped favourite and was a big winner on wet going three starts ago. He settled back in the second half of the field under Lyle Hewitson and was never really sighted in the run, finishing in 9th position and beaten 13 lengths. Hewitson told stewards that the pace of the race and the track conditions both played a role in the gelding’s disappointing effort.

Comparison: Way outside standard.
Market Mover: STUNNING IMPACT was heavily supported, while WIN WIN also had backing at longer odds.

Race 7 – The 25th Anniversary Hong Kong Reunification Cup (Handicap), HK $3,150,000

Class 1 – Turf - Distance 1200m - Track Yielding to Soft
Time: 1:12.44 Standard Time: 1:08.40 Course/Class record: 1:07.61 Lucky Patch

Winner: DUKE WAI (NZ 6yo g Per Incanto – Swan Lake) got away on terms from gate 7 but didn’t show as much pace as his rivals in the early going, sliding back in the field despite being ridden along by Jerry Chau to settle in the second half of the field. He didn’t appear all that comfortable in the run, constantly being niggled at by Chau through the middle stages as he appeared to lose more ground turning off the back straight. Everything seemed to click for the six-year-old as they passed the 600m point, with the son of Per Incanto beginning to improve into the race under the urgings of Chau, with the local hoop already reaching for the whip as they swung into the straight. Chau headed right out toward the centre of the track on straightening. He stuck on brilliantly in the testing conditions to find the front with 200m remaining. He started to paddle a touch once he hit the front, but Chau lifted him up and over the finish line, holding his rivals at bay to win by a neck in a solid win.

Runner-Up: WINNING DREAMER settled midfield in the run after getting away fairly from a middle draw and was racing in front of the eventual winner through the middle stages of the race. He too was working into the race nicely on the turn, with Vincent Ho sticking to the inside part of the track as they swung for home, rather than head out wider on the course in search of better going. He quickened nicely at the top of the straight though and was able to push his way into the clear with 350m to run, responding well to the urgings of Ho to get to the front. He went to the lead with the eventual winner, but didn’t have enough in the tank to fight back over the concluding stages, having to settle for second position in a tough fight right to the finish.

Run Of The Race: DUKE WAI looked gone for all money with 700m to run when he was being ridden along, but everything seemed to click all of a sudden for the six-year-old. He showed plenty of grit to work around the field and take the lead with 200m to run, before holding off the late challenger to win. It was his second win this season, and if today is anything to go by, there’s no reason why he couldn’t win again next season.

Disappointment: CAMPIONE jumped brilliantly and went straight to his usual role of leading under Matthew Poon, who set a solid pace through the middle stages. The gelding appeared to be travelling well turning for home, but failed to respond to the urgings of Poon when the local hoop ramped up the pressure at the top of the straight. He weakened badly in the closing stages, finishing in last place, beaten 20-1/4 lengths, with a post-race veterinary exam failing to find any abnormality.

Comparison: Over 4 seconds outside the standard time.
Market Mover: TRILLION WIN was backed late in betting, as was KA YING MASTER at double figures.

Race 8 – Riding High Together 1200m Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m - Track Yielding to Soft
Time: 1:12.34 Standard Time: 1:09.10 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

Winner: ROYAL AGILITY (SAF 6yo g Mambo In Seattle – Captain’s Lullaby) got away fairly rom an outside barrier but didn’t rush across under Lyle Hewitson, with the South African hoop sliding across to be just off the pace turning off the back straight. He was caught wide early around the turn, but was able to slot into the three-wide line as they continued through the middle stages, remaining with cover until they turned for home. Hewitson came off heels on straightening and headed right out toward the centre of the course. He stuck on brilliantly to take the lead with 200m left to run and shot away over the closing stages. The six-year-old relished the conditions, pulling further away with every stride to bolt in by 4-3/4 lengths in a dominant victor.

Runner-Up: SMART FOLKS was quickly into stride and showed plenty of pace in the early stages, but couldn’t work across to lead under Karis Teetan, leaving the gelding out three-wide and facing the breeze making the first turn. He travelled comfortably around the turn despite sitting three-wide and was being held together by Teetan as they turned into the straight. He was no match for the winner who was in a class of his own, but he fought hard to run into second position in the closing stages. A gutsy effort in testing conditions.

Run Of The Race: The weather saw a bunch of big winners today, but the way in which ROYAL AGILITY got the job done was flat out impressive. He worked across from the wide gate under Lyle Hewitson and enjoyed a cosy run in behind the leading trio. He made light work of his rivals in the straight and absolutely bolted in. He’s worth following for sure.

Disappointment: SPARTAN MISSILE was a touch slow into stride and found himself toward the back of the field under Luke Ferraris. He stuck to the inside on straightening but was already under heavy pressure as they turned for home. He didn’t have anything to offer in the straight and was very plain to the line, finishing in 10th place, beaten 19 lengths with Ferraris telling Stewards it was due to the track conditions.

Comparison: Outside the standard time, but faster than the Class 1 on the card.
Market Mover: BEAUTY TYCOON was the only one that punters wanted to be with, jumping a $1.90 favourite.

Race 9 – Sportsmanship 1600m Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1600m - Track Yielding to Soft
Time: 1:37.55 Standard Time: 1:34.35 Course/Class record: 1:33.19 Beauty Fit

Winner: LEADING FORTUNE (FR 6yo g Siyouni – Nayara) sat back in the barriers as they opened and was one of the last out of the machine, with Matthew Chadwick crossing behind runners and racing toward the rear of the field. He travelled comfortably out the back, getting away from the inside as they tuned off the back passing the 800m point. Chadwick began to improve his position from the 600m point, beginning to niggle at the six-year-old, as he began to improve around the outside of the field and out toward the centre of the track. The field fanned across the track in the straight, but this gelding had built the momentum and was already at top gear as he went to the front with 200m to run. He was made to fight for the win in the final furlong, with the leader getting a neck clear in the closing stages. But Leading Fortune never gave up, pegging back the margin and in the final few strides and getting his nose down on the line to take the win in a photo finish.

Runner-Up: MR ASCENDENCY drifted back from the wide draw under Harry Bentley, settling in the second half of the field and was racing wide on the course, but did have some cover down the back straight. He picked up plenty of ground around the turn and had built good momentum passing the 600m point, with Bentley getting out into the clear as they turned into the straight. He stuck on gamely at the top of the straight with Bentley getting toward the outside of the track, with the gelding going through to take the lead with 200m to run. He initially had the measure of Leading Fortune, who challenged him inside the final stages, holding a neck advantage inside the final 50m, but began to weaken right when it mattered most. He ran out of gas in the shadows of the post, going down in a photo finish.

Run Of The Race: MR ASCENDENCY and LEADING FORTUNE both showed their heart and staying ability in a tough duel to the line. Leading Fortune came out on top, but the run of Mr Ascendency must be lauded as well.

Disappointment: NEARLY FINE got away on terms and settled midfield under Joao Moreira. He didn’t appear to be traveling well around the turn, with Moreira niggling at him from the 700m point, and placing the gelding under heavy pressure with 500m remaining. He didn’t pick up on straightening and Moreira didn’t test the gelding over the closing stages, finishing in 9th place, beaten 12 lengths.

Comparison: Well outside the standard.
Market Mover: TUCHEL jumped a rock-solid favourite at $1.80.

Race 10 – Better Future 1200m Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1200m - Track Yielding to Soft
Time: 1:11.14 Standard Time: 1:08.90 Course/Class record: 1:08.28 Reve Parisien

Winner: POWER KOEPP (GB 4yo g Equiano – Terse) was one of the last into stride and was immediately out the back of the pack, racing a clear last under Alex Badel as they turned off the back straight. He was 8-3/4 lengths off the leader passing the 800m point, but tacked onto the back of the field around the turn and began improving out wider on the course passing the 600m pole. He built up nicely around the turn and into the straight, quickening nicely as he narrowed the margin back to 5 lengths with 400m to run. He was steaming home right down the outside, and was still a few lengths off the lead with a furlong to run. He kept coming in the straight and eventually charged down the leader inside the final 50m, proving too strong and pulling away in the shadows of the post to go home the better, winning by three-quarters of a length.

Runner-Up: MIDORI BEAUTY was away only fairly but was ridden along by Zac Purton in the opening stages, with the gelding burrowing through to sit in behind the leaders as they turned off the back. The leaders tried to slow the pace around the turn, prompting Purton to move out three-wide with 650m to run, cruising up around the outside of the leaders as they turned for home. He took control early in the straight and kicked two-to-three-lengths clear with a furlong to run, but just began to weaken inside the final 100m. He was gobbled up by the winner in the final stages, but there was a big gap back to the third placed runner.

Run Of The Race: POWER KOEPP was very impressive when finishing off hard over the concluding stages to run over the top of his rivals, despite being 5 lengths off the lead on straightening. He was far too good and lapped up the wet conditions. He can go on with the job.

Disappointment: STARBRITE got away on terms and settled about midfield under Blake Shinn. The gelding looked to be handling the conditions well through the first half of the race, but came under heavy pressure a long way from home and did not respond to the urgings of Shinn. He offered nothing in the straight, with Shinn easing up on the gelding over the final 200m. He finished in last position, beaten 18-1/4 lengths.

Comparison: Way outside the standard time, but one of the quickest 1200m times of the day.
Market Mover: Money came for MIDORI BEAUTY late in betting, with GRACYLOVE also having support.

Duke Wai and Jerry Chau (outside), picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

 

 

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