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The Davis Files - Sha Tin review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the twilight meeting at Sha Tin  on Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Race 1 – Yan Chau Tong Plate, HK $950,000

Griffin – Turf - Distance 1000m – Track Yielding
Time: 57.24 Standard Time: 56.70 Course/Class record: 55.33 California Spangle

The Griffin’s kicked off the evening and it was the first progeny of Alabama Express getting the job done in KARATE EXPRESS (AUS 2yo g Alabama Express – Tiffany’s) for Lyle Hewitson and Francis Lui. The gelding was urged along out of the barriers to try and hold a position under Hewitson, with the South African hoop landing about midfield down the straight course. Through the middle stages, the field split in two with Karate Express finding himself on the back of the leading division as he looked to be travelling comfortably. Hewitson did begin to niggle at the two-year-old a long way from home, but to the gelding’s credit, he responded admirably as Hewitson began looking for ways through the traffic passing the 400m pole. The gelding showed experience beyond his years, shooting through a gap between horses with 150m to run, taking the lead and running clear to win impressively on debut, with the official margin being one length on the line. KA YING RESILIENCE jumped the race favourite on debut and settled alongside the eventual winner in the run. Zac Purton was able to remain in touch with the leading division and shifted into the clear with around 400m to run to make his challenge. Purton came down the middle of the track and loomed ominously as he began to make ground, but he never quite took the lead as Karate Express ran by him inside the final stages. He was a clear second on the line, with SANTORINI back in third position who stuck on gamely from sitting up on the pace.

Race 2 – Port Shelter Handicap, HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Yielding
Time: 1:10.74 Standard Time: 1:09.75 Course/Class record: 1:08.64 Iron King

Alexis Badel and Mark Newnham combined to win the second event of the evening with TACTICAL COMMAND (NZ 4yo g Charm Spirit – Nomisma) bringing up the second win of his career. From an inside draw, Badel was able to position the four-year-old in a handy position right from the jump, sitting on the back of the leader as the field sorted their order out. The field was bunched throughout the event, with Badel hemmed up along the inside and needing some luck as they swung around the turn and into the straight. Things worked out well for Badel early in the straight, with the leader kicking strongly and the second horse wobbling about, allowing the Frenchman to get off heels and into the clear. Tactical command was getting into the margin with every stride, eventually taking the lead inside the final 50m and getting the job done by a neck on the line. COLONEL jumped straight to the front under Luke Ferraris and was able to dictate the race to his liking with little pressure applied once he found the front. Ferraris was able to stack the field up around the home turn and he kicked strongly on straightening to get away from the majority of his rivals. He still led by a length with 200m to run, but Tactical Command was getting into the clear and he appeared the only danger. Despite a strong effort from Colonel, he was collared in the shadows of the post and was forced to settle for second in a handy display. The first two gapped HO HO STAR who closed off well nearer the inside after settling midfield and along the rail.

Race 3 – Tiu Chung Chau Handicap, HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 1600m – Track Soft
Time: 1:37.19 Standard Time: 1:35.45 Course/Class record: 1:34.38 Le Penache

CASA LEGEND (NZ 5yo g Tavistock – Sea Venture) scored his maiden victory in the wet conditions at start number 25. The gelding bombed the start under Matthew Poon, missing the jump after standing flat footed in the barriers and racing a clear last early on in the race. It was a good piece of riding by Poon early doors, with the local hoop getting to the inside rail and improving his position approaching the 800m point, getting past a few of his rivals as they turned off the back. Poon then began to ease off the inside as they came to the turn, slicing his way through the traffic to be out near the middle of the track as they turned for home. The gelding kept eating into the margin out wide on the track, getting closer and closer with every stride and eventually taking the lead with 50m to run. He was just too strong in the closing stages, relishing the wet conditions to win by a half-length and secure his maiden victory. LEATHER MASTER was also given a brilliant steer, with Australian Ben Thompson giving his mount every chance in the run. After settling midfield and one off the rail, the Australian was able to get to the inside and end up close to the speed turning off the back straight. Thompson appeared to be in a tricky position swinging into the straight, but the gaps began to appear as the field fanned early in the straight, with the gelding getting off the inside and picking his way through the traffic. In the straight, Thompson was able to weave his way through the traffic and come out after the leader inside the final furlong, looming as a winning hope with around 150m to run. Casa Legend was just finishing the better though, but Leather Master lost no admirers in defeat. SMART BEAUTY may have peaked on the run late in the race after getting to the lead a long way from home under Zac Purton. The gelding hit the front with a furlong to run, but was unable to hold off the first two across the line.

Race 4 – Kau Sai Chau Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Soft
Time: 1:09.97 Standard Time: 1:09.40 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

It was another dominant victory for GLORY ELITE (AUS 3yo g Russian Revolution – The King’s Widow) who made every post a winner in the fourth. Although he wasn’t the fastest into stride, Derek Leung was able to urge the gelding along and take up the running on settling down. He was racing a touch keenly in the run under Leung, but the local hoop still looked to have plenty of horse underneath him as they entered the straight, with the margin extending while still under a strong hold. He never looked like being beaten as he went on to win very comfortably once again, kicking clear of his opponents to win by 2-1/2 lengths in fine style. METRO WARRIOR was one of the first into stride and was able to get across and sit on the outside of the leader as they settled into stride. He looked to be travelling well under Ellis Wong at the top of the straight, but he was unable to match it with the leader who was just a class above. To the gelding’s credit though, he kept toughing it out right to the line, finishing in second position. BRILLIANT EXPRESS closed off well out wide after sitting a little worse than midfield in the run. He may be looking for a little bit further now and is worth following after a good effort in this event.


Race 5 – Kau Sai Chau Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Soft
Time: 1:10.11 Standard Time: 1:09.40 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

It has been a long time between drinks for CAPTAIN WIN (AUS 6yo g Toronado – Dane Sense), but he was able to end the winning drought today with his first victory since November 2021. There was some good pace on early doors which allowed Karis Teetan to drop into a nice position sitting midfield, with the pace continuing to be strong approaching the 800m point. The field was strung out as they turned off the back with Teetan remaining away from the inside in the wet conditions around the turn. The speed came out of the race with around 600m to run, this left Teetan racing wide and without cover, but the Mauritian hoop allowed his mount to stride forward around the outside of runners. This allowed the gelding to build into the race ominously on the turn and he was coming after the leader under a strong hold early in the straight. Captain Win took the lead with 150m to run but didn’t put the race away as expected when he loomed up. Instead, he had to fight for his win, getting past a gritty opponent back to his inside and fending off a late challenge to win by a neck on the line. BALLISTIC WIN was jumping out of the ground late in the race, storming home under the urgings of Ben Thompson. The gelding settled a long way back in the run after jumping from barrier 9 and was spotting the leader a massive six length head start as they entered the straight. Thompson ended up out beyond the middle of the track, but the gelding just continued to eat into the margin out wide and for a fleeting moment, it looked as though he was going to score an unlikely victory. In the end, it was too little, too late as he went under by a neck. FUN N FUN TOGETHER wasn’t the fastest away but mustered quickly under Vincent Ho to hold the lead from an inside draw. He was one of the main influences for the good pace in the opening stages, but to his credit, he kicked strongly at the top of the straight to get away from the majority of his rivals. He was game to the line, making Captain Win fight for the victory, but the early speed battle took its toll late.

Race 6 – Clear Water Bay Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Soft
Time: 1:10.33 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.11 Victor The Winner

CALL ME GLORIOUS (AUS 3yo g No Nay Never – Boomex) continued to build on his impressive record with a dominant all-the-way win in trying conditions. Zac Purton took the three-year-old straight to the front as the rain came in sideways, leading the small field off the back straight in a tightly packed affair. There was no real change to the order as the field remained tightly bunched turning for home, and it was then that Call Me Glorious showed his class. He broke clear of the field under a hold and when Purton finally asked for an effort it was game, set and match. The three-year-old put his rivals to the sword, sprinting away in the horrible conditions to bolt in by a whopping 6-1/2 lengths. GRACIOUS EXPRESS was able to get across and land on the outside of the leader from barrier nine. The gelding travelled comfortably in the pouring rain, but when the sprint went on at the top of the straight, he was left in the leader’s wake. While he was a mile behind the winner, it was a ding-dong battle for second with Gracious Express forced to fight tooth and nail for the runner-up position. Brenton Avdulla’s mount packed too many punches in the final stages, holding on for second position ahead of VICTOR THE RAPID who settled on the back of the leader and remained in third position throughout the event.

Race 7 – Kiu Tsui Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – All Weather - Distance 1200m – Track Wet Slow
Time: 1:09.73 Standard Time: 1:08.85 Course/Class record: 1:08.14 Happy Tour

Following a delay with lightning in the area, ACA POWER (AUS 7yo g Zoffany – Lavander Bay) notched up his second win of the season with an impressive victory. Shortly after the start, Aca Power was chopped off and ended up at the back of the field under Alexis Badel. As the field travelled down the back straight, Aca Power was able to improve his position and get onto the back of the main group turning out of the back straight with Badel getting away from the inside around the turn. Badel picked his way through the traffic on the point of the home turn and the gelding had an unobstructed run on straightening as he began to eat into the margin on straightening. He was out beyond the middle of the track as he set out after the leader and in the end, he was just too strong. The gelding was able to outlast his opponents, running over the top in the closing stages and pulling away to win easily by 1-1/4 lengths. ROBOT KNIGHT jumped quickly and went straight to the front under Luke Ferraris, with the gelding getting across to the rail as they turned off the back. Ferraris wasn’t pressured out in front, and the gelding showed a clean pair of heels as they turned into the straight, with Robot Knight kicking clear and opening up by about three lengths. He was still well in front inside the final 200m, but he really began to feel the pinch late in the race. He couldn’t sustain the run to the line, finishing in second. TOP SCORER moved into the race around the turn, coursing three-and-four-wide and building up his momentum on the turn. He was unable to go with Robot Knight when he sprinted, but he stuck on well to the line and finished in third, getting the nod in a photo finish. 

Race 8 – Grass Island Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – All Weather - Distance 1200m – Track Wet Slow
Time: 1:08.39 Standard Time: 1:08.50 Course/Class record: 1:07.40 Dehere’s The Love

CAPITAL DELIGHT (AUS 4yo g Capitalist – Eiffel Tower) continued his good season with his second win this term. He wasn’t the fastest away under Vincent Ho, but with the aid of an inside alley he was able to rail through and hold a position on the back of the leader turning off the back. Ho ended up in a tricky position around the turn, with a lapful of horse, the local hoop had to be patient and bide his time with rivals keeping him pocketed early in the straight. Ho had to wait and go around his rivals, shifting into the clear midway down the straight and letting rip down the middle of the track. He gobbled up the leader close to home and inched away to score by three-quarters of-a-length. SELF IMPROVEMENT was one of the first into stride and showed enough speed to cross relatively easily under Karis Teetan. The Mauritian hoop was taken on out in front as they turned off the back, but Teetan didn’t overuse the gelding as he held the inside and was able to burrow through to regain the lead early in the straight. He quickened strongly when asked for an effort and while he was a clear leader inside the final furlong, Capital Delight was storming home out wide. The gelding couldn’t fend off the late challenge and ended up finishing a clear second. VICTORY MOMENTS loomed up at the top of the straight and looked as though he’d play a major role in the finish, though he was unable to sustain his effort and ended up 4-1/2 lengths off the winner in third.

Race 9 – Hoi Ha Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1400m – Track Soft
Time: 1:23.36 Standard Time: 1:21.80 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

SUNLIGHT POWER (AUS 4yo g Capitalist – Emirates Comfort) was able to go one better on his effort prior, getting the job done comfortably in the end. The gelding settled in the second half of the field under Jerry Chau, tracking the race favourite wherever he went on settling down. The favourite gave Chau a nice cart into the race, with the four-year-old swinging into the clear at the top of the straight to lay down the gauntlet. It took a while for the gelding to wind up, but he made a strong run down the crown of the track. He was doing his best work late in the race, taking the lead with 50m to run and drawing away to score by three-quarters of-a-length. PATCH OF THETA jumped the race favourite and settled about midfield under Hugh Bowman. The Australian gave his mount every chance in the run, keeping him in the clear and making sure he had plenty of space to work into the race at the top of the straight. The gelding moved up to hit the front with 250m to run as Bowman began to ask for an effort and got away from most of his rivals, bar Sunlight Power. Although he was in front with 100m to run, he was on borrowed time as Sunlight Power ran over the top of him late to relegate Patch Of Theta back to second. BEAUTY FIT closed off well to finish in third position from well back on straightening but was never a factor in the finish as he ended up 3-3/4 lengths off the winner.

Race 10 – Mirs Bay Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1400m – Track Soft
Time: 1:22.92 Standard Time: 1:22.10 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

It was a dominant all-the-way win for ALL RICHES (AUS 6yo g Wandjina – Fantasy Lady) who never really looked like being beaten. Antoine Hamelin took the gelding straight to the front on straightening and the Frenchman was able to dictate the race from the front with no pressure being applied. His rivals loomed at the top of the straight as they began to make their moves, but Hamelin still had a strong old of the gelding and the challengers were left standing once asked for an effort. The six-year-old showed a clean pair of heels when niggled at by Hamelin, shooting clear along the inside rail and making every post a winner, bolting in by 2-1/2 lengths. FORERUNNER settled about midfield and along the inside rail under Hugh Bowman. The Australian jockey began to move into the race around the turn, getting away from the inside and moving into the one-out-one-back position as they swung into the straight. The gap opened shortly after straightening and although he set out after the leader, it was all in vain. Forerunner ended up a clear second with almost three lengths back to FUN N GLORY who stuck on well after sitting on the pace.

Race 11 – Kat O Handicap, HK $2,050,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1600m – Track Soft
Time: 1:35.54 Standard Time: 1:34.75 Course/Class record: 1:33.19 Beauty Fit

KARMA (AUS 5yo g Turn Me Loose – Lovingthelimelight) brought up back-to-back wins in impressive fashion. From a wide draw, Vincent Ho snagged the gelding back and settled near the tail of the field. He was clear in second last position, allowing Ho to drop down to the inside rail where he was able to pinch runs along the inside. As they got to the turn, the local hoop was able to move the big chestnut away from the inside and into the clear down the middle of the track, but he still needed to make up 5-1/2 lengths. The big stride was coming through, with the gelding storming down the outside of the course, taking the lead inside the final 50m and pulling away late in the race to score an easy win in the end. ORIENTAL SMOKE jumped quickly from a wide draw and surged forward out deeper on the track, eventually sliding across to take up the running as they turned off the back. Ben Thompson led comfortably through the middle stages, setting a good tempo and sustaining that run into the straight. He was challenged at the top of the stretch, but the gelding responded impressively when Thompson asked for an effort, still leading by a couple of lengths with 150m remaining. It took a good one to beat him, but it was a superb effort to finish second in trying conditions. SIMPLE HEDGE was last as they approached the home turn, but Brenton Avdulla cut the corner and made his run along the inside. He sustained a strong effort right to the line, crossing the line a clear third.

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