Brett Davis - Selections - Sha Tin - 22/11/20
It is a ten race blockbuster at Sha Tin today with the traditional lead up races The Jockey Club Sprint, Jockey Club Mile and Jockey Club Cup all set down for decision, as the build up to “International Day” in December continues.
These three races provide the final opportunity for trainers to apply finishing touches to their million dollar gallopers as they press towards their ultimate goal “The World Turf Championships“, run annually on the second Sunday in December.
All the notable performers, with the exclusion of those recently retired, are preparing to represent Hong Kong on its biggest day, and they are all present here this afternoon.
However three are excluded from this list.
Beauty Generation is being rested after an aging performance last start in the Sha Tin Trophy. He continues working thoroughly in the mornings but the champ shall likely make his final race appearance in the race that created him fame, The Hong Kong Mile.
Waikuku who finished runner up in last years Hong Kong Mile behind Japan's Admire Mars, and ahead of Beauty Generation, is also looking to reappear from a long lay off in the Mile. It is not the ideal scenario returning first up in to a Group 1, however the maestro John Size has achieved such a feat in the past, with Gloriously Days winning the mile first up in 2013.
Then finally there is Classique Legend who arrived in Asia’s World City approximately two weeks ago. He is receiving the necessary time to settle, as you would expect, following his sensational win in the TAB Everest at Randwick with his first leisurely trot witnessed on Friday 13th of November. Trainer Casper Fownes has not galloped him to this point but all being equal he will be there on the big day in December, with I believe either Kerrin McEvoy or local hoop Vincent Ho in the saddle.
R1 - 7,8,10,2,9
R2 - 1,8,5,2,12
“The Jockey Club Mile“
#2 Golden Sixty is emerging as a potential great of Hong Kong Racing with his record now reading 13 starts for 12 wins. There is still plenty for him to prove on the International stage but he has pretty much consistently covering the opposition on the domestic front in Hong Kong.
Today, he will again start deep deep in the red and only bad luck shall see him undone. It is worth pointing out the runner up to him last start ,Ka Ying Star, meets him 3lbs better at the weights, and certainly raced him competitively over the final 200m, but it is likely I am clutching at straws. With the world environment still shaky and travel less fluent it is difficult to predict who commits to the mile from the overseas contingent. Whoever they are they will want to be peaking as Hong Kong’s line up is again looking strong.
#3 Ka Ying Star is the aforementioned galloper who tested Golden Sixty last outing and does meet him better at the weights. Last year in this very race he positioned outside Beauty Generation as joint leader before shaking off the champ at the 200m, only thereafter to be cut down in the closings stages by today's absentee Waikuku. He has drawn perfectly this afternoon in gate two with the favourite underneath so it is almost impossible not seeing him lead, even if there is pressure from out wide. He will once again from a dictating position run a bold and brave race right to the line.
#7 Mighty Giant is the new addition to this generally predictable line up and his record justifies his inclusion. I was very impressed by his most recent victory when he added another string to his bow, sitting in with cover, opposed to leading or camping outside the speed. It is a massive leap going from Class 2 to Group 2, and 1400m to a mile so there are definite hurdles to clear. But he is a highly talented youngster that very much looks the part so jumping into the deep end must occur at some point.
#6 Champions Way draws the widest barrier in the small field and I would presume they will want the spot out side the leader, opposed to the one out and three back position. It is hard to envisage a successful bid at victory if he is coming from behind the odds on favourite, who clearly has him for a turn of foot. However from outside the leader he will kick strongly giving himself a better opportunity.
#1 Southern Legend was third in this race last year and the 8yo goes in to battle with a 5lbs penalty for winning the “Champions Mile” in April. I am strongly of the opinion they will not be looking for a hard run with the International's in December the ultimate goal, so they are likely to go back with the additional weight. Thereafter working in to the race nicely towards the end.
Selections : 2,3,7,6,1
R4 - 5,1,2,6,3
“The Jockey Club Sprint”
#7 Computer Patch now leans on the door of opportunity as he awaits his inaugural test against Hong Kong’s best sprinters under level weights.
There are no penalties applicable to any runner engaged in this mouth watering contest so it is pound for pound, stride for stride racing.
The son of Exceed And Excel began his Hong Kong career in Class 3 when he blasted home from near last to finish second off his then rating of seventy four. Today, eleven months down the track, he is contesting for a position amongst Hong Kong’s elite and ultimately the mantle of number one. He has drawn superbly and possess all the attributes to mix in from start to finish so I expect him to go close to claiming the crown.
#1 Hot King Prawn has little to prove as he pretty much has the score on the board, despite the fact he has never won a Group 1. Interestingly, he finished second in this race last year behind Aethero first up, before going on to finish second in the big one on International Day. This preparation John Size has allowed him the benefit of an extra race prior to his appointment in December. With that in mind along with the fact there is no Beat The Clock, Aethero, Mr Stunning or Thanks Forever he should have no excuses.
#2 Big Time Baby is well known for his high caliber sprinting on the All Weather track. However in his final start last season he stepped up a few notches recording a career best performance on turf in the last Group 1 of the season, the Chairman Sprint Prize. He has not been seen since that outstanding effort in April and is certainly an intriguing inclusion. His body weight is close to perfect and the two preparation trials have been excellent, but it is likely he will go in underdone. I am very nervous about leaving him out though.
#4 Wishful Thinker won for the first time since returning from Dubai back in March 2019 when he steam rolled the opposition first up in the Premier Bowl. New trainer Dennis Yip stripped him of his head gear (Blinkers) with the change paying massive dividends. It is by no means guaranteed he will reproduce that effort, but you can only go on what you see and I saw him go enormous.
#5 Rattan is the other that sprouted wings from downtown in the Premiere Bowl when carving out the second quickest final 400m. Admittedly, both Wishful Thinker and Rattan are worse off at the weights but what is in their favour is the high tempo expected early, along with the fact there running in form. Both can add real value to exotics if they over cook things up front.
Selections : 7,1,2,4,5
R6 - 10,8,7,3,5
“The Jockey Club Cup“
#1 Exultant thoroughly deserved his crown as Hong Kong’s “Horse Of The Year” last season and the super star stayer looks mighty hard to beat today. He returns to set weights, steps up in trip and has a formidable second up record, and if that does not convince you throw in his remarkable intestinal fortitude. What makes this thoroughbred such a star, outside the obvious and already mentioned, is his tactical versatility and turn of acceleration. The plan they will adopt today from gate nine, I believe, shall be less aggressive than perhaps normal.
With the big fish to be fried in December the last thing I would envisage is a potential gut buster from the outside gate. It would not surprise if Purton elects to get him moving down the back should they slacken but I would be gobsmacked if they gassed him early. Whatever the situation and despite the 5lbs penalty it is going to be a pleasure to watch him in action.
#3 Furore was at his brilliant best in the Ladies Purse when cutting loose with an overpowering turn of foot from the 400m to the line. The Hong Kong Derby winner from 2019 had somewhat of an up and down season last campaign when he was unable to win, but did record a super performance in the Group 1 QE 11 Cup behind Exultant. Today, he will meet the Horse Of The Year worse at the weights but has returned this season back near his brilliant best.
#8 Columbus County has always been spoken about in the highest regard by many a good judge and today we get to see where he’s at. He will certainly line up against the grain stepping from Class 2 to Group 2 plus rising in distance, which is no easy task. The positives read however that he is in fabulous form, has a smashing record second up and also receives the services of local star hoop Vincent Ho. Vincent Ho has not let anyone jump aboard his old mate Ho Ho Khan since February, but yet today he aborts that mount to ride this bloke, it is a tips in itself.
#6 Dances With Dragon was in career best form at the end of last season and he has since returned super competitive, all be it under handicap conditions. He will completely step out of his comfort zone today rising to the 2000m and in to the set weights scale, but yet he is drawn to do no work. With all that in mind the final analysis suggests he will struggle to win but it is hard to be critical.
#5 Ho Ho Khan has done very little wrong since his return in early October and this little fella has a heart the size of a lion. His overall ability sees him a fraction shy of what is required at this high and set weights level, which no doubt is the reason Vincent Ho has opted to ride elsewhere. But it’s worth knowing his sectionals last start were right up there with the best, so if he rips out a blinder under the weight, all of a sudden he will need to be reassessed.
Selections : 1,3,8,6,5
R8 - 4,2,8,9,11
R9 - 2,7,3,12,9
R10 - 4,10,7,3,1
Form for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The 10 race broadcast commences at 3.45pm AEST, 12.45pm HKT, on Sky Racing2, from 6.05pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and from 6.40pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and Thoroughbred Central.
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Click on the HKJC form guide banner for Racingandsports.com form and select race.
Buddies and Matthew Chadwick winning at Sha Tin last Sunday, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club