The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Saturday, November 14th, 2020:
RACE 1 PANASONIC NANOE HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:35.13 Standard Time: 1:34.85 Course/Class Record: 1:34.38
Winner: HAPPY WIN WIN (IRE 5yo g Zoffany – Meeting In Paris) was one horse taking some support on the betting markets and that confidence franked with French rider Antoine Hamelin giving the Irish bred a lovely ride sixth or seventh the outer and ready to pounce. Once he swept up at the corner it seemed obvious he would win, had them covered early in the run home with some left in the locker if needed. In what ended up being a dour final 300m he was far too good, breaking through for the first time for trainer Dennis Yip who has enjoyed some good success this season with his Class 5 stayers. Patience pays, start 24 for the career and win one, third time out this season after finishing fourth and ninth over 1600m in Class 4. That good old class drop to the bottom grade helps them all. He did win three from eight in Ireland up to 2000m so he will go further yet.
Runner-up: SHANGHAI DRAGON remains a maiden, gave this a good crack in front and brave when headed half-way down in fighting back to hold a comfortable second in the end. Much improved second up, his first up ninth on October 24 for the season was quite luckless when he was well backed so luck was taken out of play today and he was sent to the front. That much awaited victory must come in Class 5, he is not the worst going around in the grade.
Run Of The Race: HAPPY WIN WIN just dominant in the end and nothing really caught the eye as being a next time winner in behind him.
Disappointment: Both CIRCUIT NUMBER ONE and REGENCY GEM had their supporters with Joao and Zac on board respectively but neither a real threat today, the former running on a shade into fourth. GOLDEN GENERAL was vetted and blood found in the trachea.
Comparison: Around three-tenths outside of standard in quite a plainly run contest. Track looks terrific.
Market Mover: DAILY CHARM $33.20 to $16.30, HOME WIN $31.00 to $19.00
RACE 2 PANASONIC IH WARM JAR HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 0:57.08 Standard Time: 0:56.50 Course/Class Record: 0:55.07
Winner: FORTE (NZ 4yo g Per Incanto – Fleur De Lune) was well backed to win the race on debut off the back of a rather sharp trial for trainer Caspar Fownes and champion rider Joao Moreira made no mistake, guiding him along on the low part of the track from gate five, and too quick late. The Kiwi-bred was a $NZ370,000 yearling at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale and no surprise given his dam Fleur De Lune was a super mare herself taking the Group 1 Railways Stakes at Ellerslie in 2013 among six career wins. This fellow quickly follows in mum’s footsteps, he has lovely speed and already looks a rapid graduate through the grades in Hong Kong. He ran 22.74 the final 400m and no other horse got near that.
Runner-up: UNITED WE STAND scooted along with Jerry Chau’s 7lb claim and as he often does uses his tactical speed to get the chasers off the bit. He fought back ever so well today when the winner came at him but found him just too tough a nut to crack. That is three consecutive second placings for the sprinting son of Delago Deluxe, and fourth top three of the season from as many starts.
Run Of The Race: GLENEALY GENERALS also particularly good from gate one, he had a big job to do from there so to run third an excellent performance. Lots to like about the winner FORTE, it is easy for a horse to get lost on the low part of the track, and given this was his race debut and he is very inexperienced it added further gloss to his brilliant success. LITTLE PLAYER, who was held up at vital stages until into the clear was strong late into fourth, as too INFINITE POWER from some way back into fifth.
Disappointment: SPARKLING DOLPHIN found the rail out wide and was in the fast lane there, seemingly, but he failed to finish it off as well as he has in the past.
Comparison: Some way outside standard and unusually on the slow side for the 1000m chute.
Market Mover: UNITED WE STAND $4.10 to $3.00
RACE 3 PANASONIC 4K TV HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.38 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45
Winner: SUPER RED DRAGON (AUS 5yo g Starspangledbanner – Street Storm) capitalises on a very swift speed out in front and used his fitness to get home too strongly for them late in the race, a well-deserved win for a horse who had gone close to breaking through on a number of occasions, today being the day. Back and three wide with cover he was in the right spot as the leaders went to town on each other, gained a breather before the turn to sneak in one-off and gather his rhythm again, producing a strong bid through the centre to win well. Chris So and connections will be thrilled to get the first win with the standout grey, he is a crowd favourite in Hong Kong. Now regular rider Alexis Badel also rewarded for his three rides on the horse this term.
Runner-up: INNO LEGEND trailed fourth the fence but in a gap as Zac Purton did not want to chase a hectic battle in front of him. Steadily progressing coming to the turn he made his run but could not hold the flying grey over the final stages. This horse has not been able to win in four starts to date for Manfred Man but he shows good talent and that victory will come at any tick of the clock. He is a son of sprinting sire Nicconi.
Run Of The Race: SUPER RED DRAGON was wide and well back and gave them a beating so he must rate the top honours in this one. BREEZE OF SPRING must also gain a very honourable mention, scooted home strongly late in the middle of the track and his work suggests a 1400m to 1600m win is coming.
Disappointment: Debutant VECTOR was heavily backed to win race, taken on all the way by RHAPSODY who sat on his outside and never stopped annoying him. They both caved in after turning for home which was very disappointing for backers of the two well supported runners. Joao Moreira (RHAPSODY) said his mount was not able to relax in the middle stages.
Comparison: Outside standard and they really seemed to be flying in front so the track is on that dead side of good.
Market Mover: VECTOR $5.20 to $3.90
RACE 4 PANASONIC STEAM OVEN HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.84 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80
Winner: DIAMOND RHYME (AUS 6yo g Sebring – Keeper Quiet) breaks through on a day where those who have been good attendees without a whole lot of success have been gaining rewards. This guy had not been able to win in 19 starts in Hong Kong since arriving as a two-win horse out of Western Australia in 2016. A slow time for him since, his first start her back in May 2018 and two and half years later he salutes for the first time. Three trainers in that time. Francis Lui, Chris So, and now Frankie Lor the man who gets him past the post first. We can be sure they will all share a drink for a job well done. Money came for him interestingly, backed $10.00 to $6.00 on overseas markets and around the $7.00 mark on the tote after starting $54.00 some 13 days earlier.
Runner-up: MASTER HERO drew one but got back, Vincent Ho finding space to get him into the clear and power home very nicely in the middle of the track, a very good run from the debutant who was an expensive $NZ500,000 purchase out of the Premier Sale in New Zealand after his sister Savvy Coup was a Group 1 winner of the 2400m New Zealand Oaks. He was then on-sold for $HK 6 million at the 2020 International Sale in Hong Kong. His sister’s deeds should ensure this fellow gets more ground than today’s 1400m.
Run Of The Race: Another debut runner in SO AWESOME (Rip Van Winkle) was outstanding, left three-wide the trip when unable to get in from a wider gate, Joao Moreira had to sit quietly and wait and he would have been very impressed with what he got, the two-time New Zealand trial winner never flinching in running third and most would have given in the run he had. Big things ahead for him. ULTIMATE GLORY outstanding late from last, his 85th start so some just worlds apart in this race.
Disappointment: SMART WONGCHOY was well backed to win this under Jerry Chau, set terms in front and was one of the first beaten.
Comparison: Beats standard by 0.01 of a second, but it is inside. For the first time in a while.
Market Mover: SMART WONGCHOY $8.80 to $4.90, SUN SUN FA FA $15.00 to $10.00
RACE 5 PANASONIC AIR-CONDITIONER HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.51 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80
Winner: NAMJONG SINGS (AUS 5yo g Your Song – Breezing Home) gets another one for Alexis Badel who box seated this gelding one-one and awaiting his boarding call. Ironically, the son of Your Song is another of the ‘overdue’ horses in Hong Kong to break through today, this starts 16 as he registers win one for trainer Danny Shum who had been close to success today already, just not this close. Another really smart ride from an impressive jockey, Badel off and gone on the turn as his main dangers tried to track him up into the race but he pinched such a margin that they could never reel him in. Handy horse this, he’s looked vulnerable given he has not won until today, but he has had excuses at times, too. More than one win will follow.
Runner-up: CHEERFUL DAYS raced middle and back of middle, Zac Purton on the train as they improved coming towards the corner and he unleashed a nice sprint, although racing rather greenly inside the final 250m when he tended to duck in when under pressure. He started a warm favourite after impressing on debut when dashing home from well back in the field to run fourth over 1200m and the 1400m today expected to be super ideal. A son of Smart Missile and he is a good type.
Run Of The Race: Heavily backed and unlucky in the straight was third placed STUNNING IMPACT, checked in the straight after taking a long time to try and work his way clear. Looks like a progressive horse, a slow starter with seven unplaced runs under the belt already but finding his groove now. Paul O’Sullivan will enjoy success with this one, a son of Zoustar.
Disappointment: MOMENTUM HAPPY another well supported with Jerry Chau taking the 7lb claim but after racing on pace he quickly gave in, not Jerry’s day so far. Vetted, substantial blood in the trachea.
Comparison: Under standard two races in a row, a rarity over the past fortnight, really looked a solid pace and some quality types finished it off super strongly, too.
Market Mover: STUNNING IMPACT $7.20 to $5.50
Suspended: Zac Purton (CHEERFUL DAYS) careless riding near the 150m, two days starting December 2.
RACE 6 PANASONIC WASHING MACHINE HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:34.89 Standard Time: 1:34.70 Course/Class Record: 1:33.78
Winner: CASAMIRO (IRE 6yo g Casamento – Glyndebourne) was simply great in winning this sat a conspicuous last in the big field, came widest on the turn, widest at the 300m and ran straight past the entire field. And not without some heavy betting support, markets all had taken a hit on him from a wide 21.00 to $7.80 at the close on the HK tote, which is a big market move in pools of this magnitude. He had been plain on occasions for Paul O’Sullivan but always a horse that promised to deliver. Just one win from 27 starts before today, also at Sha Tin at 1400m in February this year. He was a two-time winner in Great Britain and Ireland before joining up with Dennis Yip in Hong Kong, O’Sullivan taking over in January this year.
Runner-up: ALL FOR ST PAUL’S puts behind him a really poor run on October 24 to bounce back with one you can expect from him, leading and fighting all in sundry off in his best style, pounced on very late by Casamiro. Frankie Lor must have corrected that issue quickly; he was strong today. A win and two placings from four starts this season, that is what you usually get. Would love to see him head back to Happy Valley, just the one start there in the past and he failed.
Run Of The Race: CASAMIRO sits last, swoops wide and beats them all. Nothing could match that, you give them all a start and a beating you deserve to win. SEAWEED FORTUNE strong late as you expect from him, another nice run, as too from FAMILY LEADER who was making good ground late from some way off them.
Disappointment: Far from disappointing, but disappointed for a decent trip in transit was DECISIVE ACTION, his performance a real eye-catcher, three and four wide and luckless when never really getting settled he maintained a strong gallop wide and was still running through the line strongly the final 100m. Punters will be well in his corner next time around.
Comparison: Just outside standard this time, race run at a muddling pace, a few were keen to go faster back in the field.
Market Mover: CASAMIRO $19.50 to $9.40
RACE 7 THE PANASONIC CUP HANDICAP HK $3,000,000
Class 1 – Rating 110-85 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.80 Standard Time: 1:21.15 Course/Class Record: 1:19.92
Winner: BUDDIES (AUS 5yo g So You Think – Gladwell) cannot be given a cheap lead without a partner to push him and be expected to come back to them. Just perfectly rated in front by Matthew Chadwick for trainer Tony Cruz, the So You Think gelding as good a front-runner as there is in Hong Kong and today they played into hands, leaving him with too much left in the tank when the pressure came on. The understated winner of seven from just 20 starts he boasts a record of a horse who should have a greater reputation than he does. Now, they will be careful not to hand another one to him as they did here. Full marks to Chadwick for his ride.
Runner-up: LUCKY EXPRESS charged late, ran a slick last 400m but after being caught out in a sprint home just had too much ground to make up. He ran a race-best 21.85 the final 400m and was never close enough to threaten the winner. Going well this horse, John Size has been really patient and it is paying and will pay dividends.
Run Of The Race: Ride of the race? Chadwick did them no favours with a well-executed ride to put them away. 10 out of 10 for him. Off the clock both LUCKY EXPRESS and BAND OF BROTHERS were particularly good.
Disappointment: SUPER WEALTHY perhaps slightly below expectations, but again, another caught in a sprint home and he would have enjoyed a tempo better than even.
Comparison: So well ridden this horse, six-tenths and more above the standard and the race is over, well pinched, really.
Market Mover: CIRCUIT GLORY $17.70 to $8.70
RACE 8 PANASONIC THERMO VENTILATOR HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 0:56.75 Standard Time: 0:56.35 Course/Class Record: 0:54.89
Winner: PING HAI BRAVO (AUS 4yo g Red Dazzler – Mountain Bluebird) started his career in January this year and he is ending it in great style, fitter for three off the season’s break he was at peak today and chased down the red-hot favourite to win at long odds, somewhat surprising the price given his record. Maybe some mixed form in the three starts this term had put punters on edge with him, John Size opting to reduce the distance from 1200m back to the 1000m for the first time in his career and it worked a treat. Powerful bid to come from the low side of the track to grab victory late under that man Alexis Badel, a winning treble for him on the card and further exemplifying his quality as a rider. He has a real knack on front runners and back runners, seems to adapt quickly to each horse’s needs. This horse ran a slick 22.33 the last 400m and clearly superior to the rest.
Runner-up: JOYFUL FORTUNE is sent around at $1.30 after giving them a hiding in his debut in Hong Kong back in July. Since impressive in his late October barrier trial success again expected today. He loafed a bit in the middle of the track today and just looked a little less at ease. He managed to get himself to the outside rail late on debut in the easier Class 4 and that was comfortable for him, today out of that same comfort zone, yet very brave in defeat. He looked beaten two or three times in the final 400m and kicked hard. He will bounce back.
Run Of The Race: Worth a mention BALLISTIC WHISPER from last in 22.71 a smart final 400m split from him in doing good work. Winner PING HAI BRAVO exceptional. BABY might be one to watch, did well final stages.
Disappointment: SPARKLING KNIGHT drew wide which is usually best place at the 1000m on the outside rail. He raced handy but soon beaten Wide on the track did not play like the fast lane today, however. Vetted, substantial blood found in the trachea.
Comparison: Run four-tenths outside standard and they seemed to be pinging along. Not the same fire up the chute today.
Market Mover: JOYFUL FORTUNE $1.60 to $1.30
RACE 9 PANASONIC IH COOKER HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 85-60 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.55 Standard Time: 1:21.65 Course/Class Record: 1:20.62
Winner: BEAUTY RUSH (AUS 5yo Helmet – Syncopated) wins for John Size and he can thank this wonderful front-running rider Vagner Borges for his services, a terrific exhibition of how to judge pace on a leader once again from this skilled South American. He really has a knack for it. Borges buttoned the son of Helmet on and off through the run, waited with a handful of horse at the corner and booted away, never really in doubt. Alexis Badel had led and won on this horse earlier this year at this track and distance and it was really a case of déjà vu – just a different jockey. Wins are getting harder to find for the hoops with class acts like Badel and Borges on board, and trainers recognise their skills, the two standout riders today kept busy on race day. A top training effort from Size to have the former four-time Australian winner ready to go first up since July.
Runner-up: INVINCIBLE MISSILE tracked them about sixth fence from gate one, gained the rails run in the straight and boxed on strongly to take second. Never hinted at any stage that he would beat the winner but an honest performance again. Three times he has found the line well at 1400m this season and trainer Chris So must be toying with the idea of a look at a mile. This horse has been restricted to 1200m and 1400m but he races like he is now ready to tackle the extra distance.
Run Of The Race: CIRCUIT THREE was incredible coming from last out very wide into third. There was no way he could be in it on the home turn but in firing a 22.57 final 400m he blitzed most of the field in flying home. Into perspective BEAUTY RUSH ran 23.66 his last 400m to win. This horse won three in a row January to March this year all at 1400m at Sha Tin. Tony Cruz has waited for the son of Savabeel, this his first start of the season and a scorcher it was. In for a big year. CRAIG’S STAR well back from wide draw, nice late work without threat.
Disappointment: THE CROWN was plain in the straight, had a good run in behind the leader and just failed to fire in the run home. Just two starts in Hong Kong and finding his feet after looking very promising winning two from two in New Zealand as “Conga Doon” for Fraser Auret, including the listed Wanganui Guineas. Vetted, no findings.
Comparison: Under standard, which in current terms is particularly good work.
Market Mover: BEAUTY RUSH $17.70 to $9.30, CRAIG’S STAR $11.90 to $6.70
RACE 10 PANASONIC IH COOKER HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 85-60 - Turf ‘C + 3’ Course – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:47.44 Standard Time: 1:47.35 Course/Class Record: 1:46.18
Winner: BEAUTY ANGEL (GB 4yo g Dark Angel – Handana) chalks up win four in a row, three this season as the UK import continues to show his class as he rises in both grade and quality. Thumbs his nose at them again today, led easily under Joao Moreira from a nice low draw, dictated terms and kicked too strongly, once again at 1800m which has become his absolute pet trip having taken each of his four victories at this exact distance. Tony Cruz may have wondered a bit earlier with this horse, he was struggling to find his mark in Class 4. But there was a point in time where it all turned and now it is a case of don’t look back. A 270,000 Guineas purchase as a yearling he was unraced in the UK and later on sold for $HK 2.7 million at the International Sale in Hong Kong in 2019.
Runner-up: NATURAL STORM trailed the speed from barrier one off the back of some very solid betting support late in the piece, angled out to make his run off the corner but never really looked like wearing down the winner who kept kicking. Solid effort after breaking through to win impressively at Sha Tin over 1800m in Class 4 on October 11, his second win in nine starts. The Kiwi bred is by Pins out of a race winning O’Reilly mare - that cross has led to many a good winner out of New Zealand over the years. This horse bought by Ricky Yiu for $NZ420,000 at the Karaka Sales in 2018.
Run Of The Race: Since rising to 1800m TEMPEST EXPRESS has shown some good things and his run here a strong one finishing off well under Karis Teetan in just his fourth start in Hong Kong. Yet to find a place but that is coming, the former Aussie-trained galloper known as ‘Napster’ was twice a winner from three starts for Joseph Pride in Sydney before joining John Size. FLYING MIGHTY and CINQUANTE CINQ both making good ground from back of middle.
Disappointment: Not a lot went right for a well-supported SUPER ELEGANCE, drew the car park and Zac found a few traffic troubles from there, wide then going back to near last. Never in the contest at the top of the straight but his final furlong was as good as any. A forgive run.
Comparison: Just above the standard and quite normal as the times have suggested all day long.
Market Mover: BEAUTY ANGEL $3.10 to $2.50, NATURAL STORM $8.50 to $4.60
Buddies and Matthew Chadwick, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club