The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the Easter Monday meeting at Sha Tin, April 5th, 2020:
RACE – 1 LUGARD HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.70 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45 Winston’s Lad
Winner: PLEASANT ENDEAVOUR (AUS 3yo g Redoute’s Choice – Via Africa) jumped cleanly from gate four and managed to snag back and take a sit one out one back by the time they had covered 300m. Travelled sweetly in the middle stages before being revved up to start his run as they approached the turn. Pulled out to the centre of the track to let down with 300m to go and looked to be a bit one-paced. Got going late to just get the bob in on the line. Didn’t really look the winner at any stage until the final bound but makes it a promising start to the career with two wins from three starts.
Runner-Up: MONSTER KAKA pounced out of the machine from gate eight and managed to sit mid-field one off the fence as they settled. Travelled nicely behind the eventual winner in the run and took a gap in between runners when they straightened. Got his nose in front not far from the line but was just pipped in the shadows of the post.
Run Of The Race: SIGHT HERO had to do a bit of work to cross to the lead from gate 12 and was headed early in the straight. Was still in the fight when the whips were cracking and finished a close-up third. Beaten half a length and certainly wasn’t disgraced.
Disappointment: WON BALL was well-supported at $6.4 but never got on the track and faded to finish 12th
Comparison: Slower than standard with the first four all racing in the top half of the field.
Market Mover: THUNDERSTRIKE $16 to $8.9
RACE – 2 THE PEAK HANDICAP, HK $3,000,000
Class 1 – Rating 90+ - Turf – Distance 2000m – Track Good
Time: 2:01.92 Standard Time: 2:01.15 Course/Class Record: 1:59.66 Dark Dream
Winner: GLORIOUS DRAGON (IRE 6yo g Teofilo – Tipperary Honor) was slow to leave the barriers from gate eight and went back to the tail of the field as they left the straight the first time. Over raced a little down the back straight but eventually got into a nice rhythm third last on the fence. Got into a bumping duel with Helene Leadingstar over the last 300m but found clear air late and surged over the top of them. He is very consistent over this track and distance with three wins and four placings from 12 starts and Poon has now had three steers for two wins.
Runner-Up: BUTTERFIELD jumped evenly from gate four and sat one out one back for the majority of the trip. Got going as they hit the lane and looked the winner 150m out but was run down late and found one better on the day. Was well-found in betting but just missed for his investors.
Run Of The Race: The run of GLORIOUS DRAGON was full of merit coming from well back in the field. Special mention to HELENE LEADINGSTAR who wasn’t afforded much room in the straight.
Disappointment: TIME WARP was well in the market and managed to steal some soft sectionals after finding the front. Faded late to finish sixth beaten over three lengths.
Comparison: Much slower than standard with the leader walking in the middle stages. Adds even further credit to the run of the winner who came from well back in the run.
Market Mover: BUTTERFIELD $5 to $3.30
RACE – 3 THE CHAIRMAN’S TROPHY, HK $4,500,000
Group 2 – Open – Turf – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:35.06 Standard Time: 1:33.50 Course/Class Record: 1:32.64 Beauty Generation
Winner: MIGHTY GIANT (NZ 5yo g Power – Wanderov) missed the kick from gate two but was driven up along the fence to take an easy lead after travelling 400m. Stole some very cheap sectionals in the middle stages before being clicked up to go quicker as they approached the turn. Let down for a final sprint in the straight and held off all challenges in what was a fairly soft victory. They let Callan dictate terms in front and he took full advantage in the small field.
Runner-Up: SOUTHERN LEGEND jumped well out of gate four and was happy to sit outside the leader and eventual winner as they dawdled up front. Was asked for an effort upon straightening but they let the leader get away with it in front and he grinded away for another honest second. That’s four consecutive seconds and you wouldn’t begrudge him a victory shortly.
Run Of The Race: We’ll rename this Ride Of The Race with Callan pulling their pants down in front. He was pretty happy with himself too as they crossed the line.
Disappointment: WAIKUKU jumped a long odds-on favourite but disappointed to finish last, beaten by over 18 lengths. Something was obviously not right.
Comparison: Much slower than standard with Callan stealing the Group 2.
Market Mover: WAIKUKU $2.10 to $1.60
RACE – 4 LUGARD HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.61 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class Record: 1:08.45 Winston’s Lad
Winner: TRADER (AUS 3yo g Unencumbered – Choose Wisely) sprung out of gate 11 to cross them easily and be in front after only travelling 150m. Came back underneath Purton as they settled and managed to get a bit of a breather along the back. Got pestered a little by Hot Chili Pepper turning for home but shrugged off that challenge and really let down strongly over the final 300m. Got a little bit tired over the final stages but was entitled to. A very impressive winner on debut.
Runner-Up: PARTY GENIUS was snagged back from gate nine and settled second last on the fence after travelling 400m. Pinched a few positions along the rails as they turned but was still a long way off the leader with 400m to go. Really motored home late but a win was never likely. Has now placed two of his past three starts and is nearing a victory.
Run Of The Race: Hard to split the top two. TRADER showed plenty of early pace to navigate across from the wide draw and was softened up a bit during the middle stages. PARTY GENUIS reeled off some nice sectionals late and probably finishes closer with a lower draw.
Disappointment: No real disappointments with the top two in betting justifying their quotes.
Comparison: Slightly slower than standard with the winner burning the candle at both ends.
Market Mover: TRADER $3 to $1.9
RACE – 5 HARLECH HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.38 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.32 E Star
Winner: REGENCY BO BO (NZ 7yo g Denman – Tsukioka) wasn’t the best away from the inside gate but was punched along the fence to settle mid-field just off the speed. Travelled sweetly as they turned and managed to get one off the fence to track the favourite Killer Bee into the straight. Got off his back 300m out and let down for one final surge. Was lifted over the line late in a stirring battle between Purton and Moreira, not dissimilar to many jockey premierships of recent years. He had been consistent without winning this campaign but breaks through for a well-deserved victory.
Runner-Up: KILLER BEE was given a squeeze out of barrier eight and slotted in perfectly one out one back upon settling. Travelled kindly under Joao in the middle stages before being switched to the outside of the two leaders and cruising past them with 300m to go. Let down strongly but was just out bobbed on the post. Certainly wasn’t disgraced in defeat.
Run Of The Race: DECISIVE TWELVE had a soft run in behind the leaders but only got out late in the piece and should’ve finished closer.
Disappointment: No disappointments with the top three in betting filling the frame.
Comparison: Just outside standard in an evenly run affair.
Market Mover: KILLER BEE $2.5 to $1.9
RACE – 6 PEEL HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.53 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class Record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair
Winner: SUPER WINNER (NZ 5yo g Guillotine – Cinnadream) jumped cleanly from the inside barrier and pushed up along the fence to take a comfortable lead after travelling 300m. Got into a lovely rhythm in the middle stages and came back underneath Moreira nicely as they approached the turn. Looked to be doing it easily 300m from home before Gracylove set out after him in the final stages. Held off all challenges in a perfectly rated front-running ride. Racing in career-best form with three wins and a second from his past four starts.
Runner-Up: GRACYLOVE jumped in the first few from gate six but was able to balance up and take a sit in behind the leaders on the fence. Tracked the winner along the rails the majority of the trip before pulling to the outside and letting down for one final sprint over the last 400m. Kept coming in the straight but the bird had flown. Has now finished runner-up at his past two starts and should be breaking through soon.
Run Of The Race: SUPER RED DRAGON had to settle a few pairs further back than the first two but let down strongly late and may be looking for further now.
Disappointment: Again, no disappointments with the first four finishing in market order and all running up to expectations.
Comparison: Slightly faster than standard as the winner dictated terms from the outset.
Market Mover: SUNNY BABY $21 to $11
RACE – 7 SEVERN HANDICAP, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:34.60 Standard Time: 1:34.70 Course/Class Record: 1:33.78 Morethanlucky
Winner: MALDIVES (NZ 4yo g Burgundy – Celtic Dream) jumped in the back half of the field from gate three and settled second last on the fence after travelling 300m. Pinched a few runs along the rails as they turned for home but still had plenty of ground to make up when they straightened. Had a wall of horses in front of him but Shinn was patient and the gaps presented 300m from home. Cruised to the front but wanted to switch off late and veer away from the fence. Could have won by a lot further if he had run through the line.
Runner-Up: EL JEFE was averagely away from gate six and settled mid-field on the fence after travelling 400m. Managed to get off the fence as they turned and found a gap through the centre of the pack two furlongs from home. Got into a bumping duel 250m out while the winner cruised past him and put up a gap. Knuckled down again late when Maldives was wayward but a win never looked likely.
Run Of The Race: Hard to go past MALDIVES who made up a stack of ground before switching off late. Is a chance to go on with it if he can concentrate in the final stages of his races.
Disappointment: VUKAN jumped $4 favourite but faded for ninth beaten six lengths.
Comparison: Pretty much bang on standard adding merit to the winner’s withering burst.
Market Mover: VUKAN $6 to $4
RACE – 8 HARLECH HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.17 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class Record: 1:08.32 E Star
Winner: HURRY HURRY GAIN (AUS 3yo g Press Statement – Stolen Girlfriend) pinged out of the barriers but opted to ease back to try and find some cover in the early stages. Was just about to settle one out one back but copped a bit of a check and lost ground suddenly to find himself mid-field three-wide 600m to go. Had to balance up to get going again as they turned and looked to be under heavy riding 400m to go. Continued to let down under pressure down the centre of the track to just nab Sky Show on the post. A remarkable effort from a horse having only his third start. Has now had two wins and a second from three starts and looks to have plenty of upside.
Runner-Up: SKY SHOW jumped well from out wide and was driven up to initially sit outside the leader before surging to the front. Led them into the lane and gave a good kick 300m from home but the winner was way too classy.
Run Of The Race: HURRY HURRY GAIN had everything go wrong for him during the run and you were entitled to have ripped up your ticket as they straightened. An extremely brave effort to even be in the finish at all, let alone salute.
Disappointment: KA YING MASTER led early doors only to hand up to Sky Show after travelling 400m. Had the run of the race behind the eventual second placegetter but faded late to finish last beaten a long way. Was too bad to be true.
Comparison: Just outside standard which furthers the herculean effort of the winner.
Market Mover: MIG ENERGY $21 to $12
RACE – 9 THE SPRINT CUP, HK $4,500,000
Group 2 – Open– Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.24 Standard Time: 1:08.40 Course/Class Record: 1:07.50 Sacred Kingdom
Winner: AMAZING STAR (NZ 6yo g Darci Brahma – Bright Abyss) pounced out of the barriers to lead but was restrained to sit just in behind them on the fence after travelling 200m. Copped a bit of a check and ended up three pairs back on the rails 600m from home. Cruised along the fence and then pushed off four and five wide with 300m to go and let down strongly to grab them on the line and defy his starting price of $179. Was only beaten half a length in a Group 3 race three runs back but this is a career best. A massive blow out for punters.
Runner-Up: STRONGER jumped mid-field from gate eight but had to be jagged back to find a position one off the fence in last few. Had a wall of horses in front of him when they straightened and he still wasn’t in clear air until the final 150m. Savaged the line late to just go under. A massive performance to get as close as he did and a feature race win is not far off.
Run Of The Race: STRONGER really only got a look at them in the final stages and was very unlucky not to bring up a Group 2 victory.
Disappointment: SKY FIELD jumped second favourite but could only manage ninth beaten five lengths.
Comparison: Just inside standard which franks the performance of Stronger.
Market Mover: SKY FIELD $6 to $4.7
RACE – 10 HOMESTEAD HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.80 Standard Time: 1:21.65 Course/Class Record: 1:20.62 Preciousship
Winner: PRIVATE ROCKET (IRE 5yo g Dark Angel – Love In The Desert) jumped in the first couple from gate 11 and was hunted up to eventually cross to the rail as they turned. Sat third on the fence as they backed off the speed up front and travelled sweetly for Chau before being shifted three off the fence when they hit the lane. Cruised up to the leaders 300m from home and hit the front but was soon chased by Kasi Farasi. Looked to have to settle for second but found a kick late and held them off in the final stages with the claim being the difference.
Runner-Up: KASI FARASI jumped evenly from gate two and got into a nice rhythm for Moreira mid-field the fence. Got one off the rails as they turned and shifted to the centre of the track to set out after the leaders. Looked to have the win in his grasp but the winner just found a little extra late to stave off the challenge. Couldn’t have been given a better ride by Joao but the winner was too good on the night.
Run Of The Race: PERFECT TO GREAT settled in the back third of the field in the run but made up many lengths in the closing stages and may be looking for further now.
Disappointment: KA YING EXCELLENT was backed late but finished 11th beaten more than 10 lengths.
Comparison: Just outside standard in an evenly run race.
Market Mover: KA YING EXCELLENT $13 to $10
Mighty Giant and Neil Callan, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club