The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021:
Race 1 – The Argonaut Plate, HK $850,000
Griffin Race – Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 57.06 Standard Time: 56.60 Course/Class record: 56.00 Lifeline Pals
Winner: CORDYCEPS SIX (AUS 2yo g Star Turn – Sandcastles) was sent around as a $108 chance but made it look easy. He sat just off the pace down the 1000m straight at Sha Tin before hitting the lead with 250 metres to run. He was very green and ran about in the straight, causing some of his rivals to check off his heels, but he went on to win by three quarters of a length on the line.
Runner-Up: TURBO POWER was actually next to Cordyceps Six in the running. Cordyceps Six quickened a bit faster than Turbo Power and was able to establish a break that in the end would be too big. Turbo Power was actually taking ground away from the winner in the concluding stages of the race. A nice horse going forward.
Run Of The Race: SUPER KINGDOM ran a very nice race and looks to be a promising horse heading into next season. He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing when racing but he still ran a great race albeit all over the track.
Disappointment: HK DRAGON started as $3.70 second favourite and never looked likely in the running. He had every opportunity to grab the leaders but didn’t offer much in the straight and fell back to finish seventh.
Comparison: Outside standard time in what was a messy affair with horses running all over the track.
Race 2 –Isle Of Man Handicap, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 56.26 Standard Time: 56.50 Course/Class record: 55.07 Joyful Fortune
Winner: KA YING SPIRIT (AUS 3yo g Rubick – Search The Stars) jumped from barrier two, but the other runners all huddled toward the outside rail. He was forced to make his way across the track to sit just off the pace without cover. He ambled up to the leaders as if he was going to explode and win by many lengths, but he was forced to work hard for his victory by the runner up, with the final margin being a short head.
Runner-Up: CORRIENTHES jumped fast out of the barriers and made the swift decision to move across to the outside rail and sat outside the leader. He was gallant in defeat, as it looked as though the winner would run past him, Corrienthes continued to fight and would only narrowly finish second.
Run Of The Race: AUGUST MOON was another who kept finding through the line. He was very tough in defeat and may be in the winners stall soon.
Disappointment: CARRY THE DIAMOND had a very cosy run in transit and was primed to run well down the outside rail, but was only fair through the line to be beaten by four and a half lengths.
Comparison: Just inside standard time in an evenly run affair.`
Race 3 – Special Cargo Handicap, HK $750,000
Class 5 – Turf – Distance 2000m – Track Good
Time: 2:01.58 Standard Time: 2:03.15 Course/Class record: 2:01.56 Gorgeous Again
Winner: MCMUNIGAL (IRE 6yo g Epaulette – Picture Of Lily) was able to get into a brilliant spot during the run after jumping from barrier two. He was able to settle in third on the rails and was able to get across the leader’s heels and pull to the outside as they entered the straight. He stayed on well down the stretch and recorded a length and a quarter victory.
Runner-Up: THE JOY OF GIVING was sitting midfield in the running and was on the back of the eventual winner as they straightened. He chased hard through the final 400m but was unable to make sufficient ground, having to settle for second.
Run Of The Race: MCMUNIGAL was only 0.02 seconds outside the course record in a scintillating display.
Disappointment: JIMMU was back of midfield and looked to have the race in his grasp with the good tempo set up front. But he only plugged his way down the straight to finish ninth and not justify his $4.90 quote.
Comparison: Fast run race just under record time.
Race 4 – Manicou Handicap, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.06 Standard Time: 1:09.25 Course/Class record: 1:08.45 Winston’s Lad
Winner: JADE PHEONIX (NZ 4yo g Per Incanto – Our Prized Rose) was pushed along early by Karis Teetan to take up a front-running position after starting from a wide gate. He was caught wide for some time before being able to take up the lead with 700 metres left to run. He was made to fight for his victory down the straight but got up to win by a neck on the line.
Runner-Up: RHAPSODY was scrubbed up as they left the barriers to take up a forward position one off the rails. He was about a length off the leader as they head into the straight and levelled up with the leader with 200 metres to go. He fought hard but was unable to get past the eventual winner but had kicked away to beat third comfortably.
Run Of The Race: TEAM GOODLUCK was one of the only horses to make up ground from the back of the field down the straight, running a lightning 22.92 seconds for the final 400 metres.
Disappointment: SHADOW RUNNER was settled in a great spot just off the speed and down on the rails but was unable to offer anything when they straightened. He faded to finish ninth, beaten 8 lengths.
Comparison: Inside standard time with good tempo up front.
Market Mover: TRONIC MIGHTY $61 into $5.60
Race 5 – Norman Conqueror Handicap, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1600m – Track Good
Time: 1:34.46 Standard Time: 1:34.70 Course/Class record: 1:33.78 Morethanlucky
Winner: ULTRA EXPRESS (NZ 4yo g Power – Court In The Park) was sent out as favourite and was in behind the pace from the inside draw. He was forced to hug the rail as they straightened and was only able to get clear galloping room with 250m left to run. He ran home strongly over the concluding stages to win by a length and a quarter.
Runner-Up: there was a dead heat for second between ROBOT WARRIOR and COPARTNER ERA. COPARTNER ERA was well back in the running. Alexis Badel was using the whip a long way from home and was superb down the straight, sticking on well, especially late in the race to finish second. ROBOT WARRIOR was on the back of the favourite and eventual winner the entire race and essentially copied his every move. Sticking to the rails during the run and around the turn.
Run Of The Race: MORE THAN A HORSE was stone cold last in the running and has absolutely flashed home down the outside of the course to finish fourth.
Disappointment: DANDY YEARS was well positioned in the run but didn’t offer a sprint when asked under the urgings of Matthew Poon.
Comparison: Inside standard time in a race went quick between the 1200m and 800 metres, before slowing the pace and then sprinting over the last 400m.
Market Mover: COPARTNER ERA $61 into $15
Race 6 – Monaveen Handicap, HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.56 Standard Time: 1:21.85 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair.
Winner: LOVE ME MORE (NZ 4yo g Sacred Falls – Love Me Not) was in the middle of the pack in the running, working his way along the rail to get closer to the leaders. He was tightened for room as the passed the 200m point, but once he got clear air, he let down beautifully to record a length and a quarter victory.
Runner-Up: SUPER RED DRAGON jumped from barrier 12 and was shifted behind runners early to settle in last place. He stuck to the rail as they turned, and he was still some eight or nine lengths from the leader with 300m left to run. He then went from being on the rail, to the widest runner in the straight and kept coming to finish second.
Run Of The Race: SUPER RED DRAGON has to be run of the race after a showing like that. He ran the fastest last 400m by a long way, running down the straight in 22.68.
Disappointment: VUKAN was sent out as $3.50 second favourite and loomed as though he was in for a barnstorming finish. But he was only fair to the line, finishing sixth.
Comparison: Inside standard time where they went hard early.
Market Mover: VUKAN $11 into $3.50
Race 7 – The Queen Mother Memorial Cup (Handicap), HK $3,500,000
Group 3 – Turf – Distance 2400m – Track Good
Time: 2:28.14 Standard Time: 2:26.20 Course/Class record: 2:24.60 Viva Pataca
Winner: BUTTERFIELD (BRZ 5yo g Setembro Chove – Londrinita) was able to get a lovely run in transit, sitting third along the rails, following the leader wherever he went. The pace slackened mid race and he was able to have a breather before the straight. He was able to get a split between runners down the straight and wound up well to score by a short head on the line.
Runner-Up: CHARITY FUN made it a Danny Shum quinella. Alexis Badel made a run around the field with 1100 metres to run to give him a chance of winning the race. He stayed on gamely down the straight and was able to fight off everyone except the eventual winner.
Run Of The Race: Alexis Badel almost won the race for CHARITY FUN with his mid-race move.
Disappointment: RUSSIAN EMPEROR was sent out as a $3.30 favourite and had a lovely run during the event. He didn’t stick on down the straight though, falling back over the last 200m to be beaten by three and a quarter length on the line.
Comparison: Way outside standard time in a sit and sprint style affair.
Market Mover: PACKING WALTHAM $51 into $8.80
Race 8 – Game Spirit Handicap, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.86 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.31 E Star
Winner: THE HULK (AUS 5yo g Spirit Of Boom – Friendly Glow) jumped fairly and was sat midfield along the rails during the event. He stuck to the rails around the turn and as they straightened, sprinting well when asked for an effort and winning by a length and a half.
Runner-Up: ALL IN MIND was situated in front of the eventual winner in the running, sitting just behind the leaders in what was a great spot to strike from. Upon straightening, Matthew Poon steered his mount to the outside and it quickened well when he asked for an effort. Unfortunately, he was no match for the winner and hung on to second in a photo finish.
Run Of The Race: STORM WARNINGS was gallant in defeat, leading the whole journey until the last 100m but didn’t go down without a fight. He ran a quick time, and a win looks close.
Disappointment: HURRY HURRY GAIN was $2.40 favourite before the race and looked in a good spot on the pace. He failed to make any impression on the leaders though as he finished last and was beaten 17 lengths. Despite this, Hurry Hurry Gain was found to have mucus in his throat following the run. So yes, it was disappointing, but he had genuine excuses and should be winning soon.
Comparison: The race was quickly run and inside standard time.
Market Mover: ALL IN MIND $14 into $8.20
Race 9 – Insular Handicap, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:47.09 Standard Time: 1:47.35 Course/Class record: 1:46.18 Glorious Forever
Winner: LOOKING GREAT (NZ 4yo g Holy Roman Emperor – Montwest) was out three-wide, but had cover after jumping from a wide barrier. He came to the middle of the track and ran well, pulling away over the concluding stages to win by a length and a quarter.
Runner-Up: CALIFORNIA TEN didn’t have much room to breathe in the running, surrounded by horses and was tucked up midfield along the rail. He stuck to the inside as the field straightened and charged home over the last 200m to steal second position.
Run Of The Race: VINCY broke a course record last time out and ran up to that standard again here today. He was a long way back and ran on very well down the straight to only be beaten by three lengths.
Disappointment: PARTERRE kicked clear before straightening and had the race run on his terms, leading for the entire event, but weakened out of the race to finish eleventh.
Comparison: Inside standard time in an evenly run event.
Market Mover: CALIFORNIA TEN $10 into $6.50
Race 10 – Game Spirit Handicap, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:08.90 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.31 E Star
Winner: DECISION TWELVE (AUS 4yo g All Too Hard – Kamarla Rose) was in a very comfortable spot in the running, sitting on the rails behind the leaders. He was able to stick to the fence when he straightened and sprinted well. He was challenged late but hold on to win by a short head.
Runner-Up: TRILLION WIN slowed out of the battle for the lead early and sat behind the pace. He let down well down the straight and was battling with the eventual winner over the last 100 metres but was unable to get past.
Run Of The Race: TORNADO TWIST ran on strongly in the straight after being back toward the rear of the field in the running.
Disappointment: BIG FORTUNE battled hard for the lead early on and it took its toll late in the race, being beaten by five and a half lengths.
Comparison: They were quick through the middle stages of the race and it showed as the leaders dropped back to finish toward the rear.
Market Mover: BIG BROOK $51 into $13
Race 11 – Inch Arran Handicap, HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:21.81 Standard Time: 1:21.35 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship
Winner: FANTASTIC TREASURE (AUS 3yo g Written Tycoon – Bambling) jumped well from barrier two and used it to his advantage, sitting on the leaders back early. He was able to get across the leader’s heels and into some clear air with 300 metres left to run. From there he let down beautifully and pulled away over the final stages to win well by two and a quarter lengths.
Runner-Up: COMPASSION SPIRIT broke quickly from the barriers and was able to get across and sit one horse off the fence and on the outside of the leader in the early stages of the race. He presented three-wide at the top of the straight but only plugged away down the straight.
Run Of The Race: FANTASTIC TREASURE won well and was eased up with 50 metres left to run. A nice horse moving forward.
Disappointment: ALL FOR SOUTH was able to lead comfortably but was a bit keen through the first half of the race. But he wasn’t able to finish the race off, falling back to sixth place.
Comparison: Behind standard time in a race where the early pace told on the field at the finish.
Market Mover: AMAZING NEWS $21 into $12
Butterfield and Matthew Poon (outside), picture Hong Kong Jockey Club