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The Davis Files - Sha Tin review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, October 10th, 2021:

Race 1 – Chung On Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – All Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Wet Slow

Time: 1:10.26 Standard Time: 1:09.40 Course/Class record: 1:08.46 Trillion Treasure 

Winner: LITTLE BIRD (AUS 8yo g Starcraft – Libor Lady) jumped on terms and was pushed along straight out of the gates by Chad Schofield but didn’t muster under Schofield’s riding. He raced six horses wide down the back straight and was still four-wide and without cover as they entered the turn. Schofield kept him wide and out of the kickback on a wet All Weather surface, entering the straight toward the middle of the track. He stuck on well despite the wide run in transit and got to the lead in the dying stages. He was head-and-head with The Elites over the final 50m and got his nose down on the line to win by a Nose in a tight photo finish.

Runner-Up: THE ELITES used the inside draw to his advantage after being just a tough slow into stride. He was able to muster well under Vagner Borges and settle just off the pace but along the running rail. He was able to get onto the back of the leaders as they turned into the straight with most of his rivals heading wide and Borges found clear running early in the straight, getting to work on the gelding. He fought with the eventual winner over the final 50m but was forced to settle for second in a tight photo finish, with third another 1-1/4 lengths behind.

Run Of The Race: REGENCY GEM was a very eye-catching run from the back of the field. He missed the kick and then did not muster speed despite being ridden up by Alex Badel. He became detached from the field and was a whopping 9-3/4 lengths off the lead with 400m to go. He rocketed home down the outside of the track to grab an eye-catching third position, with no reason for his unusual beginning mentioned in the steward’s report.

Disappointment: GARLIC HERO started as the favoured runner of the race at $5 and jumped well to find a position one off the rail and stalking the pace. He came under pressure a long way from home though and was beginning to drift back from the 600m point. He was well back as they straightened and didn’t offer anything in the straight. Blake Shinn could not offer any reason for the poor performance, and a veterinary examination failed to find any abnormalities.

Comparison: Outside the standard time on the wet surface.

Market Mover: There was plenty of money around for GENERAL TRUMP and MASTERWORK late in betting.

Race 2 – Hoi Pa Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 56.10 Standard Time: 56.40 Course/Class record: 54.94 United We Stand 

Winner: SPARKLING KNIGHT (GB 5yo g Holy Roman Emperor – Connote) was quickly into stride from the favourable outside barrier and was pushed along early by Alfred Chan to take up a leading position along the outside running rail. He travelled well down the straight, holding the lead throughout and was still under a good hold as they passed the 400m pole. Chan asked for an effort at the 350m mark and he let down beautifully, pulling away from the field for an all-the-way victory in fine style by 1-3/4 lengths. 

Runner-Up: AMAZING ROCKY jumped well and was racing in line with the leader as he ran down the middle of the track. He travelled well in the middle stages as Victor Wong kept creeping his mount over toward the outside of the track. He sprinted well when asked by Wong, but just found one better on the day, finishing a clear second position with third a further 1.5 lengths behind.

Run Of The Race: It was a great front running ride by Alfred Chan to get SPARKLING LIGHT the win. He ran great time also, inside the standard time on a soft track. I’m keen to follow him through his next couple of starts.

Disappointment: SPICY SO GOOD started well in the market as an $8 chance and jumped slightly awkwardly from barrier 10 but had good pace in the early stages to settle on the inside of the leader. He was under pressure with 450m left to run but was left in his rival’s wake as he didn’t offer anything as Alex Badel pushed the button. He faded back through the field and eventually finished 11.5 lengths back in 11th position.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: SPICY SO GOOD was well tried late in betting.

Race 3 – Sha Tsui Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 1:22.24 Standard Time: 1:21.75 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Winner: THE ANOMALY (AUS 4yo g Real Impact – Lovely Rita) got away well from his middle draw and went straight to the lead under Keith Yeung, doing it all under his own steam. He was able to dictate out in front, setting only a moderate tempo throughout the early and middle stages of the race and wasn’t pressured in the lead. Despite the slow tempo, he had many of his rivals off the bit and chasing as they turned for home as Yeung kept the four-year-old under a hold. He worked through his gears well when Yeung asked for an effort, drawing away from the field to win comfortably by 0.75 lengths.

Runner-Up: STUNNING IMPACT was cleanly away from gate 10 and was sent forward initially by Karis Teetan, but he was then restrained to try and slot into a position. He was caught three-wide and without cover for the entire event, sitting just behind the leaders. He was under pressure shortly after straightening but was able to dig deep and keep fighting his way to the finish line, taking ground off the leader over the concluding stages to finish in a clear second position.

Run Of The Race: STUNNING IMPACT is the one I want to follow out of this race, sitting wide and without cover throughout, before being able to take stick on and be strong through the line to finish second. With a better draw in his next start, I’m sure he’ll be able to go one better.

Disappointment: GOOD BEAUTY started on the third line of betting at $10 but never played a major role in the race. He raced in the three-wide trail, sitting about midfield throughout the event. He had a clear run in the straight but couldn’t go on with the job, falling out of the race to finish in 10th position and beaten 4-1/4 lengths.

Comparison: Outside the standard time in a sit-and-sprint affair.

Market Mover: STUNNING IMPACT was well found late in betting, halving his quote to jump as the $3.10 second favourite.

Race 4 – Tai Ho Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 1:22.31 Standard Time: 1:21.95 Course/Class record: 1:21.53 Exponents

Winner: SOCCER MASTER (GER 6yo g Iffraaj – Neuquen) jumped well but didn’t muster despite Matthew Chadwick’s riding and eventually settled in a midfield position, one off the rail. He travelled well throughout the middle stages of the event and was able to close the gap to the leader around the turn. The sea’s parted when Chadwick entered the straight, easily finding clear air and came off heels to let down well and take the lead with 150m to run. He pulled away over the concluding stages and was strong through the line to win by three quarters of a length.

Runner-Up: BRAVE POWER jumped awkwardly and that saw him settle near the back of the field between runners. He travelled nicely under Matthew Poon, who began to improve his position on the point of the home turn. Poon was forced to go from one horse off the fence, all the way to the middle of the track with a wall of runners fanned out in front of him. He got clear air early in the straight and he began to get through his gears, exploding over the final 200m to run into an eye-catching second position. 

Run Of The Race: Despite Brave Power’s impressive second placing, I want to follow SOCCER MASTER out of this race. He enjoyed a lovely run in behind the speed and put in a good sprint down the stretch. It was partnered by a great Matthew Chadwick ride. 

Disappointment: LITTLE PLAYER started on the third line of betting as an $8.10 chance. He jumped well and settled in a great position under Blake Shinn. He travelled well through the middle stages, before Shinn shifted three-wide to make a move as they turned into a straight. He appeared to be making good ground early in the straight, but tired shortly after and fell back through the pack to end up in eleventh spot. He did pull up with genuine excuses though, with mucus found in his throat in a post-race endoscopic examination.

Comparison: Outside the standard time.

Market Mover: EVEN KEEL was the one punters wanted to back just prior to the start.

Race 5 – Tak Wah Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – All Weather – Distance 1650m – Track Wet Slow

Time: 1:40.35 Standard Time: 1:38.90 Course/Class record: 1:37.76 Gold Comet

Winner: THE MINT (AUS 5yo g The Factor – Classic Approach) jumped well and was ridden up by Matthew Chadwick in the early stages to cross and lead the field with 1400m remaining. He got into a nice rhythm down the back straight but was racing with the mouth ajar and kept the field running through the middle stages of the event. He had most of the field under a ride trying to chase him down with 500m to go, as Chadwick sat patiently on the gelding as they headed for home. He extended his lead when Chadwick asked for an effort and pulled away for an impressive post-to-post victory, with the margin being 2-3/4 lengths.

Runner-Up: LONDON LUCKYSTAR jumped on terms but had to be restrained as they passed the winning post on the first occasion as Karis Teetan tried to slot into a position. He was caught four-wide for a period of time, before Teetan pushed on to settle in the three-wide trail just worse than midfield. He was left without cover with 850m remaining but Teetan held his position. He was put under pressure with 450m to run and was out near the middle of the track as they straightened, but he kept on well and really let rip over the final 200m to finish in second position.

Run Of The Race: It’s hard to go past THE MINT as the run of the race. The time isn’t flash, but that can be due to the sloppy nature of the All Weather surface. He was impressive in winning and although he’ll go up in weight at his next start, I’m sure he’ll be winning again even with a drier surface.

Disappointment: FAIRY FLOSS jumped as the favourite but was forced to settle at the tail of the field after jumping from a wide barrier. He never featured in the race, always being well back and never running on in the straight, finishing 9.5 lengths away in 11th position. Joao Moreira could not offer any explanation for the disappointing effort, and a veterinary examination did not show any abnormalities.

Comparison: Way outside the standard time.

Market Mover: There was plenty of money thrown about late, with TOYCOON, SURE WIN WIN and EL VALIENTE all well backed just prior to the start.

Race 6 – The Yan Chai Trophy (Handicap), HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 1:21.81 Standard Time: 1:21.75 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Winner: HARMONY WIN WIN (NZ 5yo g Jakkalberry – Emma Savanna) was quickly into stride and Jerry Chau pushed on from the wide draw to take the lead with 1000m left to run. He travelled well through the middle stages as Chau slowed the pace around the turn. The rest of the field were under a ride as they turned into the straight, but Chau still had a strong hold of the five-year-old, only asking for maximum effort as they passed the 200m pole. He kept clear over the concluding stages, going on to win easily by 2.5 lengths.

Runner-Up: BREEZE OF SPRING jumped on terms and was able to get into a nice position just off the speed, with Joao Moreira getting the gelding to relax nicely through the early and middle stages of the event. Moreira elected to stay to the inside as they straightened, and a gap opened up for him early in the straight. The race was there for him to win if he was good enough, but he only grinded his way to the finish line, getting his nose in front in the shadows of the post to hold on to second position.

Run Of The Race: HARMONY WIN WIN was super impressive, pushing on from a wide draw and leading all the way to win in fine style. Jerry Chau rated him perfectly out in front to take out the trophy race, and with a better draw next time out, he may be able to repeat the dose.

Disappointment: SOLAR POWER missed the start, as he has become known to do, and was ridden up by Antoine Hamelin to sit outside of the leader. He travelled well around the turn, but tired shortly after straightening and was swallowed by the rest of the field, finishing 6-1/2 lengths away in ninth position. Not what you want to see out of a $5.50 chance.

Comparison: Just outside the standard time.

Market Mover: EMERALD SPUR and SOLAR POWER were both well tried before the start of the sixth event.

Race 7 – Tsuen Fu Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – All Weather – Distance 1650m – Track Wet Slow

Time: 1:39.17 Standard Time: 1:38.60 Course/Class record: 1:36.87 Hongkong Great

Winner: CHANCHENG PRINCE (USA 4yo g Carpe Diem – Bliss) jumped with the rest of the field and was ridden up out of the gates by Ruan Maia but was unable to cross the leaders and was forced to sit three-wide and without cover. He got into a nice rhythm down the back straight and was travelling well around the turn despite his tough run. Maia stated to go to work on the gelding with 450m to go and was already under the whip as they straightened. He hit the lead with 200m to go and pulled away from his opposition to win impressively by 2-3/4 lengths in a fantastic performance.

Runner-Up: ULTRA EXPRESS was a bit slow away and didn’t muster when ridden up and settled in second-last position. He never seemed comfortable in the running, with Moreira always needing to push the gelding along to keep in touch with the rest of the field. Moreira had the gelding under pressure a long way from home, weaving his way through traffic and was making good ground early in the straight. He was charging home and just peaked on his run over the final 100m, but he dug deep to run into second position.

Run Of The Race: ULTRA EXPRESS was very good from the back of the field, and if he’s able to get a better draw and a drier track next start, he may be able to go one better. If Moreira sticks with the gelding that’s an even bigger push to back him at his next start. 

Disappointment: GAMEPLAYER TIMES settled near the rear of the field after jumping from a wide draw, but never got into the race, only making up four spots in the straight to finish in seventh position in what was a disappointing run for the third favourite.

Comparison: Outside the standard time.

Market Mover: TRUE LEGEND, GAMEPLAYER TIMES and SPLENDID LIVING were all well-backed late in betting.

Race 8 – Tsuen Lok Handicap, HK $2,400,000

Class 2 – All Weather – Distance 1200m – Track Wet Slow

Time: 1:08.65 Standard Time: 1:08.25 Course/Class record: 1:07.27 Winner Supreme

Winner: SILVER FIG (AUS 7yo g Hard Spun – Bonifacio) was slow away and settled toward the back of the pack under Matthew Poon. The gelding travelled strongly through the middle stages and Poon improved his position on the turn and got out into the middle of the track as they straightened. He put in a good kick at the top of the straight, but he really let down with 250m to run, powering over the top of the leader and pulling away over the final stages to win by 1.5 lengths.

Runner-Up: KURPANY jumped on terms from the outside gate and mustered well despite being held together by Joao Moreira in the early stages. Moreira crossed to sit three-wide and without cover with 800m remaining. He travelled well around the turn and took the lead while still under a hold shortly after entering the straight. He battled away gamely but couldn’t hold off the hard-charging winner, finishing in a lonely second position, with third a further 2-1/4 lengths behind.

Run Of The Race: Kurpany put in an outstanding effort after racing three-wide and without cover after jumping from a wide barrier. With a more favourable draw next time out he can add another win to his tally.

Disappointment: HONGKONG GREAT didn’t return to his prior form first-up this campaign, running a disappointing eighth, beaten six lengths. Karis Teetan told stewards after the race that the gelding resented the kickback. Expect him to bouce back next start.

Comparison: Outside the standard time.

Market Mover: WINNER METHOD, CZARSON and PRIVATE ROCKET were the ones punters wanted just prior to the jump.

Race 9 – Yeung Uk Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 1:08.79 Standard Time: 1:08.90 Course/Class record: 1:08.29 Dublin Star

Winner: EXCELLENT DADDY (AUS 5yo g Toorak Toff – Doubtful Diva) was ridden up straight out of the gates by Derek Leung, settling just behind the leaders in third position. He travelled well behind the leading pair with the pace good through the middle stages, as Leung got off heels as they turned for the winning post. He was made to fight for the win, only taking the lead with 50m to run and just getting his head in front to get the job done.

Runner-Up: FIRST RESPONDER put in an outstanding performance. Aided by a good draw, he was quick out of the gates and was able to take up a leading role, sitting in second position but along the running rail. He set a good pace out in front and was still travelling strongly with Jerry Chau sitting comfortably on the gelding as they turned into the straight. Chau held him together until passing the 300m where he put in a good kick, fighting tooth and nail and not letting up until tiring in the concluding stages.

Run Of The Race: FIRST RESPONDER carried six pounds (about 1kg) more than the winner and only went down by a head. A great front running performance and he’s the horse I want to follow out of the race, especially if the firm tracks return in the coming weeks.

Disappointment: CALIFORNIA CIBLE was quickly into stride and sat on the outside of the leader throughout the event after jumping from barrier 13. He used up plenty of energy getting to that position and in the run though, and it showed late. The gelding tired with 250m and was shuffled back through the pack, finishing in 12th position, beaten 10-3/4 lengths. Not the best performance from the $5.30 second favourite. 

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: ARMANDO and EXCELLENT DADDY were both well backed late in betting, 

Race 10 – Woo Tik Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good to Yielding

Time: 1:21.25 Standard Time: 1:21.45 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

Winner: GOLDEN LINK (NZ 5yo g Per Incanto – Kendoka) was fast into stride from the outside draw and was able to cross to the rail, settling on the leader’s back. He travelled well in the middle stages, with the leaders setting a good pace. Matthew Chadwick tracked the leader into the race and came off his heels with 200m to go to mount a challenge, with the five-year-old flat to the boards. He started cutting back the margin with 150m left to run and took the lead with 25m to go, winning by half a length on the line, rounding out a big day for Matthew Chadwick.

Runner-Up: SUPER WINNER was fast away and crossed from an outside barrier and pressed on the take the outright lead shortly after the start. He travelled well around the turn and kicked clear at the top of the straight to lead by good margin. He held the advantage for much of the straight but started to weaken over the final 100m and was only headed in the closing stages.

Run Of The Race: GOLDEN LINK enjoyed the run of the race behind the leader but was too strong in the concluding stages to get the win in the last. He ran good time and was strong through the line which makes me want to follow him into his next start.

Disappointment: STAR PERFORMANCE was anything but in the final race of the day, settling in the back half of the field and was under pressure a long way out from the finish. He was only fair in the straight and finished back in ninth position.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: MASTER DELIGHT $7 into $2.50.

Silver Fig and Matthew Poon, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

 

 

               
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