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The Davis Files - Sha Tin review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Race 1 – New Asia Alumni Handicap, HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1400m - Track Good
Time: 1:22.27 Standard Time: 1:22.35 Course/Class record: 1:21.53 Exponents

Zac Purton got his day started with an impressive win aboard YOUNG HORIZON (AUS 5yo g Star Witness – Shalimar Sky) for the David Hayes barn. The gelding jumped on terms from a middle alley and with good pace on offer early doors, Purton was able to slide across into a midfield position with ease. He was racing alone in midfield as the field split into two divisions turning off the back, with Purton remaining away from the rail. The leading group slammed on the breaks with about 700m remaining, forcing Purton to move three-wide on the five-year-old as he began to work around the field. He worked into the race strongly out wide and responded well when Purton finally asked for an effort at the top of the straight. He moved up strongly to take the lead with a furlong left to run and pulled away from his rivals. The son of Star Witness went on to win very easily on the line, scoring by 1-3/4 lengths. PERFECT PEACH was snagged back from a wide draw to settle at the tail of the field early on under Lyle Hewitson. The South African hoop would gradually improve the gelding’s position through the middle stages, sneaking along the inside rail and then getting off the rail with around 800m remaining. It was a great ride by Hewitson, as he got onto the back of the $2.10 favourite and eventual winner as they turned for home, but Perfect Peach lacked the class of his more-fancied rival. He stuck on well to claim second in a photo finish. MASTER OF ALL stuck on well from the front after setting a solid tempo early on. He did catch his breath through the middle stages, but he showed plenty of fight in the straight to only just miss out on second position.

Race 2 – Chung Chi Alumni Handicap, HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1200m - Track Good
Time: 1:09.83 Standard Time: 1:09.75 Course/Class record: 1:08.64 Iron King

Keagan De Melo was the next rider to strike, teaming up with Chris So to win aboard SMART LEADER (AUS 9yo g Delago Deluxe – Aemilee). The nine-year-old was away well from an inside barrier and had the pace to hold an off-pace position as they sorted their order out. The gelding was over-racing a touch as they worked around the turn, but as the race began to unfold De Melo was able to work off the inside rail. Turning into the straight, the South African jockey got his mount into clear air and set out after the leaders, letting down well to level up with the front runners with a furlong to run. He was grinding away out wide, eventually sticking his nose in front with 100m to run and proved far too strong late in the race, pulling away to win by 1-1/4 lengths. COMMANDING MISSILE showed good speed from a sticky barrier, getting across to settle just off the leading division. As they sorted their order out turning off the back, Jerry Chau ended up in the one-out-one-back position through the middle stages. After enjoying the run of the race, Chau peeled three-wide and began to let rip in the straight. He went up to join the leaders at the same time as Smart Leader with those two pairing off inside the final stages. He couldn’t match it with the eventual winner, but he was gallant in second. GOOD VIEW GLORY ran home well for third after being in a sticky position turning for home. Ben Thompson was able to work through traffic in the run to the line, ending up in third.

Race 3 – United Alumni Handicap, HK $3,120,000

Class 2 – Turf – Distance 1600m - Track Good
Time: 1:35.15 Standard Time: 1:34.50 Course/Class record: 1:32.96 Not Usual Talent

FLAMING RABBIT (B 5yo h Time Test – Ronja) bounced back to winning form for Lyle Hewitson and Douglas Whyte. The five-year-old got away well from out wide and showed superior speed to get across from the widest barrier and take up the running. Hewitson was able to dictate the tempo throughout as he wasn’t pressured up front. He had plent of them off the bit and chasing as they rounded the home turn with the South African hoop getting away from his rivals early in the straight. The race was all over by the 150m point as his rivals weren’t making any ground in the straight, with the stallion going on to win by 1-1/4 lengths in an all-the-way victory. THE GOLDEN SCENERY had been racing all alone in fourth position through the first half of the race and Brenton Avdulla had plenty of space to move three-wide as they worked into the straight. He showed plenty of strength late in the race, sticking on strongly to the line to see off his nearest rival and finish in second position. Race favourite MUGEN settled toward the rear of the field in running and worked into the clear as they turned into the straight. He had plenty of time and space to win the race if he was good enough, with the $1.50 favourite appearing to make good ground down the outside. He wasn’t finishing as quickly as we’d seen in recent efforts though, only plugging away to the line to finish in third, with The Golden Scenery pulling away from him late.

Race 4 – Faculty Of Education Alumni Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1000m - Track Good 
Time: 56.78 Standard Time: 56.45 Course/Class record: 54.94 United We Stand

PROSECCO (FR 6yo g Starspangledbanner – Comtesse) went a couple better today after being terribly unlucky back on the 10th of March. Racing down the straight course, the French gelding got away well close to the grandstand rail, ending up worse than midfield in the run with the six-year-old showing little early speed. Karis Teetan was racing toward the tail of the field through the middle stages, though he was making steady ground along the outside rail as they linked up with the course proper. Teetan was persisting with a run down the outside rail and the gap was there for the gelding to shoot through with 250m left to run. He was storming down the outside, eventually sticking his nose in front with 50m to run and he proved too strong late in the race, winning by a half-length on the line. RED ELEGANCE was in a midfield position through the middle stages and looked to be travelling strongly passing the 400m point. Matthew Chadwick got to work on the gelding with around 250m left to run and he rallied to take the lead momentarily. He couldn’t fend off the eventual winner, but he was well ahead of the third placed runner. GLORY ELITE raced about midfield in the run for Derek Leung and stuck on well over the closing stages. He hit the line well to finish in third.

Race 5 – The CUHK Alumni Cup (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1400m - Track Good
Time: 1:22.87 Standard Time: 1:22.10 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Jerry Chau and Francis Lui teamed up to win The CUHK Alumni Cup as LUCKY GOLD (NZ 6yo g Iffraaj – Kitt Ann Miss) notched up his first win since May 2023. After getting away from a sticky alley, the six-year-old ended up in a midfield position three-wide with cover as they sorted their order out. Jerry Chau enjoyed a lovely run in the race, tracking strongly into the event and peeling into the clear at the top of the straight. The gelding joined the leaders with 300m to run and had shot to the lead with a furlong left to run. He was a comfortable leader with 50m left to run and Chau eased his mount down over the closing stages, winning by 1-1/2 lengths in fine style. FLYING MOJITO settled in the back half of the field on settling down and moved into the three-wide trail with 600m left to run. Hugh Bowman needed plenty of luck turning for home, but the Australian hoop was able to get off heels and into the clear at the top of the straight. He closed off well down the outside to run into second position with the rain beginning to fall at Sha Tin. FORERUNNER was one of the widest on straightening and continued to make steady ground right down the outside. He kept on well to the line but was no match for the first couple, finishing third.

Race 6 – Graduate School Alumni Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1400m - Track Good
Time: 1:23.00 Standard Time: 1:22.10 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Progressive galloper VOYAGE SAMURAI (AUS 4yo g Dissident – Love Commands) made it two wins from 3 starts as he won impressively from the front. After getting away well from an inside barrier, the four-year-old took up the running under Derek Leung and the pair were able to control the race from the front. Leung wasn’t pressured in front and was able to do as he pleased aboard the gelding, but he didn’t slow the tempo a whole lot through the middle stages of the race. He quickened powerfully at the top of the straight to skip away from his rival under a strong hold, putting the race away with an impressive 600 to 400m and then 400 to 200m sectional. The second-place runner was hard at work to get him, but Voyage Samurai was always in control and the four-year-old looks on the path to better races than this, winning by 1-1/4 lengths on the line. WAR OF COURAGE was the only one to stick with the eventual winner in the straight after sitting on the outside of Voyage Samurai in the run. While he chased the leader hard in the straight, he was unable to pe back the margin, finishing in a clear second but 1-1/4 lengths off the leader. TOP TOP TEA ended up two lengths off the second horse, closing off well from a midfield position to end up in third position as Angus Chung got the nod in a photo finish.

Race 7 – Shaw Alumni Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1400m – Track Good
Time: 1:22.87 Standard Time: 1:21.80 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

Both Zac Purton and Francis Lui secured winning doubles on the night as SUPERB KID (AUS 4yo g Sebring – Snitzel’s Jewel) scored his second career win in handy style. The gelding got away on terms but with plenty of pace drawn around him, Purton was able to slot into a midfield position. The field was split into two as they turned off the back, with Purton racing in a sticky position around the home turn as he was locked up along the inside. After plenty of jostling for positions at the top of the straight, the gap appeared right in front of Purton as he got to work aboard the four-year-old. He dug deep to join the leader with 150m to run and the gelding showed superior strength over the closing stages, taking the lead and running away for an impressive 2 length victory. BEAUTY MISSILE was racing in a midfield position for Karis Teetan after getting away on terms from barrier five. The Mauritian hoop enjoyed a cosy run throughout the event and peeled his mount wide as they turned for home as he began to rev the gelding up. He was running on strongly down the outside, but never really hit the front as Superb Kid burst through closer to the inside. He was no match for the winner, but he showed good ability to close off into a clear second position. BEAUTY FIT stuck on well from the front which is against his usual racing pattern. He was a clear third despite being 3-3/4 lengths off the winner.

Race 8 – Lee Woo Sing Aumni Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m - Track Good
Time: 1:09.99 Standard Time: 1:09.40 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

It was a boil over in the eighth event as $22 chance PHOENIX LIGHT (AUS 6yo g Love Conquers All – Courtship) getting the job done for apprentice hoop Ellis Wong and Dennis Yip. The gelding got out of the barriers quite well and was running up on the speed early doors before sliding back to settle just off the speed. Wong was unable to slot into the running line and was left racing three-wide and without cover, but with the track beginning to wear out runners were coming wider as they turned for home. That gave Wong a back to follow and the six-year-old began to let down strongly down the outside. He continued to make ground down the outside, joining the leader with 150m left to run and took control inside the final stages. He was too strong late in the race, inching away late once he took control to score by three-quarters of-a-length. AWESOME TREASURE was one of the first into stride from a wide barrier and rolled forward from out wide to be up on the pace early doors. To avoid being caught three-wide and without cover, Keith Yeung drifted back to slot into the one-out-one-back position, stalking the leaders through the middle stages. After a great run in transit, Yeung got off heels and into the clear with plenty of time and space to make a strong challenge. Phoenix Light had passed Yeung with 150m left to run and stuck on close to home, finishing in second. Debutant STORMING DRAGON was in the second half of the field as they turned for home and made solid ground down the middle of the course. He kept on well to the line for an eye-catching debut, stealing third position in a photo finish.

Race 9 – CW Chu and Wu Yee Sun Alumni Handicap, HK $2,050,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1600m - Track Good
Time: 1:35.72 Standard Time: 1:34.75 Course/Class record: 1:33.19 Beauty Fit

Apprentice Angus Chung made every post a winner aboard FRANKTANCK (GB 5yo g Frankel – Janey Muddles) who was on the quick turnaround from last week. The son of Frankel jumped well and showed good early speed to take up the running early doors, with Chung keen to hold the lead aboard the five-year-old. When challenged by a runner early on, the apprentice hoop made sure to kick up and hold his position, stretching the field out down the back straight and prompting his closest rival to drop off approaching the 800m point. Chung then led comfortably around the home turn and was over a length in front at the top of the straight, with the local hoop still having a strong hold of Frantanck. He was still a big leader with 200m left to run, sticking to the inside fence and eventually proving too speedy for his rivals, leading all of the way to win by three-quarters of-a-length. FLAGSHIP WARRIOR was snicked back to last position from the wide draw and was a whopping 11 lengths off the leader as they turned off the back straight. Ellis Wong was sneaking through along the inside, around the home turn with Wong working his way through the traffic as they turned into the straight. The local apprentice was able to slice his way through the pack and into the clear down the centre of the track, running home strongly and taking plenty of ground off Frantanck close to home, but he was unable to reel in the winner. BEATO continued his good string of recent form, tracking into the race three-wide with cover and presenting as a strong chance at the top of the straight. He stuck on well down the outside but didn’t finish off as expected when he presented, finishing a clear third 1-3/4 lengths off the winner.

Race 10 – Morningside and S.H. Ho Alumni Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.26 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.11 Victor The Winner

Jerry Chau made it a winning double on the day as JAMES TAK (AUS 3yo g Headwater – Patois) continued the impressive start to his career. Chau was able to hold a handy position off the inside barrier, using that to his advantage to settle on the back of the leader. The leader was over a length in front turning off the back with the local hoop stalking his prey through the middle stages. As they turned for home, Chau popped off heels and into the clear, looking ominous as he still had a strong hold of the three-year-old. The leader proved tough to get past, but the son of Headwater stuck his nose in front with 100m left to run and got away late in the race, winning by a half-length on the line. IMA SINGLE MAN has turned his form back around of late and proved a very tough commodity in the closer today. He was the first horse out of the barriers under Angus Chung and the local apprentice speared across to take up the running. He was setting a genuine tempo through the middle stages and Ima Single Man still looked to have something to offer at the top of the straight. He was eventually wound in with about 150m to run but didn’t go down without a fight, hanging in there over the concluding stages to only finish a half-length away. It was a big gap back to KAHOLO ANGEL in third spot, who had enjoyed a nice off-pace run in transit before working into the clear at the top of the straight. He was given every chance by Wong to make an impression, but he was tiring late in the piece and ended up 3 lengths off the winner in third.

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