Saturday racing in Hong Kong is at Sha Tin for a 10-race programme.
Here is our preview of the meeting.
The opener is a Class 5 over the 2000m trip and it is HOLY UNICORN (3) that will be gunning for the hat-trick. The six-year-old broke through for a maiden win at start number 28, cruising home by four lengths two starts ago and backed up that performance with a win over 1800m last time. He meets a number of those rivals again and is up in weight but will be suited by what looks to be a muddling tempo. SWEET BEAN (7) finished a two-length 4th behind Holy Unicorn two starts ago and has since had another run. He should be thereabouts. CLEMENT LEGEND (4) is a last start winner that will settle back. He comes into it if there is pressure in the front half early on. PENZANCE (1) was a bit flat footed when running 6th on October 18 but will improve at his second run this season. Zac Purton rides the toppie.
After saluting at just his second career start, it may pay to stick with HAPPY TOUR (1). The four-year-old stepped out a month ago in this class and crossed over from the wide gate before kicking clear in the straight to win by two lengths. He has drawn barrier 1 this time around and has the option of leading or taking a sit. GRACIOUS RYDER (7) will be tucked away somewhere just off the speed and comes off a luckless performance in his sole hitout this season. He made an impression at his last preparation and is the danger to Happy Tour. HONEST WAY (4) has had two runs this season and has been edging closer. Expect to see him finish off strongly. GLITTERING ARMOUR (14) won at Class 5 level and comes into it on the back of the light weight and the good draw.
This might be the one for NICE KICK (9) to break through for John Size after the five-year-old just missed out behind Viva Council at his last start. On that occasion he positioned just worse than midfield and made up plenty of ground in the straight. His last 200m was strong. A strong pace in this will suit him. A number of the other key chances are last start winners that are up in weight, including FLYING GODSPELL (5) and GOLDEN EFFORT (8). Both are leaders but may not quite get it on their terms this time around. RIGHT CHOICE (4) is a first starter that has trialled well. The booking of Purton is a very positive lead.
Race 4 is another one where the speed should be on and it will be interesting to see how they settle. ENDEARING (8) is one that should be able to take a sit from the barrier and Douglas Whyte can see what unfolds in from of him. His mount was first past the post last time before being demoted to runner-up behind High Five. Prior to that he won with Whyte on board. There will be plenty of interest as to how SMART PATCH (7) fares. The former Kiwi was a big winner back at his only start in NZ and has trialled well. Purton rides. MUSIC ADDITION (6) is another HK debutant and has trialled well. COMPLACENCY (9) is in the mix but is another that will need luck from the wide draw.
WITNESS HUNTER (4) was good when winning at this track and distance at his most recent start, which came on October 7. On that occasion, the three-year-old loomed around them on the turn and found plenty to score ahead of SUPER FUN (3). He rises in weight but does look to be fairly progressive. Super Fun is 3kg better at the weights for that run. He has since finished a luckless 10th. CITY LEGEND (5) will get back and be running on. He has struggled to gain clear room at his last three but has been good enough to finish runner-up in two of those. SUPREME WITNESS (14) is a lightweight candidate for Matthew Poon.
This one is a bit of a case of ‘each-way the field’ but GOLDEN KID (10) is one that could lob at a bit of value. He produced what was on face value a disappointing 8th at his last start but he copped a couple of bumps in that race and was good prior to that, winning or placing in seven on the trot. Cash Wong rides and claims the 1.5kg. MCQUEEN (2) is another leading contender and drops down to this level after running a narrow 3rd at this track and distance on October 10. YOU HAVE MY WORD (7) covered a stack of ground when running 6th last time and with a better run he can be a factor. HAY RUN (5) is consistent and should be thereabouts.
After just missing out at his most recent run, LADY FIRST (14) can go one better here. The Michael Freedman-trained galloper tends to do a few things wrong in his races but has been pretty good this season, running a close up 8th before his last start effort, which came behind Invincible Fresh. HIGH VOLATILITY (10) is another that has been close up of late. He will need to cross over from the wide draw but if he lands in a spot for Karis Teetan he will go close. SUPER GIANT (4) lines up for his second HK start and can feature in the placings, while SHAMPORT (9) didn’t do much at his last few runs before the end of last season but has trialled well and will be ridden by Purton.
The Panasonic Cup (1400m) is the feature of the day and LITTLE GIANT (7) will be gunning for his sixth career win at just his seventh start when he steps out for trainer David Hall. The lightly raced six-year-old cruised home ahead of California Fortune at his only start this preparation and is the horse to beat. JOLLY BANNER (2) looks well placed in the big field. The seven-year-old, who is closely related to Makybe Diva, was 3rd behind Romantic Touch last time and will land in a nice spot from barrier 1. CALCULATION (5) cleared out to a big win ahead of Glorious Artist at his most recent run when dictating terms out in front. He has also drawn well. WHAT ELSE BUT YOU (4) resumes and may just need the run but is classy and hard to leave out.
Looking for one at a bit of value here and it is SPEEDY KING (7) that can land at a nice price. The five-year-old was all at sea at Happy Valley at his last start and returns to Sha Tin where he has an impeccable record. He won well over the six furlongs before his most recent spell and has trialled well since his battling effort at Happy Valley. ELITE BOY (9) resumes and is another that finished down the track at his previous start after suffering a bleed. He was a huge winner here three starts ago. JUST NOT LISTENING (12) steps up in grade after two recent wins, while HARBOUR ALERT (3) has drawn wide but is in form and the 3kg claim for Victor Wong is a boost to his credentials.
The final event of the night is a Class 3 over 1600m and the key hopes include HAPPY SEBRING (11) and GREAT TREASURE (10). Both have drawn close to the rail. Happy Sebring produced a brilliant performance to overcome trouble to score on October 21 at Class 4 level and looks up to the task. Great Treasure has run on well at his last three and with pace from the likes of GO BEAUTY GO (1) the race may be set up for him. Go Beauty Go faded out of it when resuming but usually sticks on well and should be an improver at his second run back. MARZOUQ (3) resumes and while may need the run he is classy enough to be a factor.