11/24/2016 1:16PM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and Analysis for Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016



(Saturday, November 26, 2016)

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RACE 1: #11 Southern Express, #4 Generous Heart, #1 Cheer Win, #6 Spicy Kaka

RACE 2: #4 Wingold, #8 Fantasticlife, #1 Amazing Always, #9 No Laughing Matter

RACE 3: #3 Premiere, #2 Bumble Baby, #11 Ace King, #8 Star Of Patch

RACE 4: #4 Little Giant, #6 Top Score, #2 Go Baby Go, #8 Honest Horse

RACE 5: #6 Hurricane Kid, #5 Perpetual Joyance, #8 Confucius Spirit, #1 Generous Bobo

RACE 6: #6 Top Score, #8 Honest Horse, #4 Happy Agility, #2 Go Baby Go

RACE 7: #5 Renaissance Art, #10 Solar Hei Hei, #1 Circuit Land, #7 Super Lifeline

RACE 8: #8 Lord Sinclair, #4 Harbour Alert, #6 Star Of Yan Oi, #9 Arizona Blizzard

RACE 9: #2 Prawn Baba, #11 Club Life, #5 Unicorn, #3 Marvel Hero

RACE 10: #12 Beat The Clock, #6 Winfield, #1 Lucky Double Eight, #2 Friends Of Nanjing

RACE 11: #13 Baba Mama, #7 My Darling, #3 Jolly Banner, #9 Pikachu



On paper, #11 Southern Express looks disappointing after finishing ninth at his debut run. However, he made his debut over 1400m, he never looked comfortable between horses and he then never got clear in the straight. It was a total forgive run and the wide gate should ensure he gets clearer running here. He had looked a very promising horse prior to his debut, and in this fairly weak encounter, he should prove much too good. #4 Generous Heart flew home on debut, really catching the eye as he steamed home from near the tail. The switch to Karis Teetan from injured claimer Kei Chiong is a major positive and he will have the last shot at them. #1 Cheer Win has been a standard-bearer in these three-year-old restricted races leading up to next month’s Griffin Trophy. He is consistent and the step up to 1400m appears to be in his favour. Next best, #6 Spicy Kaka, who just didn’t fire last time out when going forward with blinkers on. The headgear comes off, he is likely to be restrained and he steps up in trip with Zac Purton going forward, so a better effort can be expected.



#4 Wingold has flashed glimpses of talent here and there, but for the most part, he’s still failed to live up to expectations, even after looking on the cusp of a victory. He was very good at his second run in Class 5 last time out, making significant ground for second, and it looks a matter of time before he climbs out of the cellar grade again. #8 Fantasticlife finally got his first win in 18 months last time out. The half-brother to 2006 Hong Kong Sprint winner Absolute Champion is never going to be a star himself, but in this class he is more than capable of winning two on end if everything falls into place. #1 Amazing Always has been a Class 4 staple in Hong Kong over five seasons, only racing outside of the grade five times. All five times were in Class 5, and they yielded three wins. His last run in the grade was in April, in a scenario very similar to what he strikes here. It wouldn’t shock to see him winning his way back into Class 4 again. At odds, perhaps #9 No Laughing Matter can improve. He has been looking a better horse this season in the mornings, but like many in Class 5, he has plenty of issues.



#3 Premiere has been good in two starts when he has tried to lead all the way, but he has just weakened late. He still needs to prove that he is more than a speedy squib, but natural progression should strengthen him up and from the ideal stands-side draw, he should be able to jump, run and hopefully hold off his rivals. #2 Bumble Baby improved out of sight last time out, sprinting very strongly to score at mammoth odds. It remains to be seen whether it was just a spike performance or whether he has just returned a stronger animal, but he deserves to come under consideration again. #11 Ace King will aim to sit up near the speed under replacement rider Nash Rawiller. He was out the back last time out, flying home from second, but he is better suited when ridden further forward. Of the debutants, perhaps #8 Star Of Patch is the one to follow. He has looked green in his trials but he has also looked versatile and he gets the services of Zac Purton here.



The scratching of Little Giant has changed this race completely and it certainly looks a more competitive betting affair on paper now. It might still pay to go with a debutant though, and #6 Top Score fits the bill. The son of High Chaparral has looked good in the mornings and he showed talent with two wins from four starts in Australia. He should improve over further but first-up from the good draw, he will be in the mix. #8 Honest Horse was utterly dominant on debut 12 months ago, but he has been just satisfactory since. He hasn’t raced since March, but if his has made any progression since, he will be a leading chance. Standby starter #4 Happy Agility was utterly dominant last time out after being backed almost to the exception of any other. He was tried over further last season, but he is probably best fresh and in steadily run races over the shorter trips. He was competitive in Class 3 last season and with the light weight, he looks set to be among the chances here. #2 Go Baby Go is not the same horse he once was, but he will likely go forward and if he can stick on, he can finish in the placings. However, the jockey switch to Dylan Mo from the indisposed Kei Chiong is a negative, even with the former’s 10-pound claim.



A fairly difficult dirt race to assess. #6 Hurricane Kid has always looked capable of breaking through on the dirt if everything fell his way. He has drawn the inside gate, which should suit him as long as the breaks fall his way. The retained booking of Neil Callan is a plus too. #5 Perpetual Joyance heads to the dirt for the first time and looks an interesting prospect. His breeding is all turf, but he does have some speed and he also looks a 1200m horse, so don’t be surprised to see significant improvement here. #8 Confucius Spirit has his second run for Benno Yung after an off-season transfer from former handler Sean Woods. He ended up a long way back and couldn’t make an impact from an awkward draw last time out, but the dirt winner has drawn significantly better here in gate two and he looks some chance. #1 Generous Bobo improved at his first run on dirt and his first run back in Class 4 last start. He will have to go forward from the outside gate and hope there isn’t too much speed underneath him, but if he gets a nice enough run, he’s in contention.



#4 Unicron Jewellery has been a typical John Size work in progress at his two starts so far. He debuted at 1600m and stuck on well for fourth, and then last time out, he was just edged out as an odds-on favourite. He remains at 1600m again and has a kind draw to boot, so he is likely to go off at a very short quote once more. Still, on paper, he looks the clear standout and the one to beat. #2 Smiling Charm showed enough in his first start to suggest he had talent, and so it proved when he returned after the off-season as he recorded a dogged success first-up. The step up to 1600m looks to be in his favour and he should be around the mark again. #11 Joy Plus Fun has disappointed in his last two starts after beginning his career with two promising fifths. He may be destined for Class 5 but he is worth throwin in the exotics here. #6 Go Beauty Go has been heading in the right direction but might still need a couple more before he is breaking through.



#5 Renaissance Art is a hit-and-miss galloper, in that he has shown incredible talent at times but he has also been very disappointing in recent starts, just as he was at the start of last season. He performed strongly in a recent trial which suggests that he may be somewhere near his best again, although the 1600m might be a touch short for him. #10 Solar Hei Hei is the opposite, in that he is a consistent type who very rarely runs a bad race. He has been good in two starts this season, he should be suited by the step up to 1600m and he maps very well under Brett Prebble. #1 Circuit Land got up in the stalls last time out and missed the start hopelessly. Before that, he had shown a deft turn of foot to score over 1400m, and he should be in the mix again, even with 133 pounds on his best. Next best, #7 Super Lifeline, who hasn’t won in two and a half years but is a honest conveyance and is starting to get down to a point in the ratings where he should be winning again.



#8 Lord Sinclair is a cantankerous old grey gelding who was once considered the best dirt horse in Hong Kong. This was before Hong Kong became a player in the dirt sprints in Dubai, before Rich Tapestry won an American G1 on dirt, and many had Lord Sinclair pencilled in as the horse who would star abroad. However, it is nearly three wins to the day since he last won and he has fallen spectacularly through the ratings. He has his first start for Francis Lui here, with Brett Prebble – the only jockey to have won on him in Hong Kong – once again hopping on board. If he can find any semblance of form, he is a fascinating runner here. #4 Harbour Alert is racing well and should be able to get the lead under Kei Chiong, but may have to work hard to get there and he seems to lack that killer instinct late. #6 Star Of Yan Oi improved significantly at his second Hong Kong start with a switch to the dirt and he gets a major jockey upgrade to Zac Purton and a good draw here. #9 Arizona Blizzard has been a morning glory so far. He’s been a big baby, getting warm pre-race, racing greenly and failing to produce off what have been some strong barrier trials. He bears close watching at his fourth local start.



#2 Prawn Baba entered his Hong Kong debut with plenty of hype, and although he was defeated, he stamped himself as a horse on the up with a closing second to Classic Emperor. He looks like he will be heading far higher than Class 3, so he should be right in the mix here. If he is beaten, it may come again from the front end with #11 Club Life. The consistent type is best when rated on the lead, and from the inside gate, he may be the horse to give Irish rider Oisin Murphy his first Hong Kong success. #5 Unicorn is a consistent enough type who has placed in his first two runs this season. He won by four lengths third-up last season and Joao Moreira jumps aboard, but he is a type that seems to take plenty of money – and it is rarely justified. #3 Marvel Hero is another honest type who doesn’t win out of turn but he is drawn to get the right run and can figure.



#12 Beat The Clock won in the style of a nice horse on debut three weeks ago, racing on-speed and kicking clear for an emphatic victory. He rises in class here but drops significantly in weight, and if he presses forward again from the outside gate, he should be hard to beat. #6 Winfield impressed with his first two runs in Hong Kong but was inexplicably disappointing last time out. The Australian import has bounced back in the mornings so it may pay to forgive him and if he’s back to his best, he will be right in contention here. #1 Lucky Double Eight drops into Class 3 for the first time at his 29th local start. He is yet to win in Hong Kong but his consistency has ensured that his rating has never dropped far enough to sneak him into this grade. He is drawn to take advantage and it wouldn’t surprise to see him break through here. Next best #2 Friends Of Nanjing, who is problematic but has a heap of talent and could easily sneak into the placings.



#13 Baba Mama has slowly risen through the grades, winning four of his last five starts since June and emerging as a potential Classic Mile type in the process. He has a serious turn of foot and is at his best when ridden cold. He should be able to do that here, sitting off a fairly solid tempo and emerging as a danger at the 200m.  #7 My Darling is another who looks headed for the four-year-old races early in the new year. He looks as though he may be a better horse than Baba Mama, particularly over further, but he is still putting it all together. He’s still a big chance here, no doubt, but he will be even better as he approaches his main targets. #3 Jolly Banner has been remarkably consistent in his Hong Kong career to date, but the penny has now dropped and he’s put two together in a row. He’s showing more race sense and more tenacity now, and while he now finds himself up in the weights from a wide gate, a horse like him can never be underestimated. Next best, #9 Pikachu, who is on the cusp of another victory but needs everything to go his way.