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Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and Analysis for Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016)
RACE 1: #4 Diamond Bit, #9 Sea Warrior, #1 Bear Chum, #2 Acclaimed Light
RACE 2: #2 Prince Falcon, #12 Lean Journey, #14 Starry Starlies, #13 Lucky Place
RACE 3: #7 Sight Seeing, #5 Game Of Fun, #9 Soaring Wyvern, #1 Kingston Jumbo
RACE 4: #2 Snow Slider, #1 Super Man, #11 Rewarding Flyer, #14 Wingold
RACE 5: #6 Precisioncraftsman, #11 Dragon Harmony, #3 Diamond Friends, #5 Master Gold
RACE 6: #10 Vanilla, #1 Northern Falls, #4 Happy Contender, #3 Skyrockets
RACE 7: #10 Thor The Greatest, #2 Dragon Master, #1 Go Baby Go, #4 Gallant Rock
RACE 8: #4 Renaissance Art, #8 Lucky Girl, #5 Top Act, #14 Simply Invincible
RACE 9: #13 Right Call, #8 Fairy Twins, #5 Charity Glory, #2 Green Card
RACE 10: #1 Jolly Banner, #13 Magnetism, #7 Fashion Maestro, #12 Lansbury
RACE 1: HUNG SHUI KIU HANDICAP
#4 Diamond Bit has always shaped up like he would need 1200m at least, but his best two efforts remain over the straight 1000m course. He closed off steadily for fifth last time when stepped up to 1200m and if he puts it all together, this looks his best chance to break through. #9 Sea Warrior won for the first time in 12 months last start. His previous two wins were followed by dismal efforts, but if things go his way, he could easily go back-to-back with 13 pounds less to carry. #1 Bear Chum was bitterly disappointing first-up after beating all bar the exciting Pakistan Star in his final griffin race in July. It may simply be a case of needing 1200m now, but the jury's still out. Still, if the horse who finished second to Pakistan Star turns up, he will be hard to beat here. #2 Acclaimed Light is next best at his second run in Class 4.
RACE 2: KAM TIN HANDICAP
#2 Prince Falcon has been promising to break through for a long period, but this fairly thin race - even by Class 5 standards - looks his best chance yet. He needs to be ridden cold and produced late, but with a decent amount of speed engaged, he should get his desired race shape. #12 Lean Journey looked a horse headed for Class 3 in his early career but has continued to disappoint since. He's not the most straightforward of gallopers, but he has been winding into form and he is suited by the step up in trip. #14 Starry Starlies improved first-up, even if he was still beaten five lengths, and looks as though one of these days he's going to put it all together and shock - this race could be it. #9 Lucky Ball could be interesting to watch fresh.
RACE 3: HUNG SHUI KIU HANDICAP
#7 Sight Seeing has been knocking on the door recently, sticking on gamely for third behind progressive Mr Picasso last time out. Aside from the likely favourite Game Of Fun, there are no horses of that calibre here and he will be right in the mix. #5 Game Of Fun looms as the one to beat and is likely to end up with the highest rating of the lot of them. He was solid on debut and will have taken plenty of improvement for that, but he may be better with a run under his belt this time in. #9 Soaring Wyvern was dismal first-up when going forward but he can potentially perform better with a sit here, while #1 Kingston Jumbo is always a place chance down in Class 4.
RACE 4: LAU FAU SHAN HANDICAP
The booking of Kei Chiong on #2 Snow Slider looks interesting, particularly with the horse now stuck near the top of the weights in Class 4. Her claim gets him down to 121 pounds and he is a go-forward horse as is. However, he has proved temperamental at times and he performs best for Alex Lai, so it is a bit of a gamble with an apprentice aboard. Still, in a race with no other obvious pace influences, he can give a bold sight. Chiong was unseated from #1 Super Man on opening day, with Neil Callan taking over from the claimer here. He has to shoulder 133 pounds but has been racing in great heart so must be included. #11 Rewarding Flyer finally draws a gate for the first time this preparation and must be watched, while #5 Great Joy ran a number of promising races last season and looks to have strengthened up over the summer.
RACE 5: NAM SANG WAI HANDICAP
#6 Precisioncraftsman produced a strong effort on debut before two lacklustre efforts subsequently. He will have improved with the run under his belt, but the switch to dirt for the first time creates interest too. He's a value play. #11 Dragon Harmony is drawn a little awkwardly again, but he has place in four of his last five dirt runs, including his sole victory in Hong Kong. Without a doubt, he's a leading chance again. #3 Diamond Friends lost Opie Bosson right after the start last time out, but he is a consistent dirt galloper and always must be included in these sorts of races, particularly with Zac Purton aboard. #5 Master Gold was the subject of an inquiry last start with rider Howard Cheng suspended for not allowing the horse to run on its merits. It was a strong effort regardless and he looked very comfortable on the dirt, so expect him to be somewhere in the mix for new rider Derek Leung.
RACE 6: PING SHAN HANDICAP
#10 Vanilla has dropped a long way down the ratings in recent starts, but the one-time Australian Derby placegetter returns to the course and distance of his most recent win in February - when he was rated 11 points higher, no less. He needs a solid tempo, not too fast but even sectionals, and if the race sets up for him, he will be rattling over the top of them late. #1 Northern Falls should jump on the lead and prove hard to run down. He has proven himself to be inconsistent, but the booking of Zac Purton is a plus. #4 Happy Contender has placed in his last four over a variety of distances, but like Vanilla, a solid 1650m might end up being his go. #3 Skyrockets is yet to find his best French form but ran OK first-up and the step up in trip looks critical.
RACE 7: THE POK OI CUP
#10 Thor The Greatest was good first-up at Happy Valley and looks suited returning to the straight with Joao Moreira jumping aboard. He may not get his favoured leading role, with Gallant Rock expected to fire out of the gates and set a brisk tempo under Kei Chiong, but he can sit just off the speed and prove too strong late. #2 Dragon Master looks capable of breaking through to Class 2 and has drawn the favourable outside gate. #1 Go Baby Go is a shadow of the galloper who was a two-time G3 winner down the straight in 2013. However, he seems to benefit with stronger riders aboard, so the booking of Nash Rawiller after a series of apprentices in recent starts is significant. Overlook him at your peril. #4 Gallant Rock is an easy horse to ride as he just needs to be allowed to stride forward and run his own race. Chiong has perfected the art of steering him, taking Tony Millard's galloper to three straight wins, and with only 120 pounds on his back he will be hard to run down again. On what he had shown before, though, he may have reached his mark.
RACE 8: YUEN LONG HANDICAP
#14 Simply Invincible looks primed to score here. First-up, the five-year-old flashed home from last to run fourth, beaten less than two lengths, and he gets a significant jockey change to Chad Schofield here. The Kiwi Group 1 winner appears better for the summer and can work his way through Class 2 this term. #4 Renaissance Art has long been touted as a potential Hong Kong Vase horse, but completely lost form last season and appeared headed nowhere until he managed to rebound with two strong late season wins. December's Vase is back on the agenda, but he will need to win a race or two early in the season to qualify. With that in mind, expect him to be primed early. #8 Lucky Girl, a gelding, created plenty of buzz with his odd name, but showed . He's a giant galloper who needs clear galloping room, but barrier 7 should give Kei Chiong that option. It remains to be seen if he is on his mark, though. Next best #5 Top Act - expect him to be finishing off solidly, with his main goal to defend his Sa Sa Ladies' Purse title on November 6.
RACE 9: TAI TONG HANDICAP
The addition of blinkers to #13 Right Call looks a crucial gear change that can help the John Size-trained galloper back into form. A winner of two of his 10 starts, Right Call is best suited over this 1400m trip but has looked ungenuine at times, and it was only a matter of time before the blinkers were applied. Also of note is the booking of apprentice Kei Chiong - Size has only put Chiong aboard his horses three times for two seconds and a fourth, and Right Call looks the right type of no-nonsense go-forward horse that has proven so suitable to her. The outside gate ensures he will press on and he can hopefully burn his rivals off. #8 Fairy Twins was an impressive winner last time out and looks to have the scope to head far higher. #5 Charity Glory is finding form and a win is near, while #2 Green Card is quirky but his last start victory may have been the confidence booster he needed.
RACE 10: TIN SHUI WAI HANDICAP
A competitive end to the card in what is sure to be a strong betting race. #1 Jolly Banner was a model of consistency last season, winning just one of seven but placing five times and performing strongly on each occasion. He looks to have taken plenty of benefit from the off-season and expect him to win his way into Class 2. #13 Magnetism is on the cusp of another victory after two strong placings at his last run last season and his first run this season. He remains the mount of Joao Moreira and looks hard to beat. #7 Fashion Maestro had flashed talent in an injury-interrupted career, but he looked a completely different horse at the end of last season after being transferred to the yard of Francis Lui. There's no reason why he can't make it three in a row. #12 Lansbury has not been on the turf in more than a year, instead running four times on dirt, but he has been racing in great heart and a breakthrough here would not shock.