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Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong selections and analysis: Sept. 18, 2016
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016)
RACE 1: #1 Dragon Bachelor, #5 Jimson The Famous, #12 Mighty Wongchoy, #3 Winaswewish
RACE 2: #4 Jing Jing Win, #10 Winning Boy, #2 Bossiee, #9 Manful Star
RACE 3: #4 Dashing Super, #5 Hearts Keeper, #3 Diamond Friends, #2 Electronic Phoenix
RACE 4: #2 Bear Chum, #5 Wonderful Chaser, #14 Happy Sound, #3 Gracydad
RACE 5: #2 Team Sweet, #12 Cool And Neat, #6 Forever Posh, #5 Imperial Gallantry
RACE 6: #10 Team Fortune, #2 Green Card, #4 Iron Boy, #7 Pakistan Baby
RACE 7: #14 Looks Like The Cat, #7 Dragon Master, #10 Beauty Master, #8 Flying Force
RACE 8: #10 Molly's Jade Star, #4 Verbinsky, #6 Sky King, #7 Beauty Prince
RACE 9: #14 Adventurer, #7 Racing Supernova, #1 Bad Boy, #3 Charity Joy
RACE 10: #4 Pakistan Star, #9 Run Forrest, #12 Care Free Prince, #3 Marvel Hero
RACE 1: CHUNG ON HANDICAP
#1 Dragon Bachelor returns to Class Five and looks the likely leader, always lethal on the Sha Tin dirt. He won this exact race last year, although moves to an outside gate this time. However, rider Jack Wong and trainer Me Tsui have been on fire in the early part of the season and he can give them another win. #5 Jimson The Famous is a rare American import, purchased from the 2014 OBS Spring Sale and sent unraced to Hong Kong. He moves to the dirt for the first time, a surface over which he caught the eye in a recent trial, and he has race fitness on his side after a passable fifth first-up. #12 Mighty Wongchoy could also challenge for the lead under Kei Chiong and a return to the dirt looks suitable on his current mark. Keep an eye on #3 Winaswewish at his first run on the dirt too.
RACE 2: HOI PA HANDICAP
Debutant #4 Jing Jing Win is one of the more exciting horses of the day and should prove too good here. The sale topper from the annual Hong Kong International Sale in March, the son of Starcraft has impressed in his trials and looks to be headed much higher than Class 4. Watch #10 Winning Boy closely. He has joined the yard of Richard Gibson after former trainer Andreas Schutz lost his licence, and while the horse hasn't trialled since changing stables, he looks ready from his work. #2 Bossiee has not had as low a rating since he won at his second Hong Kong start in December 2014. The 1200m fresh looks suitable too and he should get a good run from the inside gate. #9 Manful Star showed very little in three starts last season but he led all the way to win a recent trial and creates interest here.
RACE 3: SHA TSUI HANDICAP
A return to the extended mile on dirt should help #4 Dashing Super to return to the winners' circle. The son of Malibu Moon returns to the dirt after a pleasing run over an inadequate trip on turf fresh. He won a similar race last year off a higher rating, having returned on turf, so he bears close watching. His former stablemate #5 Hearts Keeper is intriguing, stepping up to a mile for the first time in his career. He is drawn to get a box-seat run and the soft trip could help to offset stamina concerns. #3 Diamond Friends should also get a soft run and is incredibly consistent over this surface, while #2 Electronic Phoenix may need further but caught the eye when zooming home under his own steam in a recent trial.
RACE 4: TAI HO HANDICAP
The most exciting griffin from last season, Pakistan Star, steps out later in the day, but the form gets tested here in this straight race. We're banking on the form holding up through #2 Bear Chum, second to Pakistan Star in July. He has early speed and the return to the 1000m should suit him here. Expect him to be up near the lead and, if he has strengthened up, he should prove hard to hold out. #5 Wonderful Chaser found the line nicely on debut over this course and distance but struggled with the step up to 1400m at his second start. A return to 1000m suits him, too. #14 Happy Sound drops back to 1000m after just coming up short in the opening race of the season over 1200m. He has speed but struggles to find the line, so a drop in trip may prove a blessing for him. #3 Gracydad may also be a play at big odds. He was out the back in most of his races last year but led to win a recent trial.
RACE 5: TAK WAH HANDICAP
A difficult race to assess with a lot of horses still finding their feet. #2 Team Sweet is the logical pick with race fitness on his side. He is a consistent type who should win his way into Class 3 before too long. #12 Cool And Neat still looked very raw last season, although there is definitely talent there. With a summer under his belt, expect him to go ahead in leaps and bounds this term. Interestingly, Brett Prebble has sided with Cool And Neat over likely market fancy House Of Luck, despite riding both in their barrier trials this season. #6 Forever Posh has a kind draw and should be on speed, while #5 Imperial Gallantry is one to watch. He has plenty of talent, but he is his own worst enemy - he is far from genuine, has a terrible attitude and has thrown away victory on a number of occasions. The booking of strong Australian rider Nash Rawiller may prove inspired, though.
RACE 6: TSUEN FU HANDICAP
Expect Green Card to go off very short after his luckless run first-up, but we think we have one to beat him in #10 Team Fortune. Chris So's galloper has only won over the shorter 1000m trip, but he was consistent enough at 1200m - particularly off this mark - last season and with the summer under his belt, expect improvement. He also looks likely to get the perfect trip. Of course, #2 Green Card is definitely a leading player, but he has beaten himself on a number of occasions and has had terrible luck on the others. He's a horse worth taking on at too short a price. #4 Iron Boy comes out of the same race as Green Card, with the major concern being that inexperienced apprentice Kei Chiong jumps aboard the notably quirky five-year-old. Next best is #7 Pakistan Baby, who trialled well at Happy Valley in preparation for this.
RACE 7: WO TIK HANDICAP
A very open race down the straight, but with race fitness on his side, watch for #14 Looks Like The Cat to finally break through in Hong Kong. The flashy chestnut was G1-placed as a two-year-old in Australia but has gone winless in 16 starts in his new home. He caught the eye first-up and may get a race run to suit, particularly with just 115 pounds on his back. #7 Dragon Master is the one to beat, although he is also a fragile horse and is likely to have his career restricted due to injury. He looks like he needs further, but the talent is there, and fresh may be best for him. #10 Beauty Master was ridden a treat to score on opening day and looks to get the same run here, although he is up in class, while #8 Flying Force also caught the eye in the same race as Looks Like The Cat first-up.
RACE 8: THE YAN CHAI TROPHY
Once Hong Kong's most promising maiden, #10 Molly's Jade Star finally broke through in April after a string of minor placings - and added another win in May for good measure. The summer looks to have done wonders for him, and if a recent trial is any indication, the penny may have finally dropped for him. #4 Verbinsky was bought out of Italy as a Derby contender but failed to acclimatise in time. He looks to have settled in now and will be winning in no time at all. #6 Sky King is one of Hong Kong's biggest gallopers, even bigger than noted giant Able Friend, but he showed towards the end of last season that he also had a motor to match with wins at both Happy Valley and Sha Tin. He looks to have rating points in hand and is a definite chance. #7 Beauty Prince showed glimpses of form last season but was inconsistent. If he puts it all together, he's another to watch.
RACE 9: YEUNG UK HANDICAP
How far can #14 Adventurer go? He looked hopeless in his first three runs before finding form at start four, and has now won his last three by big margins up the straight, running his rivals into the ground on the lead. He was penalised a whopping 14 points for his win on opening day, but now only has to carry 111 pounds and looks lethal despite the class rise. His main dangers are #7 Racing Supernova and #1 Bad Boy, both who look potential stakes competitors. Racing Supernova was luckless in three defeats to follow a debut win and while he has drawn the inside, not an ideal place to be down the straight, he looks headed much higher. Bad Boy ended last season with an effortless win but does rise in class carrying the same amount of weight. He also looks like he'll need this run. Next best is #3 Charity Joy, who should enjoy a run up the grandstand rail and is best over this course and distance.
RACE 10: TSUEN LOK HANDICAP
All eyes will be on #4 Pakistan Star here as he returns from his summer break. His incredible last-to-first effort went viral around the world, finding himself tailed off before sweeping on by his rivals in eye-popping sectionals. He is still learning the game and is likely to be way too short a price, but it's hard not to hope the story continues. Expect him down the outside late. #9 Run Forrest has the advantage of race fitness, having won on opening day. He will be the first one to come after the leader in the straight. #12 Care Free Prince looks the designated leader with Kei Chiong aboard from gate 14. He was in a good vein of form at the end of last season and Chiong's allowance takes him to just 109 pounds. #3 Marvel Hero will be closing off late with Pakistan Star but looks to have the scope to head higher in the ratings.