04/06/2017 11:33AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong selections and analysis for Sunday, April 9, 2017

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS

(Sunday, April 9, 2017)

 

RACE 1: #8 Sight Leader, #5 Encore Boy, #1 Fish N' Chips, #3 Best Step

RACE 2: #4 Lucky Power, #3 Generous Bo Bo, #6 Grade One, #7 House Of Luck

RACE 3: #6 Hit A Home Run, #7 Agiaal, #13 Empire Of Mongolia, #4 Aeroluminance

RACE 4: #3 Sangria, #9 Sunshine Universe, #6 Right Call, #10 Vara Pearl

RACE 5: #1 Dalradian, #7 Premiere, #6 Victory Marvel, #2 Dragon General

RACE 6: #1 Ambitious Pins, #5 Daring Heart, #11 Lucky Seven Stars, #8 Dashing Dart

RACE 7: #1 Lucky Bubbles, #4 Mr Stunning, #3 Blizzard, #5 Sun Jewellery

RACE 8: #7 Rapper Dragon, #1 Helene Paragon, #5 Contentment, #6 Designs On Rome

RACE 9: #3 Beauty Generation, #7 Packing Dragon, #4 Eagle Way, #10 Helene Super Star

RACE 10: #3 Spicy Sure, #5 Happy Agility, #4 Green Card, #8 Daring Fit

 

RACE 1: CHAOYANGMEN HANDICAP

#8 Sight Leader has shaped as a ready-made prospect from the trials. He gets Joao Moreira aboard, he jumps from the ideal outside stall over the Sha Tin 1000m and he should be winning on debut. #5 Encore Boy started favourite on debut over this course and distance but remained out in the centre of the track and held his ground throughout. There’s no doubt he possesses ability, and if he takes natural improvement from that first start, then he should be around the mark with Chad Schofield jumping aboard. #1 Fish N' Chips rarely runs a bad race in Class 4 over this course and distance. With the claim of Dylan Mo once again getting his weight down to 123 pounds, he should be a player. #3 Best Step ran well on debut, although he did have the ideal spot throughout the race. He may get into that same spot again, though, so expect another bold sight.

 

RACE 2: DONGZHIMEN HANDICAP

#4 Lucky Power ran a good race on debut but went to another level at his second start, leading at fair sectionals and just being run down late. He should be improved again and he can break through here. #3 Generous Bo Bo has been out of luck at a number of his starts this season. Kei Chiong sticking solid is not necessarily a positive, but he will be around the mark. #6 Grade One has not lived up to his strong debut on the dirt, but has run fairly in three starts since. The step up to 1400m is a major positive and he should get a soft run from gate five under Sam Clipperton. #7 House Of Luck is now back below a winning mark from January last year. He has been sporadically raced this season and could bob up in the placings.

 

RACE 3: DENGSHIKOU HANDICAP

#6 Hit A Home Run was simply outpaced over 1400m last time out. Now up to 1800m, he should be winning once again with Joao Moreira retaining the mount. #7 Agiaal’s three-year anniversary of his last win came up last weekend. He has now had 34 starts since that win, but he has been looking likely to break through this season and perhaps it will come here. That said, his best form has been at Happy Valley in the past. #13 Empire Of Mongolia has dropped 25 points in his rating since his debut on opening day in September. It remains to be seen whether the 1800m will suit but he has run some nice races recently and he can bob up in the placings. #4 Aeroluminance looked set to score with the drop in grade but disappointed first-up. He has to contend with the outside gate here but he can figure if he gets things to suit.

 

RACE 4: DONGCHENG DISTRICT HANDICAP

#3 Sangria has had four runs here and admittedly not done a great deal. The Spanish import, however, should be suited by the return to 1200m at this level, especially with a plum draw. He may need to drop to the bottom of this class to score, but he’s one worth playing here at big odds. #9 Sunshine Universe has run well twice over the Sha Tin 1000m, and while he was not going to win last start, he was still luckless and chopped out at a crucial stage. The step up in trip should suit and he shapes as hard to beat. #6 Right Call has won two races from his last three. Sticking to the 1200m looks a good move, although he’s now at a career peak in terms of his rating and he does have to overcome the outside gate. Next best, the ever-consistent #10 Vara Pearl.

 

RACE 5: THE BEIJING CLUBHOUSE ANNIVERSARY CUP

#1 Dalradian makes his Hong Kong debut here after 10 starts for Darren Weir in Australia. He showed up very early, winning his first two starts in October 2015, but he still looked a horse that would be better when given a bit of time. His last start pre-import, he finished second to subsequent G1 winner Flying Artie, who admittedly did plenty wrong, in the G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. He would not normally be the type of horse to show up here and win on debut, however his trials since his arrival have been outstanding and purely based on that, he gets the nod. #7 Premiere folded up after a pace battle last time out to bring his win streak to an end at three. He is yet to win at Sha Tin but his runs over this course in Class 4 were good enough when he was still learning the caper. He is a major player. #6 Victory Marvel has been terrific this season, winning four times and only missing the board once in 11 starts. All those runs were at Happy Valley, and now he tackles the Sha Tin straight for the first time, but with an advantageous gate over the course and distance he can be competitive. #2 Dragon General won narrowly with 133 pounds last time out. The 10-pound claim of Dylan Mo should help him remain competitive.

 

RACE 6: JIANGUOMEN HANDICAP

#1 Ambitious Pins finally gets the drop into Class 4 for the first time. He has been showing good signs in a number of his races and with Zac Purton jumping aboard here, he looks ready to score. #5 Daring Heart made good ground last start at Happy Valley but ended up on the bottom of a three-way photo finish. He’s clearly in good order and should be in the mix yet again. #11 Lucky Seven Stars has been showing signs of turning his form around recently and his run over this course and distance two weeks ago was enough to suggest that he’s on the cusp. He might need to get his rating down slightly further, but there’s no reason he can’t find his way into the placings. #8 Dashing Dart has won his last two starts narrowly. The narrow wins have meant that he hasn’t been raised too much in the ratings and perhaps he’s capable of one more before his rating gets too high for his ability.

 

RACE 7: G2 SPRINT CUP

#1 Lucky Bubbles won this race last year before beating all but Chautauqua in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m). He again won fresh in the autumn, taking the G2 Premier Bowl (1200m), before a string of second placings. He meets his rivals at level weights and enters fresh here, so should be hard to beat. #4 Mr Stunning is the new kid on the block, having worked his way through the grades from Class 4. His first stakes test looms here, and it comes over the Sha Tin 1200m where he has not proved as dominant as at Happy Valley or over the Sha Tin straight 1000m. However, it’s been a matter of time for him to reach this level and he should be around the mark. The next logical inclusion is #2 Peniaphobia, but there are two rivals that instead get picked ahead of him. #3 Blizzard is a cusp horse, probably not up to some of these on form. However, he gets blinkers on for the first time and that might be the key to sharpening him up and finding that extra length or so he needs. #5 Sun Jewellery is also worth throwing into exotics – he has been forging a path as a miler with limited success this season, and the drop back to 1200m could prove to be a John Size masterstroke.

 

RACE 8: G2 CHAIRMAN'S TROPHY

#7 Rapper Dragon drops back to 1600m here after an imperious campaign where he dominated his four-year-old crop, winning all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, culminating in a win in the BMW Hong Kong Derby over 2000m last time out. He gets in with no G1 penalty and returns to arguably his most suitable distance, so naturally he shapes as the one they all have to beat. His stablemate #1 Helene Paragon does have to carry the G1 penalty but he is also the only galloper to have won multiple G1s in Hong Kong this season. He should be more suited here than he was last time out and he can defy the extra five pounds. Otherwise, it’s worth looking to those who don’t have to carry the extra weight, and #5 Contentment and #6 Designs On Rome are two who could potentially show up. Contentment is better over 1400m but his last three runs over 1600m, he’s finished within two lengths of the winner. Getting the weight swing in his favour this time should suit him. As for Designs On Rome, he’s not the same horse he once was and the mile doesn’t suit him, generally. However, he did win the G2 Sha Tin Trophy over the course and distance in October when he got everything to suit, and this being a set weights event should suit him more. He’s one who can find his way into the placings.

 

RACE 9: JINBAO STREET HANDICAP

#3 Beauty Generation was placed in two of the three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, thirds in the Classic Mile and Hong Kong Derby split by a poor effort on a hot tempo in the Classic Cup. The step up to 2200m should suit him and he does boast the best form for this, while he looks well-handicapped against other horses coming out of the Derby like Eagle Way, Helene Charisma, Prawn Baba and Dinozzo. #7 Packing Dragon could spoil the Derby after-party. The half-brother to former Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon has been a revelation this season, winning three races over the Happy Valley 1800m. This race is sometimes run at quite a soft tempo, and if that’s the case this year, he’s the perfect horse to capitalise. #4 Eagle Way will have his admirers after finishing stoutly for sixth in the Derby. This is a stepping stone to the 2400m races coming up, and expect him to be finishing solidly again. #10 Helene Super Star is clearly on a downward spiral after a career that has taken him around the world. The one-time Kentucky Derby runner has dropped 30 points since his career high, when he won the G1 Champions & Chater Cup (2400m), and with only 118 pounds on his back, there’s no reason he can’t get into the placings. 

 

RACE 10: WANGFUJING HANDICAP

#3 Spicy Sure returns to Class 3 here, a grade in which he has a very sound record. He generally jumps out and dictates, although for a number of reasons he hasn’t got to the lead in recent starts. Still, he should be somewhere near the speed and can win with Chad Schofield jumping aboard here. #5 Happy Agility has been Mr Consistent this season, not missing a place in six starts. He has been better when simply used as a 1200m-1400m horse, rather than stretched over further. He should be in the mix yet again, although he is probably nearing his mark. #4 Green Card remains a quirky conveyance – there’s no doubt he’s got talent, but he needs everything to go his way and he is simply too unreliable to have on top. He will be around the mark, though. Next best, #8 Daring Fit, who has already done plenty in his first preparation and looks like he’d be better served by a break – not something he is likely to get under trainer Tony Cruz.