02/16/2017 1:10PM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong selections and analysis for Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS

(Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017)

 

RACE 1: #5 Giddy Giddy, #1 Consistent, #7 Highland Dragon, #3 Jimson The Famous

RACE 2: #8 Chung Wah Spirit, #11 Morethanlucky, #1 Momentum Lucky, #3 Top Laurels

RACE 3: #10 Packing Starcraft, #1 Penang Hall, #5 Destin, #14 Five Stars Agent

RACE 4: #9 Travel Comforts, #4 Mega Red, #6 Arizona Blizzard, #1 Most Beautiful

RACE 5: #7 Multigogo, #3 Bond Elegance, #8 Respect, #4 Generous Bobo

RACE 6: #14 Aeroluminance, #6 Spicy Kaka, #2 Argentum, #1 Beauty Love

RACE 7: #10 Ensuring, #5 Booming Delight, #11 Green Dispatch, #3 Helene Charisma

RACE 8: #1 Rapper Dragon, #4 Pakistan Star, #10 Dinozzo, #8 Seasons Bloom

RACE 9: #11 Who Dat Singa, #4 Solar Hei Hei, #12 Big Bang Bong, #3 Midnight Rattler

RACE 10: #13 Nothingilikemore, #3 Friends Of Nanjing, #9 Super Sixteen, #5 Mongolian King

RACE 1: CARPENTER HANDICAP

#5 Giddy Giddy is a speedy conveyance who is better over 1000m and needs things his own way out in front. However, speed carries on Sha Tin’s dirt track and his sole run over this course and distance, he was slightly unlucky to be captured late. He looks to have an almost identical scenario here and if he gets a slightly more favourable set-up, he can win. #1 Consistent won at his only try over this course and distance in Class 5 earlier this season. Joao Moreira jumps aboard and despite the tricky gate, he is a leading player. #7 Highland Dragon has just his second run for Gary Ng here after running sixth over the Happy Valley 1000m first-up. The son of Fusaichi Pegasus rarely runs a poor race on the dirt, although he hasn’t won on the surface, and he is down to a rating where he should be winning shortly. American-bred #3 Jimson The Famous is another who looks set to win soon on dirt but he looks to be drawn awkwardly once more.

RACE 2: GRAMPIAN HANDICAP

#8 Chung Wah Spirit makes his Hong Kong debut here for trainer Dennis Yip, having previously raced in Australia as Cash Dash. He looked a promising juvenile there, although it was in weaker two-year-old events in Queensland. However, his trials since arriving at Sha Tin have been strong and top jockey Zac Purton sticks for this race, a strong push. Gate 12 might make it tough but he is likely to get back anyway and it wouldn’t surprise to see him making a winning start to his Hong Kong career. #11 Morethanlucky held his ground for a solid debut fourth last month. He gets the blinkers on here and with natural improvement, he should be around the mark. #1 Momentum Lucky finished ahead of Morethanlucky in that January race at his first run since September, and he has since finished fourth to Lucky Wan Feng. This is an easier race than what he has struck recently and he should be hitting his peak here. #3 Top Laurels has also trialled well ahead of his Hong Kong debut, having raced as Karpacz in Australia. He has picked up particularly in his last two hit-outs and he has an ideal draw to get a soft run here.

RACE 3: HAU WONG HANDICAP

#10 Packing Starcraft still has little idea what he is doing but he looked good at his first run in four months last time out, closing into fifth over 1200m. Both times he has stepped up to 1400m, he has looked a little weak, however with the run under his belt perhaps now is the time for him to improve, especially from the good gate. #1 Penang Hall simply isn’t having any luck with gates, drawing 13 here after jumping from 12, nine, nine and 12 at his last four starts. He looks ready to win a race and the booking of Joao Moreira, who claimed the record for most number of wins in a Hong Kong season aboard this horse in 2015, is a clear sign that he is well-meant here. However, it will require some of Moreira’s magic if he is to salute aboard the David Hall-trained galloper this time around. #5 Destin (not to be confused with the 2016 Belmont Stakes runner-up with the same name) was still green but after copping a heavy bump in the straight on debut, he made nice ground into second. With a little improvement from that effort, he can figure at his first Sha Tin run. Next best, #14 Five Stars Agent, who might be in need of the drop but who has shown signs of coming around at his last two runs.

RACE 4: NAM KOK HANDICAP

#9 Travel Comforts has not had the chance to utilise his blistering gate speed this term, with attempts made to try and rate him in behind the pace. However, this looks the ideal race for him to return to his front-running ways with a return to the dirt, a surface to which he looked well suited in two efforts last season. He may need to drop further, but if he can get out and lead, he is a winning chance here. #4 Mega Red returns here for his first run in eight months, having suffered a tendon injury in July. He has trialled very well for this, though, and the son of More Than Ready looks at home over the Sha Tin all-weather track. If he can find a hint of the form that took him to two placings last season, he will be competitive fresh. #6 Arizona Blizzard is still an unfinished product but there’s no doubt he’s better than his current rating of 73. If he gets luck from barrier 10, he’s going to be the one they all have to beat, although his quirky traits ensure that he is a horse always worth opposing. #1 Most Beautiful might be looking for further now but he is racing well and he should be around the mark again.

RACE 5: NGA TSIN WAI HANDICAP

#7 Multigogo finished a strong second on debut, two and a half lengths behind impressive winner Bravo Watchman but with a big margin up his sleeve over the rest of the Class 4 field. He had trialled very well on the dirt leading into his first start and looks to have points up his sleeve. Matthew Chadwick has options from the gate too, either pushing forward to press for the lead or sitting just off them. He will be hard to beat. #3 Bond Elegance improved markedly from his first start to his second, the son of Hard Spun relishing the dirt to score a grinding victory. He has five pounds more on his back here, but he will have taken improvement for the win and must be considered. #8 Respect has won only one of his 11 starts on this surface, but he has placed a further seven times. He’s a consistent type in these types of races and despite the wide draw, he will almost certainly be somewhere around the mark again. #4 Generous Bobo has not won in over two years but his rating is now at a point where he will find the winners’ circle again soon.

RACE 6: THE LOK SIN TONG CUP

#14 Aeroluminance has only one run good race in his six-start Hong Kong career, a closing second over this course and distance two starts back. He was in trouble from the wide draw last time out, though – in fact, he has drawn a double-digit barrier at five of his six starts – and with a better gate here, perhaps he will end up that little bit closer in the run. He might be in need of the drop in class but with 114 pounds on his back, he’s worth a shot. #6 Spicy Kaka has been OK without being spectacular in most of his starts to date. The step up to 1800m now looks a positive and if he can get a soft run in transit, expect him to be there at the business end. #2 Argentum and #1 Beauty Love have both drawn wide but both are coming off narrow seconds last time out – Argentum closing in late, Beauty Love just being nabbed on the wire. Argentum might be some query at 1800m but deserves to go in, while Beauty Love is inconsistent but can figure if he gets an easy run in transit.

RACE 7: LUNG KONG HANDICAP

#10 Ensuring returned for the first time in nearly eight months on Wednesday night at Happy Valley. He was outpaced early in the Class 3 over 1650m, but he found the line strongly late with his condition just giving out in the last few strides. The step up to 2000m is a plus and he looks well-rated now on 82, having won over this course and distance off a mark of 89 in July 2015 - he even found the placings in the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse later that year off 96. Furthermore, he appears well-weighted, having carried 131 pounds down in grade on Wednesday but carrying 116 pounds up in Class 2 here. With the right run from the inside gate, he will be very tough to beat. John Moore-trained #5 Booming Delight is likely to go off a heavy favourite here as he gears up for the BMW Hong Kong Derby. This does appear his race to lose and the step up to 2000m looks a positive move, but this is not his grand final and so it wouldn’t surprise if he is not fully fit. Moore’s Victory Magic was beaten by a short head as an even-money favourite last year before he was just nosed out by stablemate Werther in the Derby. #11 Green Dispatch returned to form last time out for a closing fourth. He is tactically versatile and while he is unlikely to get much higher than his current mark, the French G2 winner looks capable of winning one more on this rating. #3 Helene Charisma disappointed in the G3 Centenary Vase (1800m) as favourite after running home strongly in the Classic Mile. He still looks to be acclimatising but this run will provide a greater insight into whether he can still prove a Derby contender.

RACE 8: THE HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP

Hong Kong Classic Mile winner #1 Rapper Dragon is a clear standout on ratings in the second leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series and really should be winning comfortably yet again. He is stepping beyond a mile for the first time, but this is as soft as any 1800m anywhere in the world with a long run to the one and only turn, so class should prevail in this set weights contest. Behind him, though, it’s a lottery and most of his rivals could work their way into the placings. #4 Pakistan Star finally steps up to 1800m, which looks a big plus. He was ridden upside down last time out, settling midfield out wide and not looking comfortable at any stage, and his effort to finish fifth was admirable. He was hunted out of the gates in a recent trial, but from the gate, hopefully they will drop him out and try to unleash his most potent asset, his powerful turn of foot. If they do, he can turn the tables on horses that finished in front of him in the Classic Mile. #10 Dinozzo comes into this from a different formline, having produced one of the gutsiest wins of the season with his Class 2 victory over this course and distance last time out. He did only carry 116 pounds there, but he was facing the breeze near a hot tempo and the fact he won as comfortably as he did is a good sign for him going forward. #8 Seasons Bloom ran home very strongly in the Classic Mile for second. He’s one who looks slightly questionable beyond a mile, but there’s no doubt he’s a promising horse who can figure again.

RACE 9: SOUTH WALL HANDICAP

#11 Who Dat Singa pulled up lame after a disappointing last start effort but his first Hong Kong run was very good. He gets into this race well with only 120 pounds on his back and the blinkers go on for the first time in Hong Kong, although he did wear them when he raced in Western Australia. His trainer Richard Gibson has not won a Sha Tin race since May, though, going through a 34-meeting drought at the track. Still, the booking of Joao Moreira – on the verge of a century of winners this season – looks a major positive, although the Magic Man has only won once for Gibson from 21 rides for the trainer in the last three years. The pros outweigh the cons with him and he can win here. #4 Solar Hei Hei is a very honest customer who is coming off a clear career-worst effort at Happy Valley in December, when he got caught up in a speed battle and weakened out. It’s an effort that should be forgiven, especially now that he comes off a two-month freshen-up. He may be on his mark but there is every chance he might still have one more win left in him with his rating now in the 90s. #12 Big Bang Bong is tough to catch but did manage to win at both courses in Class 3. With his rating now tipping him into Class 2, he gets a weight break and perhaps he can go close again. #3 Midnight Rattler does appear to be on his mark now, but he is also the type of horse who will be around the placings if he gets a few breaks in running.

RACE 10: TAK KU LING HANDICAP

#13 Nothingilikemore has drawn awkwardly here but couldn’t have been more impressive on debut almost a month ago, coming from near the rear for a barnstorming two and a quarter length success. He rises in class but gets a drop in weight to compensate, so he only carries 117 pounds, and he looks to have scope to head far higher. #3 Friends Of Nanjing took time to work his way back into form but he has really hit his straps again at his last two without winning over 1600m. He is on the verge of taking his rating into Class 2 territory, but he strikes as tough a Class 3 race as he will ever face, and he must step back to 1400m. Still, with the right run, he can challenge. #9 Super Sixteen was terrific with a win on debut and wasn’t disgraced second time out. He has the inside draw and should track up behind the speed. #5 Mongolian King has produced two good efforts to begin his Hong Kong career without winning. If he continues to progress, he’ll be finding the winners’ circle shortly.