12/29/2016 11:29AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong selections and analysis for Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS

(Sunday, January 1, 2017)

 

RACE 1: #13 Win Chance, #9 High Speed Metro, #2 Rock The Tree, #6 France Valour

RACE 2: #3 Beloved, #5 Bond Elegance, #7 Ten Speed, #12 Peace Combination

RACE 3: #2 Wingold, #7 Plain Blue Banner, #9 Fantasticlife, #10 Spicy Double

RACE 4: #4 Victory Master, #2 Happy And Healthy, #10 Dashing Dart, #5 Go Beauty Go

RACE 5: #6 Star Of Patch, #4 Infinity Endeavour, #10 Prince Harmony, #11 Daring Fit

RACE 6: #4 Jade Theatre, #1 Keen Venture, #3 Super Leader, #12 Endearing

RACE 7: #1 A Beautiful, #2 High Volatility, #5 Smiling Charm, #9 Ambitious Heart

RACE 8: #6 Dashing Fellow, #5 Blizzard, #7 Racing Supernova, #3 Sun Jewellery

RACE 9: #2 Booming Delight, #13 Unicron Jewellery, #4 Friends Of Nanjing, #9 Jade Fortune

RACE 10: #3 Seasons Bloom, #11 Beat The Clock, #4 Agree, #5 Wushu Champion

RACE 11: #3 Mr Stunning, #2 Line Seeker, #6 Clever Beaver, #13 Most Beautiful

 

RACE 1: ROBIN’S NEST HANDICAP

#13 Win Chance is now at a spot in the ratings where he should be winning, or at least proving competitive, however he is difficult to settle in his races and so has little to offer at the finish. Gate two may not be ideal, but if Keith Yeung can ride the horse the way he did from the same barrier when the horse last won over the course and distance in June, 2015 – sitting one out and one back in fourth, the horse overracing slightly but not expending too much energy – he can win here. #9 High Speed Metro has been racing in good form for new trainer Peter Ho, recording a win and two placings at his last three starts. The return to Sha Tin looks a plus and he can be competitive again. #2 Rock The Tree should be able to win in Class 5 shortly, although his form suggests he is probably not at his prime over the 2000m. It’s been a long drop through the ratings for #6 France Valour, who arrived in Hong Kong rated 85 and with form around the likes of Flintshire, Triple Threat and Max Dynamite. The booking of Joao Moreira might be the spark he needs.

 

RACE 2: GRASSY HILL HANDICAP

In a race where the exposed types don’t look to be that strong, there are two first starters who instead appeal far more. #3 Beloved has looked a nice horse from the training track and has impressed with his progression through barrier trials. He was struggling early, but his last barrier trial was particularly eye-catching. He is a horse that will appreciate further than the 1000m, but don’t be surprised to see him right in the firing line on debut. #5 Bond Elegance is the likely favourite for the John Size-Joao Moreira combination, having trialled well. He should be able to jump out and put himself on speed here from an ideal gate, and he will be the one to run down. #7 Ten Speed and #12 Peace Combination are best of the raced brigade, though they look quite an even bunch.
 

RACE 3: MOUNT PARKER TROPHY

#2 Wingold has always looked a more talented galloper than the rating he finds himself on now, but he has had trouble putting everything together in his races. With Zac Purton aboard from the inside gate, he should save every inch of ground and this looks the perfect opportunity for him to break through. #7 Plain Blue Banner is a typical Class 5 horse – he’s nothing special but he’s honest and when he’s on a rating where he’s competitive, he’ll run his usual honest race. He definitely looks capable of picking up another race on his current mark of 37. #9 Fantasticlife and #10 Spicy Double have drawn the outside two gates but in a race that doesn’t look overly strong, even by Class 5 standards, expect both to be hitting the line solidly late.

 

RACE 4: KOWLOON PEAK HANDICAP

Veteran #4 Victory Master broke through for the first time in nearly four years three back, while his last two efforts at Happy Valley have been encouraging. The return to the Sha Tin 1600m looks a positive and he maps well. He is capable of winning again. #2 Happy And Healthy shared the lead with Victory Master at Happy Valley last start, and if anything outgunned him before being overhauled by winner Super Sprinter. However, Happy And Healthy’s best form is at the city track, although his best runs at Sha Tin have been when he has gone in off good form at the Valley, as he does here. #10 Dashing Dart looks a typical Hong Kong project in that he is starting to find form and is the type who will be breaking through soon, while #5 Go Beauty Go is sure to start hard in the market but still looks green and is worth opposing if he is too short.
 

RACE 5: WONG LENG HANDICAP

#6 Star Of Patch made nice ground in the centre of the track down the straight on debut and has since trialled very nicely. He has an awkward draw, but he looks a horse who will quickly find his way out of Class 4. It is extremely rare to have a debutant out of a mare who once raced in Hong Kong, but #4 Infinity Endeavour fits the bill. A son of Fastnet Rock, he is out of Black Mamba, a mare who started her career in New Zealand and finished fifth to Princess Coup (the dam of stakes horse Thewizardofoz) in the New Zealand Oaks. She then went to the United States, where she was a G1 winner at Del Mar among numerous black-type successes, before her career finished with a last to Daryakana in the 2009 Hong Kong Vase. Her son has looked a good horse in the mornings, particularly with the blinkers on, and Infinity Endeavour will be hard to beat on debut here. #10 Prince Harmony and #11 Daring Fit both look to be progressing nicely enough, although they look the types who will be Class 4 fixtures, not like the top two.

 

RACE 6: LANTAU PEAK HANDICAP

Hong Kong debutant #4 Jade Theatre previously raced in New Zealand where he won one of his four starts. He finished third, beaten a long neck by stablemate Heroic Valour – who has developed into one of New Zealand’s best colts – in the Listed Matamata Slipper (1200m) two back. He looked green in his New Zealand runs but looked to have quite the engine, and his trials here have indicated that he has progressed significantly. If he can put it all together, even to a small extent, he will be winning here. #1 Keen Venture made solid ground late for a seventh to Water Diviner on international day. To be fair, it was the kind of effort he was renowned for producing in Australia, where he raced as Tulsa – making up ground without troubling the winner. However, with natural improvement, there’s a possibility he finds himself in the mix. #3 Super Leader returns to Class 3 after simply finding Class 2 a bridge too far at this stage. Joao Moreira is a significant jockey booking, taking over the reins from Ben So, but his Sha Tin runs have just been fair so far this season. #12 Endearing is racing his way into form and after five runs, looks ready to win now off a light weight in this company.

 

RACE 7: YI TUNG SHAN HANDICAP

#1 A Beautiful has looked on the brink of breaking through again after a dominant upset victory in June, but in five starts since, the best he has managed is a third. However, he arguably should have won a couple of them if not for bad luck. Back down to Class 4 looks suitable even with the big weight and this looks the easiest field he has faced in some time with no real progressive types to face. #2 High Volatility looks to be struggling to break through the ceiling into Class 3, running well without winning under big weights in Class 4. A strong rider in Brett Prebble is a plus for the quirky galloper, but he might just produce a good run without winning again. #5 Smiling Charm was good in winning first-up before he was just fair up to a mile last time out. Back to 1400m looks to suit. Next best, #9 Ambitious Heart, who comes from some admittedly moderate griffin races but should be making up solid ground late.
 

RACE 8: G3 CHINESE CLUB CHALLENGE CUP HANDICAP

A small but competitive field for the first stakes race of the 2017 calendar year. Every one of the seven runners raced on international day, with the top four in saddlecloth order racing in the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) and the other three coming out of the Class 1 Flying Dancer Handicap (1400m). Generally, the Class 1 proves the best form guide, having been over the course and distance and with runners out of the race not coming off an effort where they have peaked last time out. Also, they get in well at the weights. With that in mind, there’s a chance that race’s third placegetter #6 Dashing Fellow can take this out. He’ll be up on the speed, as long as French rider Alexis Badel can jump him out of the gates, and this race looks set to be run in a similar way to races where he has performed in the past. #5 Blizzard won the Class 1 three weeks ago narrowly after a number of luckless efforts. He might have hit a peak for now but if they happen to slacken the speed mid-race, expect Joao Moreira to make a sustained run again and he can figure. #7 Racing Supernova looks to have the most points in hand in the ratings and could even head for the Dubai World Cup Carnival after this. He was unsuited last time out after an awkward start and while it looks like it could be run similarly again, if he can position handier, he might be able to take advantage. Of the others, #3 Sun Jewellery was disappointing in the Hong Kong Mile after looking a legitimate chance, however back to 1400m he could improve and he should be able to track the speed. Don’t discount him.

 

RACE 9: LIN FA SHAN HANDICAP

#2 Booming Delight arrived in Hong Kong with quite a reputation for a horse of his record. The English import, who won two races and finished sixth in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot under the name Out And About, has been touted by many as the ideal purchase for Hong Kong, including by one of his jockeys in the UK, Ryan Moore. Booming Delight debuted with a very solid third, making ground from a long way back behind two talents in Beat The Clock and Winner’s Way. This looks an easier assignment and there’s every chance he’ll use this as a stepping stone to the Hong Kong Classic Cup, if not the Hong Kong Classic Mile. #13 Unicron Jewellery was a bit flat last time out as a heavy favourite at his first run in Class 3 with a light weight. He can be forgiven one run but needs to step up here. #4 Friends Of Nanjing has disappointed this season and has had injury issue after injury issue, but the talent is definitely there and it wouldn’t shock to see him take a step forward here with two runs now under his belt. #9 Jade Fortune made steady ground last time out and looks to be nearing a point in the ratings where he will be winning.

 

RACE 10: SUNSET PEAK HANDICAP

#3 Seasons Bloom had absolutely no luck at his Hong Kong debut, finding himself in behind runners for much of the straight, but showed a deft turn of foot to easily best a Class 3 field second-up. He won in the manner of a good horse last time out, and even with eight pounds more to carry, he should be difficult to beat – there’s even a possibility they could be talking about the Hong Kong Classic Mile in three weeks should he win this. #11 Beat The Clock was just nosed out by Winner’s Way on international day in an effort that was every bit as good as the victor’s. performance He will get much higher than 66 in the ratings and will prove hard to overcome here. #4 Agree caught the eye with his sixth first-up two weeks ago. He just held his ground but looked in dire need of the run, and with one run under his belt, the English import can be competitive here.  These three are clear of their rivals on paper, with #5 Wushu Champion the horse that can add some spice to exotics. The flashy chestnut has run better races than it appears and looks to be suited back to the Sha Tin 1400m.
 

RACE 11: TAI MO SHAN HANDICAP

#3 Mr Stunning was game on international day, bouncing straight to the front, leading at solid sectionals and still having plenty in reserve late. He meets most of these worse at the weights but also shapes as though he has improvement left in him, so he will be hard to beat again. #2 Line Seeker appears to be nearing a ceiling in the ratings after a narrow victory two back and a closing last-start fifth. Still, he’s an honest horse who will not be disgraced. #6 Clever Beaver’s rating is as high as ever and he has never really looked a horse who would be competitive from the middle of Class 2, however his last run was terrific and it is hard to discount him in the form he is in currently. Next best, #13 Most Beautiful, who was solid at his first Hong Kong run down the straight and looks to have taken great benefit from the hitout.