03/16/2017 10:42AM

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

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS

(Sunday, March 19, 2017)

 

RACE 1: #1 Jumbo Luck, #12 Indigenous Star, #2 Mr Picasso, #8 Mr Oriole

RACE 2: #1 Hit A Home Run, #3 Winner St Paul's, #2 Carry To Win, #4 Winning Boy

RACE 3: #6 Dashing Fellow, #7 Invincible Dragon, #2 Helene Paragon, #3 Contentment

RACE 4: #4 Winfull Patrol, #1 Fish N' Chips, #5 Encore Boy, #11 Strathclyde

RACE 5: #5 Rattan, #7 Cool And Neat, #2 King's Man, #13 Wingold

RACE 6: #3 Merrygowin, #4 City Legend, #6 G-One Lover, #14 Unbeatable Guts

RACE 7: #2 Ensuring, #5 Rickfield, #10 Mambo Rock, #14 Jolly Gene

RACE 8: #8 Booming Delight, #6 Gold Mount, #1 Rapper Dragon, #3 Pakistan Star

RACE 9: #3 Jing Jing Win, #4 Classic Vinegar, #12 Happy Happy Star, #7 Chung Wah Spirit

RACE 10: #4 Super Lifeline, #1 Western Express, #13 Water Diviner, #10 Keen Venture

 

RACE 1: HELENE MASCOT HANDICAP

#1 Jumbo Luck impressed in winning on debut in November. He has had a patchy work program since, but he has been looking well in recent weeks and he looks capable of winning at the top of Class 4. #12 Indigenous Star has performed well in two straight track efforts, split by a poor effort over this course and distance in January. He steps up to 1200m again but does get the blinkers on and he should be around the mark. #2 Mr Picasso has plenty of ability and he is as good as any other horse in this race. However, he is quirky and also injury-prone. He did win over this course and distance fresh in September, so he is worth including again with Joao Moreira aboard. #8 Mr Oriole finished off nicely down the straight on debut and the extra 200m should be right up his alley.

 

RACE 2: VITAL KING HANDICAP

#1 Hit A Home Run is coming off a poor run on the Sha Tin all-weather track. He is mixing his form, but he returns to Class 5 for the first time in three seasons here with Joao Moreira taking the ride again. He looks ready to win here. #3 Winner St Paul's drops into Class 5 for the first time after running a couple of good races earlier this season near the bottom of Class 4. He has an awkward gate but he will be winning very quickly in this grade and is worth including. #2 Carry To Win is still learning what the caper is all about but he is getting there. He should be suited down in Class 5 and he is a chance. #4 Winning Boy has won twice down in Class 5 over this distance. Ryan Moore jumps aboard, and while it has been 10 months since trainer Richard Gibson won a race at Sha Tin, his stable looks to be finding form currently and it appears only a matter of time before he wins at the New Territories track again.

 

RACE 3: AMBITIOUS DRAGON HANDICAP

A fascinating race which could lose one of its big guns, with Able Friend in some doubt after pulling up lame on Thursday morning. Regardless, it looks a race to take him on. Stablemate #6 Dashing Fellow is no star, but with only 114 pounds on his back, he can give a bold sight. He will be on speed and may prove hard to run down. #7 Invincible Dragon has had a terrific season to date, which continued with his win in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy last time out. He now drops to 113 pounds with Joao Moreira aboard, and while it is a tougher race, he still creates plenty of interest. #2 Helene Paragon arguably should have won the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile in December, but has atoned with back-to-back G1 wins in the Stewards’ Cup over a mile and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup over this course and distance. He really should be in the Dubai Turf next weekend, but is instead sticking to a domestic program. This is a stepping stone for him, so it wouldn’t surprise to see him regress here before returning to form next start ahead of the Champions Mile in May. #3 Contentment is always a chance over this course and distance, although he has been lacking that killer blow this season. Still, he’s a contender in an open race.

 

RACE 4: FAY FAY HANDICAP

#4 Winfull Patrol has not won in over three years and has had plenty of issues in that time. However, he’s always been fairly consistent. This season, he’s struggled a bit up in Class 3, and he could not match a hot tempo at his first start back in Class 4 last time out. Returning to the Sha Tin 1000m should suit him, especially with Jack Wong aboard from the outside gate. If he can jump cleanly, he should lead and prove hard to run down. Drawn next to him is #1 Fish N' Chips, who won under very similar circumstances on New Year’s Day – dropping down to Class 4, getting Dylan Mo aboard and drawn a favourable gate. He should be around the mix again. First-starter #5 Encore Boy has shown speed in his trials and looks to be screwed down for his first run. He is worth including. #11 Strathclyde was heavily backed at his first-up run but couldn’t come into it. He’s drawn the inside gate here, which is not ideal, but he gets Joao Moreira aboard and is worth another chance.

 

RACE 5: BMW CENTENARY HANDICAP

#5 Rattan has not done anything wrong in three starts and has been noticeably improving. The step up to 1600m is a positive, especially from the good gate, and this appears his chance to break through. #7 Cool And Neat was one of Joao Moreira’s eight winners on his record-breaking day two weeks back. The Brazilian rider sticks solid, although he once again has to contend with gate 14. Still, expect him to be coming late. #2 King's Man was looking a coming winner before he failed at his last start in February. He has trialled well since and he is worth another shot with Hugh Bowman taking the mount. #13 Wingold might need the drop back into Class 5 but his last two runs have been very good and he’s a threat yet again.

 

RACE 6: SUPER SATIN HANDICAP

#3 Merrygowin is still a work in progress after two starts, placing on debut before winning by a nose last time out. While he is clearly still learning what the game is about, the way that he has knuckled down to his task at both starts has been impressive. The step up to 1400m only looks a positive and from a good gate, Zac Purton should be able to get him home. #4 City Legend has got a long way back in both starts before finding the line powerfully. He needs every inch of the 1400m and he does get Joao Moreira aboard now. #6 G-One Lover backs up after winning under apprentice Dylan Mo last week. He has to carry 17 pounds more but does get Craig Williams aboard from an inside gate and he should be in this for a long way. #14 Unbeatable Guts is nearing a drop in grade, but his last run wasn’t too bad and he is best over this course and distance. He has also had a horrid run with gates but has an OK draw here and can find his way into the placings.

 

RACE 7: LUGER HANDICAP

#2 Ensuring was near the rear for the majority of his last run, but his two efforts before that were good. The return to 2000m is a big plus, especially with a good draw from the tricky starting point, and Hugh Bowman is a major jockey upgrade. He gets the nod here. #5 Rickfield caused a big shock when winning at Happy Valley last time out, appreciating a mid-race move from Alexis Badel to score.  Silvestre de Sousa might struggle to work the same magic from gate three, but the step up in trip suits and he is more than capable of adding another win. #10 Mambo Rock looks well suited under these conditions and should get a nice run from the inside gate. Joao Moreira sticks solid and with the right run, he should be figuring. #14 Jolly Gene is a better Happy Valley horse, but he was short of luck last time out and with only 113 pounds on his back, he can sneak into the placings.

 

RACE 8: THE BMW HONG KONG DERBY 2017

The Hong Kong Derby is the race every Hong Kong owner wants to win above all others, and with winners like Werther, Designs On Rome, Akeed Mofeed, Collection, Viva Pataca, Vengeance Of Rain and Elegant Fashion since the turn of the century, it is a race that produces top-class horses going forward. This year’s Derby appears a fascinating conclusion to the Four-Year-Old Classic Series. #8 Booming Delight has not run in either of the two legs of the series so far, instead coming through handicaps, where he has won his last three starts. He has come through a similar preparation to last year’s runner-up Victory Magic, except he looks a superior horse. The 2000m remains some query but expect him to mount a strong challenge late. #6 Gold Mount will attempt to become the first horse in two decades to win the Derby at his second Hong Kong start. He looked a very promising horse in the UK, where he was known as Primitivo and won the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, and his first-up win here was very encouraging. He’s a big threat. #1 Rapper Dragon will start a justified favourite after winning the Classic Mile and the Classic Cup at his last two starts. On ratings, he should be the winner and he should get a nice run, but at too short a quote, he is worth trying to beat. #3 Pakistan Star will go back from his wide gate and will be steaming home down the outside. The large Sha Tin crowd will go wild if he manages to win and this race should suit him more than the Classic Cup, but he will need a race run to suit.

 

RACE 9: COLLECTION HANDICAP

#3 Jing Jing Win is an exciting galloper who has won two of his three starts. He was just beaten by pace last time out, engaging in a speed duel and just being run over late. From the inside gate, he should jump out and be on or near the speed and prove too strong late. #4 Classic Vinegar almost scored a first-up victory in Hong Kong in April before disappointing in May. One of just two mares in training in Hong Kong, she has not raced since, but she has looked good in trials and with Ryan Moore aboard, she can run a strong race fresh. #12 Happy Happy Star looks a horse capable of heading far higher than his current 62 rating. He has to contend with the outside barrier here, which could make it tough for him, but there is no doubt he is one of the chances. #7 Chung Wah Spirit was just fair on debut, but he had trialled well leading into that run. He looked a nice horse in Australia, and with a better draw here, expect a better performance.

 

RACE 10: AKEED MOFEED HANDICAP

#4 Super Lifeline has now spent more than three years out of the winners’ circle, having last won in March 2014 when he won the Hong Kong Macau Trophy. However, it has only been at his recent runs that he has finally dropped to a mark below what he was rated that day. Kei Chiong retains the mount here, and if she can jump out and make the running on the Churchill Downs gelding, then he will prove hard to run down. #1 Western Express has proven slightly enigmatic, winning very impressively over 1200m and 1400m but looking a fish out of water when stepped beyond that trip. The return to 1400m looks a plus, even with 131 pounds on his back, and he should prove hard to beat. #13 Water Diviner impressed with wins over 1000m and 1200m to begin his Hong Kong career, but he has been only fair at his last two outings. The step up to 1400m should suit and he is worth throwing in again. #10 Keen Venture made a habit of running good races without winning in Australia, where he was named Tulsa. It seems that he is doing the same thing in Hong Kong. However, he is worth throwing into exotics.