05/04/2017 2:14PM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong selections and analysis for Sunday, May 7, 2017

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS

(Sunday, May 7, 2017)

 

RACE 1: #1 Ah Bo, #7 Hit A Home Run, #10 Unique Joyful, #8 Lightning And Gold

RACE 2: #1 Ensuring, #3 Green Dispatch, #8 Jolly Gene, #2 Sharp Sailor

RACE 3: #2 Sight Leader, #9 Infinity Endeavour, #5 Multigogo, #7 Enjoy Life

RACE 4: #1 Club Life, #5 Lucky Power, #12 Polymer Luck, #8 Triumphant Light

RACE 5: #7 Gorgeous Again, #11 Garlic Yeah, #6 Blazing Pass, #4 Allcash

RACE 6: #1 Magic Legend, #7 Golden Harvest, #4 Archippus, #3 My Little Friend

RACE 7: #4 Rapper Dragon, #2 Helene Paragon, #1 Beauty Only, #5 Stormy Antarctic

RACE 8: #2 Mr Stunning, #9 Thewizardofoz, #4 Peniaphobia, #3 Lucky Bubbles

RACE 9: #2 Little Giant, #13 Pakistan Baby, #3 Star Of Joy, #8 Invincible Fresh

RACE 10: #1 New Asia Sunrise, #3 My Darling, #7 Pikachu, #10 Happy Agility

 

RACE 1: BERING SEA HANDICAP

#1 Ah Bo is far from a prolific winner, having won only once in his 26 Hong Kong starts. However, he is now getting down to Class 5 for the first time. The mile, over which he is untested, appears as though it should suit and he is drawn to get a soft run in transit. He will be hard to beat. #7 Hit A Home Run is not an easy horse to catch either and has been out of sorts since putting together four wins in five starts in 2014 – he has won once since, but generally he has disappointed. He has struggled to make ground at his two most recent Class 5 runs under Joao Moreira, but maybe a switch to Sam Clipperton might spark him up. It is coming up on three years since #10 Unique Joyful won a race, but he has been good at his two runs in Class 5 so far and he does get a significant jockey change to Zac Purton. #8 Lightning And Gold is another with a major jockey upgrade with Chad Schofield replacing Kei Chiong. He has been terrible this season but he has been freshened up since his last start and there are signs to suggest he can turn it around here.

 

RACE 2: SOUTHERN OCEAN HANDICAP

#1 Ensuring ran third in the HKG3 Ladies’ Purse (1800m) last season but has not looked the same since. He has run some OK races though, particularly in this grade, and with Joao Moreira jumping aboard, this looks a race for him to return to the winners’ circle. #3 Green Dispatch has been bowling around on the dirt in recent starts but, despite his pedigree, perhaps he is better suited to turf at this stage. He won off a higher mark in October and does get a jockey upgrade from Dylan Mo to Hugh Bowman. His stablemate #8 Jolly Gene should have won two starts ago before an awkward draw scuppered his chances last start. He’s a leading player if Vincent Ho can rate him similarly to how Matthew Chadwick did two back. #2 Sharp Sailor finished just ahead of Jolly Gene last start. He is hard to catch on a win line but he has been fairly consistent of late and he should be around the mark.

 

RACE 3: ARCTIC OCEAN HANDICAP

#2 Sight Leader looked a horse heading far higher than Class 4 when winning on debut over the straight 1000m. He goes to the top of the weights now and must take that form to the circle, but there is no reason to think that he won’t continue his progression with another win here. Blueblood #9 Infinity Endeavour produced a good effort on debut on New Year’s Day, finishing fourth in a good form race. He looks to have improved since, based on his trials, and although he will eventually be better over further, he can still figure here on his way through. #5 Multigogo still appears to be figuring out the caper, but he does have ability. Kei Chiong doesn’t look an ideal booking, replacing an injured Matthew Chadwick, but he will likely go forward and make his own luck. Debutant #7 Enjoy Life finished a distant second to exciting youngster Hot King Prawn in a recent trial and looks to have had a good preparation ahead of his first start.

 

RACE 4: SOUTH CHINA SEA HANDICAP

#1 Club Life has not won since December 2014, when he managed to score off a mark of 74. He now drops into Class 4 for the first time since his second start in 2013. He has an unbeaten record in the grade and, like many of trainer Richard Gibson’s horses, he appears to be nearing a mark where he should be winning again. With premier jockey Zac Purton aboard, expect him to bounce and lead or sit handy from gate 13 – he’ll be staying on late. #5 Lucky Power was very disappointing under Purton last time when he couldn’t race near the speed as intended. Hugh Bowman will likely be looking for a forward position from a good draw, and if he can bounce back, he shapes as the main danger. #12 Polymer Luck has finished second four times this season from seven starts. A change of luck is all he needs to be able to get into the finish. #8 Triumphant Light is racing well enough and with Joao Moreira aboard, he must be considered some chance.

 

RACE 5: CARIBBEAN SEA HANDICAP

#7 Gorgeous Again has really put it together at his last three starts, winning three races on end. The style of his victory last time out suggests that he can add another, at the very least, and this race looks to set up similarly to last start. #11 Garlic Yeah is another who has come of age in recent starts, mostly at Happy Valley. However, he arguably should have won two back behind Gorgeous Again, and he meets that galloper a whopping 21 pounds better once Dylan Mo’s claim is considered. He’s the main danger. #6 Blazing Pass is difficult to catch but he can always get into the finish under the right set of circumstances. He should get a soft run from gate one and if he doesn’t get fired up and he gets clear room in plenty of time, he can get into the placings. #4 Allcash has been a major disappointment, but this race looks his best chance in some time of being able to finish around the money, particularly with Joao Moreira sticking solid.

 

RACE 6: PACIFIC OCEAN HANDICAP

#1 Magic Legend has done something that very few horses have achieved, winning his first four races in Hong Kong. He could have appeared in the Chairman's Sprint Prize later in the card and started in the market, but instead, trainer John Moore is keeping him to handicaps, hoping to keep his rating at a level where he will get into Group races with a lighter weight in the coming months. He will almost certainly make it to a Hong Kong Sprint later in the year, if he is fit and firing, but with an ideal draw here, he can keep his perfect local record intact. #7 Golden Harvest has only 103 pounds on his back with the claim for Dylan Mo. He has already dropped 30 points from his career peak rating, and if he can get a good spot trailing the speed, he will be a tough contender. #4 Archippus is a workmanlike galloper, unassuming but tough and consistent. He did run second to Mr Stunning, in receipt of only three pounds, over this course and distance in January, and with the treasured outside gate over the Sha Tin straight 1000m, he must rank as a chance. #3 My Little Friend is another who performs to his best over this track and trip. He will likely be running on late.

 

RACE 7: G1 CHAMPIONS MILE

#4 Rapper Dragon is the rising star of the Hong Kong scene. The first horse to take all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series – the Hong Kong Classic Mile, Hong Kong Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby – his form was franked by the likes of Pakistan Star and Eagle Way last weekend. He beat most of these in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy last start, and this looks his chance to get a maiden G1 score. His stablemate #2 Helene Paragon has looked flat at his last two starts after winning two G1 races earlier in the season. He would have been written off except for two scintillating gallops this week which have suggested he might be back to his old self. A simple weights and measures assessment will have #1 Beauty Only as the main danger to Rapper Dragon, getting five pounds back off the Derby winner for a half-length defeat in the Chairman’s Trophy. However, the Hong Kong Mile winner needs plenty to go his way, and there’s no guarantee that will happen from barrier two. He is a chance but he may be worth opposing if he is too short. British visitor #5 Stormy Antarctic still looks quite raw, despite the fact he is already a veteran of 11 starts. It is an intriguing move for trainer Ed Walker to put blinkers on first time in this contest, and he might be worth including in all quinella plays.

 

RACE 8: G1 CHAIRMAN’S SPRINT PRIZE

On paper, this appears to be #2 Mr Stunning’s race to lose. The G2 Sprint Cup winner beat most of these at level weights last time and while most of these are either at their mark or on the way down, he appears to still be on the rise. He should get an ideal run behind the speed from gate four and with even luck, he will be a G1 winner in the 70 seconds it takes to run this race. #9 Thewizardofoz has always looked to have G1 potential, but he has had numerous issues that have held him back. He was solid fresh behind Mr Stunning last time out and should take great improvement for the run. It might be tough for him to win, but he is worth throwing into exotics. #4 Peniaphobia is an honest conveyance who will jump out and lead. If he doesn’t receive too much pressure, he will be the one they will all have to gun down inside the 200 metres. #3 Lucky Bubbles is good enough to win this race, but he looked very flat in the Sprint Cup. He’s a lightly-framed horse and he would be better served by a spell. In any case, he should still be around the mark, but it is hard to see him winning in his current form.

 

RACE 9: INDIAN OCEAN HANDICAP

#2 Little Giant makes his belated debut here after an intended start in November was aborted due to lameness. He looked a promising animal in New Zealand when winning two for two under the name Blackcrown, including a maiden victory over subsequent G1 Australian Cup winner Humidor. However, it has been his Hong Kong trials that have suggested he has untapped ability and is more than capable of pushing far higher than his current rating of 74. He’s worth playing at his Hong Kong debut. #13 Pakistan Baby ran home very solidly for second last time out, belying his reputation as more of a Happy Valley specialist. He has been in good form of late and can bob up once again with luck. #3 Star Of Joy has performed solidly at his first three starts without winning. He will likely be around the mark once again. #8 Invincible Fresh steps out for Ricky Yiu for the first time here. He has not raced since November and he might need the run, but he is drawn to get all favours and can fire off this mark.

 

RACE 10: ATLANTIC OCEAN HANDICAP

There are few more likeable horses in Hong Kong than #1 New Asia Sunrise. The nuggety, baldy-faced chestnut, who barely tips the scales at 1000 pounds, has the heart of a tiger and fights on doggedly, even when he is clearly outmatched – as he was against Western Express last start. He is a straightforward horse, so Jack Wong looks a positive booking taking seven pounds off. With 126 pounds against this field, he will be right in contention. #3 My Darling was tested in the Hong Kong Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby, but he wasn’t good enough and he didn’t stay. Back to a 1400m Class 2 looks ideal now, but it just depends if he has reached his mark already. To the eye, he looks to have one more win left in him. #7 Pikachu is typically honest and comes out of a good effort behind very promising galloper Nothingilikemore. The inside gate is not ideal but he looks suited by this sort of race and should be running on late. #10 Happy Agility has been one of this season’s most consistent animals, winning three times and placing a further four from seven starts. This is tougher again, but with his honesty, he can find his way into the placings again.