01/16/2017 9:00AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, January 18, 2017


(Wednesday January 18, 2017)

RACE 1: #2 Born Dragon, #10 Snowhooves, #11 Novel Start, #8 Lucky Friends
RACE 2: #3 Gentlemen, #4 Jimson The Famous, #6 Soccer Brave, #1 Commandant
RACE 3: #4 Pablosky, #1 Dundonnell, #2 Fabulous One, #6 Wah May Friend
RACE 4: #10 I’m The Won For U, #8 Respect, #9 Salsa Brothers, #6 Horse Supremo
RACE 5: #11 Peace Combination, #12 Confucius Spirit, #6 Grade One, #5 Bond Elegance
RACE 6: #1 Enormous Honour, #8 Electronic Phoenix, #6 Red Marvel, #10 Turin Pearl
RACE 7: #1 Vanilla, #11 Flying Machine, #2 Enreaching, #3 Expedite
RACE 8: #3 Love Shock, #1 California Whip, #8 Who Else But You, #7 Sunny Dragon


#2 Born Dragon has been improving since he dropped into Class 5, running a solid third last time out. He finally draws a gate and gets Joao Moreira aboard, but he may be better suited back at 1650m. Still, he looks the most likely winner here and so he must go on top. Karis Teetan switches spots with Moreira and jumps aboard #10 Snowhooves, who has his first start since November. He is the right type of horse for the dirt in that he is quite one-paced but can maintain a run. He gets in with only 122 pounds and despite gate 11, he should be in the mix. #11 Novel Start has always been better over the 1200m. He returns to this course and distance for the first time since March and although he’s now a nine-year-old, he might still have one more win left in him. At big odds, include #8 Lucky Friends in all exotics. He’s finished last in all five of his career starts, but drops 12 ratings points from last start. He has joined David Ferraris, he has looked OK in the mornings and he gets a good draw with returning jockey Douglas Whyte taking the ride. He could finish last again, but he should be included in quinellas and trios at a big price.


#3 Gentlemen has been touted a number of times but has not yet found his way into the winners’ circle. The son of Bernardini heads to the dirt for the first time and also has a maiden attempt in blinkers, and with Neil Callan aboard from a good gate he gets a great opportunity to break through here. #4 Jimson The Famous is another who is bred for dirt but he has drawn wide here. He gets Joao Moreira aboard again and will be breaking through soon. #6 Soccer Brave beat Jimson The Famous by almost four lengths last time out but meets him eight pounds worse this time. The step up in trip should suit but it remains to be seen if he can go back-to-back again. #1 Commandant is always around the mark in these sorts of races and must be included again.


#4 Pablosky trialled strongly last week with blinkers applied. He doesn’t get the full blinkers on here, instead getting pacifiers with cowls in an attempt to help him settle. He only has to carry 122 pounds here and off that mark, he will be hard to beat. #1 Dundonnell has never raced on dirt but he has always trialled very well on the surface. He is on trial for a trip to Dubai for the Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night and if he can find his best, he’ll be competitive, even with 133 pounds. Another under consideration for a Meydan journey is #2 Fabulous One, who races for the first time since a Happy Valley win in June. He won an award as Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse last season, going up 59 points in the ratings, and while he has never raced on dirt, he has always trialled extremely well on the all-weather track. Also, his racing style should also suit dirt racing. He might need this run but expect him to put forward his Dubai credentials here. Next best, #6 Wah May Friend, who gets Joao Moreira aboard and has only 117 pounds on his back. He should get a nice run in transit.


#10 I’m The Won For U has been around the mark without winning. He’s going to be breaking through shortly, somewhere near this mark, and he looks like he should get the perfect run in this race. #8 Respect has had a couple of setbacks throughout this season but he is a straightforward horse in that he will race on or near the speed and he should be in the mix until very late. #9 Salsa Brothers almost caused an upset at monster odds when he just faded late for fourth three runs back. Dylan Mo is not the best booking, but he has drawn the inside and he might be able to stick on again. #6 Horse Supremo is not the most reliable conveyance and he may be on his mark but if he gets to the front, he might be able to dictate and kick clear.


#11 Peace Combination was just beaten in his first try at the course and distance. He’s drawn well again and strikes an easier race, so he should be hard to beat on the speed. Blinkers go on to #12 Confucius Spirit for the first time. He’s drawn wide, but he gets in with a light weight and he can figure here. Debutant #6 Grade One has had a good preparation and has looked ready from his trials. He gets the blinkers on for his first start and it wouldn’t surprise to see him in the mix. Fellow three-year-old #5 Bond Elegance disappointed as a heavy favourite on debut, finishing eighth down the straight. Stepping up in trip will suit and he also gets blinkers on, so the son of Hard Spun should be given another chance.


#1 Enormous Honour goes onto the dirt for the first time at his 27th Hong Kong start. He shapes as the right type of horse for this surface, in that he is able to sustain a long run. He does have to carry a lot of weight but he gets a nice draw for once and he can break through for his second Hong Kong win. #8 Electronic Phoenix has been good since he switched to this surface for the first time in June, with one win and three placings from six runs on the dirt in that time. A better draw here should see him finishing strongly. #6 Red Marvel has drawn awkwardly but can still prove competitive, while #10 Turin Pearl is a dirt specialist and gets a significant jockey upgrade to Chad Schofield.


#1 Vanilla was well-beaten when last at Happy Valley last week but he races well on this surface and drops to Class 4 for the first time. He has won two from four over this course and distance with one second as well and he can improve significantly with the return to dirt. #11 Flying Machine returns to dirt after two good efforts on the surface earlier this season. He gets the inside gate here and should be in the mix. #2 Enreaching is working his way into form and looks to be a chance again, while course specialist #3 Expedite has only his second try at the 1800m and should be running on late.


#3 Love Shock has emerged as a promising sprinter very quickly, winning three of his first seven starts. He’s a giant, weighing in at almost 1300 pounds. He took to Happy Valley comfortably last time out with blinkers on for the first time, winning by a length but doing his best work late. He has drawn wide again and he might be looking for a step up in trip but he still looks progressive enough to win again. #1 California Whip has impressed in his first two starts in Hong Kong. It seems an odd move to head to the dirt and drop back to the 1200m, but he can continue his progression towards some of the bigger four-year-old races with a good effort here. #8 Who Else But You gets blinkers on for the first time and looks the right type of horse for the dirt. He’s drawn well and he’ll be in this for a long way. Next best, #7 Sunny Dragon, who has little form to date but works like he relishes the dirt.