05/29/2017 10:04AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Wednesday May 31, 2017)

RACE 1: #5 Smart Union, #4 Gran Master, #10 Crown Avenue, #2 Winaswewish
RACE 2: #1 Consistent, #12 Gentlemen, #2 Noted Performer, #9 Hello Kimberley
RACE 3: #9 Starlot, #8 Kirov, #6 Respect, #1 Look Eras
RACE 4: #4 Cape The Faith, #1 Turin Pearl, #11 Curling Luxury, #5 Expedite
RACE 5: #5 Bolshoi Ballet, #9 Goldie Flanker, #1 California Aspar, #11 Salsa Brothers
RACE 6: #12 Mr Picasso, #2 Borntoachieve, #1 Big Flash, #8 Sunny Win
RACE 7: #5 Solar Hei Hei, #1 People's Knight, #9 Time Warp, #4 Friends Of Ka Ying
RACE 8: #1 Apollo's Choice, #3 Royal Performer, #4 White Magic, #10 Beauty Love

RACE 1: PUI O HANDICAP

#5 Smart Union has had an injury-interrupted campaign but his last run suggested he was on track again. He has run on the dirt twice for two failures, but they were both over 1200m, a distance far too short for him. He should get a nice run under Callan Murray and he is a leading chance. #4 Gran Master is sure to have his admirers with Joao Moreira replacing Alex Lai in the saddle. He has run well at both starts to date and looks a winner-in-waiting. #10 Crown Avenue is on the cusp of a drop into Class 5, but his two runs on this surface have been full of merit. The step up to 1800m should suit and Chad Schofield replaces Kei Chong, a significant positive. #2 Winaswewish has been mixing his form of late after a fairly consistent season. He might be too highly rated now, but he can get into the placings over this course and distance, especially with a soft run.

RACE 2: SILVERMINE BAY HANDICAP

#1 Consistent ran well over this course and distance in January, albeit finishing a long way behind 10-length winner Vanilla. He’s now back in Class 5 and with Dylan Mo’s 10-pound claim, he gets in very well. He will be hard to hold out. #12 Gentlemen is getting a raft of gear changes here – blinkers off, hood off, visor on, ear plugs on. He also gets the 10-pound claim of Matthew Poon, meaning he only carries 109 pounds. If he’s ever going to win a race, this might be it. #2 Noted Performer has reached Class 5 for the first time after eight starts in Class 4. He gets Joao Moreira aboard, replacing Alex Lai, and his sole run on this surface two back was good enough to suggest he’ll be competitive down in grade. #9 Hello Kimberley is one worth including in exotics. He was a 244-1 winner in Class 4 last season, but he has been terrible in recent starts over distances that are too short for him these days. He received a seven-pound drop off his last run and now, with the step up to 1800m, he is a knockout chance.

RACE 3: HAP MUN BAY HANDICAP

#9 Starlot has found his groove at his last two starts to go close twice over this course and distance, beaten a half-length into second on both occasions. He should be winning very shortly, and this race looks ideal, especially with a good run from gate four. #8 Kirov runs for the first time in almost three months here. He has had some foot issues since, but he has run a number of luckless races on this surface and the freshen-up might do him the world of good. Matthew Poon’s 10-pound claim won’t hurt either. #6 Respect has run plenty of strong races over this course and distance, although he has only won once from 12 attempts. His last run was by far his best ever on turf and he will be around the mark again. #1 Look Eras drops in class once again. He should be able to get near the speed from gate 11 under Dylan Mo and if he doesn’t have too tough a run, he will be a chance.

RACE 4: KIU TSUI HANDICAP

#4 Cape The Faith improved out of sight at his first run over this course and distance, failing by just a neck two back. Matthew Poon jumps back aboard again and with only 115 pounds to carry, he will be tough to run down. #1 Turin Pearl is a veteran who gets down to Class 4 for the first time at his 39th local start. He is too good a horse on this surface to write him off, especially now that he gets the drop in grade. Neil Callan is a big positive for him as well. #11 Curling Luxury was atrocious last time out when seemingly struggling to handle the wet dirt. He had been good before that, also on wet dirt, and perhaps if he races closer he can get into the finish. #5 Expedite has not shown a great deal in his recent starts. However he was a two-time winner over this course and distance in this grade last season and he is liable to improve at any time.

RACE 5: HAP MUN BAY HANDICAP

#5 Bolshoi Ballet has looked likely to break through a number of times this season but is yet to get that first win on the board. With Matthew Poon’s allowance taken into consideration, he only has 114 pounds on his back and he should be able to get into the finish from a good draw. #9 Goldie Flanker has impressed with his turn of foot to win his last two races. He might end up getting even higher than Class 4, but his racing style makes him a horse worth opposing here. Still, he’s one of the horses to beat. #1 California Aspar drops into Class 4 for the first time. The nuggety galloper appears to still be acclimatising but he looks like he should be suited on the dirt and he’s a blowout chance under Alvin Ng. #11 Salsa Brothers has an awkward draw but has run well enough over this course and distance to suggest he is one to include for the exotics.

RACE 6: CHEUNG SHA HANDICAP

#12 Mr Picasso is a quirky galloper who has more talent than he’s been able to show so far. He switches to the dirt for the first time, a surface over which he’s been impressive in trials, and he is the type of horse that will be suited by a senior rider in Karis Teetan. A nice run from gate four should ensure that he is in with a chance. #2 Borntoachieve was heavily backed last time out and ran a good third, although he was swallowed up by swoopers late. The switch to Chad Schofield looks a plus and he can figure. #1 Big Flash has drawn awkwardly in gate 12 but he has a racing style that suggests he will be suited on dirt. Matthew Poon’s 10-pound claim is another positive for him, and he will be somewhere around the mark. #8 Sunny Win ran well over this course and distance three back. This might be too sharp for him but with the right run, he can get into the placings.

RACE 7: CAFETERIA HANDICAP

#5 Solar Hei Hei has been, for the most part, consistent this season, but is yet to win. He might be on his mark, but the switch to dirt looks a fascinating move. He will push forward and he has the ability to sustain a sprint, something which is crucial on this surface, and with Matthew Poon taking his weight down to 115 pounds, he will be hard to beat. #1 People's Knight is two for two over the course and distance, both wins coming fairly convincingly. He might not have much room to move on his current rating of 92 but he’s a chance again after a good run on turf last time. #9 Time Warp has taken time to acclimatise, as most horses do, but his last few runs have been fairly good. The step up to 1650m should be a positive and there’s no reason to think he won’t handle the dirt – he did win a Southwell maiden by six lengths, and the fibresand form has been seen to hold up on the Sha Tin dirt in the past. #4 Friends Of Ka Ying is racing very honestly currently but just can’t break through for that elusive victory. There’s every chance he gets that here, although it is an open race.

RACE 8: CLEAR WATER BAY HANDICAP

#1 Apollo's Choice has been a disappointment this season, after looking a potential triple-figure horse in the making. His honesty, until recently at least, has almost been his biggest flaw as it has meant he has remained high in the ratings. Now, at his 27th Hong Kong start, he tackles Class 3 for the first time. Matthew Poon’s claim ensures that he is very well-treated in the handicaps and with only 123 pounds on his back against this group of horses, he should be hard to hold out. #3 Royal Performer has charged home at two of his last three starts to suggest that he is right on the cusp of a win. He will have plenty of admirers from another good gate, and he is a top contender. #4 White Magic has been out of sorts this season as John Moore has tried to figure out the grey galloper, but a closing fourth last-start suggests he might be close to having the puzzle solved. If he runs up to that effort, he can figure. #10 Beauty Love is making his dirt debut here. His last three efforts have been strong and if he can run up to that effort on the speed, he can get into the placings.