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Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections for Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016)
RACE 1: #10 Good Luck Man, #6 Sea Warrior, #9 Starry Starlies, #5 Forza Avanti
RACE 2: #1 Top Ace, #4 Win It, #3 High Volatility, #8 Supernatural
RACE 3: #7 No Laughing Matter, #14 Snowhooves, #1 Treasure And Gold, #9 Golden Partners
RACE 4: #8 Mr Picasso, #7 Hot Hot Pepper, #5 Diamond Bit, #13 Gentlemen
RACE 5: #9 I'm The Won For U, #2 Smiling Glory, #4 Trillion Treasure, #11 Respect
RACE 6: #14 Hay Go Lucky, #2 Home Run, #5 House Of Fun, #12 Soaring Wyvern
RACE 7: #5 Harbour Alert, #8 Lansbury, #1 Skyrockets, #11 Beauty Connection
RACE 8: #6 Winfield, #12 Lotus Breeze, #1 Why Why, #4 Avellino
RACE 9: #4 Packing Dragon, #11 Easy Hedge, #8 Smart Boy, #5 Sky King
RACE 10: #5 Merion, #14 Pikachu, #1 Circuit Land, #3 Precision King
RACE 1: BROADWOOD HANDICAP
#10 Good Luck Man has speed to burn, but stopped abruptly on a number of occasions last season. He did adopt helter-skelter tactics in a recent barrier trial and held on slightly better, fading to finish third behind subsequent Happy Valley winner Victory Marvel and G1-performed Romantic Touch - good form for this. The switch to Neil Callan, especially with the prime draw of gate three too, suggests that he will be primed for this race. #6 Sea Warrior's last win came second-up last season over this course and distance off a mark 12 points higher. His rider Nash Rawiller is coming off a four-timer at Happy Valley, and he looks to have a good chance here to add to his good start to the season. #9 Starry Starlies was stretched out in trip last season but fresh, the shorter distance may be to his benefit and he is drawn to get a good run with Zac Purton jumping on. #5 Forza Avanti looks to have been aimed at this, with Joao Moreira taking the ride.
RACE 2: CAROLINE HILL HANDICAP
#1 Top Ace has his first start for Tony Millard, having formerly been with deposed trainer Sean Woods. The training styles of Millard and Woods couldn't be more different, but Top Ace appears to be thriving for Millard and has been primed for his first-up run. Another ex-Woods trainee, Good Choice, won at his first start for Dennis Yip on Wednesday, and Top Ace looks another set to break through, although the lack of speed is a concern. One who could take advantage of the forecast pace is #4 Win It, who rarely leads but performs best when sitting handy. Most of his best form has been at Happy Valley, although he has won over this course and distance, and Zac Purton jumps on for the first time in nearly two years. #3 High Volatility has completely lost his way in 10 starts in Hong Kong, but a recent trial suggest improvement is near, while #8 Supernatural is sure to have admirers after a first-up third to Able Deed.
RACE 3: HOI PING HANDICAP
#7 No Laughing Matter found his first hint of form at his first start for the season on opening day with a fifth to Seasons King, backing up some solid barrier trials. Don't be surprised to see him go on with the job. #14 Snowhooves should already have won this term, resuming with a closing third before just being nabbed by Good For You in the shadows of the post last time out. Joao Moreira takes over from Jack Wong but after two perfect draws, he has to make do with gate 13. #1 Treasure And Gold really caught the eye cruising home in a recent barrier trial on the dirt. He has taken time to acclimatise but looks to be putting it together now. #9 Golden Partners is very inconsistent but is drawn to take advantage under Karis Teetan.
RACE 4: LEIGHTON HANDICAP
#8 Mr Picasso is one of Hong Kong's more quirky gallopers, but there is no doubting his ability. He just needs to put it together and he will be heading far higher than his current mark of 51. Joao Moreira will need to weave some magic from gate 13, but expect him to be very hard to beat. On the flip side, #7 Hot Hot Pepper doesn't look a star and while he is clearly still learning, he has more race sense about him. The blinkers looked to focus him at his last run last season and he will be the one to catch on speed. #5 Diamond Bit failed at his only start over this distance but has always shaped as though he'd need this trip, and he does get blinkers on here after a passable first-up effort, while #13 Gentlemen showed glimpses of ability last season but it's a matter of waiting for the penny to drop.
RACE 5: LINK HANDICAP
It was hard to miss the run of #9 I'm The Won For U first-up, charging home from near the tail to finish third, beaten a neck by Smiling Glory. An inside draw should mean Nash Rawiller can lay up closer and hopefully capitalise on what should be a similarly run race. #2 Smiling Glory only just won narrowly last time, but he is a model of consistency and there's no reason to think that he doesn't have further improvement in him after his first run on the surface. #4 Trillion Treasure is interesting - he is having his first run for Tony Millard after being the poster horse for former trainer Andreas Schutz, who took him from deep in Class 5 to Class 3. It is difficult to assess whether he can win off this mark, but the change of trainer may be a positive, so keep a close eye on him at big odds. #11 Respect deserves another chance with Joao Moreira jumping back aboard. He may be under the odds, though.
RACE 6: SUN WUI HANDICAP
#14 Hay Go Lucky looks a pace influence here and is coming off a second in Class 5 on opening day. He does drop 19 pounds for the rise in class, though, so he looks dangerous out in front. #2 Home Run was consistent in five runs last season, looking to have improvement up his sleeve, and caught the eye in a recent trial third under a hold. #5 House Of Fun generally would find himself on top here, but he is another galloper stepping out for reigning champion trainer John Size and all of Size's string have appeared in need of the run first time out this season. That's hardly a knock, given Size is preparing them for a long season ahead and he is more than likely going to find himself atop the trainers' championship once again, but in the early part of the term, it may pay to take his horses on. Next best, #12 Soaring Wyvern, who improved sharply in four runs last season and is likely to find the winners' circle in quick time.
RACE 7: THE PO LEUNG KUK CENTENARY CUP
#5 Harbour Alert finally steps out on dirt in his seasonal reappearance after 16 runs on dirt in his Hong Kong career to date. A son of Argentinian stallion Alert, he has cruised over the surface in barrier trials and gallops and his tactical speed appears ideal. Despite what shapes as a very competitive Class 3 for the dirt, he looms as one of the better bets of the day. #8 Lansbury has only raced three times in the last 18 months but all three races have been over this course and distance, and he has performed admirably on each occasion. He is ready to break through. #1 Skyrockets, who was placed in stakes races in France, has taken a long time to acclimatise but showed a hint of form in his last run last season. He seems to love the dirt in his trials, so don't be surprised to see him in the mix. Next best is #11 Beauty Connection, who has found form at his last two.
RACE 8: SUNNING HANDICAP
#6 Winfield was considered one of the most promising purchases out of Australia in 2015, having raced as Most Wanted in Melbourne. Injury has restricted his Hong Kong career to one start so far, but he did show enough in a fast-finishing fifth in July to suggest he will be winning soon. #12 Lotus Breeze is the likely favourite, after just missing out two weeks ago when beaten a short head by Lucky Day. The switch from Ben So to Joao Moreira is a significant factor and he's a top chance again. #1 Why Why is one of the more interesting runners here, dropping back down into Class 3 where he is yet to miss the placings from five starts. Zac Purton jumping aboard again is a plus, too. #4 Avellino is a horse the market tends to overlook, yet he has been competitive at four of his five starts in Hong Kong - including a victory in May - and he is drawn to take advantage.
RACE 9: YUN PING HANDICAP
#4 Packing Dragon returned from an eight-month injury layoff with a solid third to California Joy. He will have taken great benefit from the run and looks one of the only potential pace influences here. #11 Easy Hedge is a promising four-year-old who seemed to lose his way a little bit in two late-season runs. Like House Of Fun earlier in the day, the John Size-trained galloper would normally be on top, but he's one who may be under the odds and worth opposing. He is still a major player, though. #8 Smart Boy battled on well enough for second to the exciting Baba Mama fresh, to go with two strong efforts to begin his Hong Kong career. The step up to a mile looks a good move. #5 Sky King was very disappointing fresh but it may pay to forgive, particularly with the much-needed step up in trip.
RACE 10: VENTRIS HANDICAP
A very competitive Class 2 to end the card. #5 Merion flashed home for second to all-the-way winner Flying Moochi first-up. He is making a bit of a habit of running on without winning but looks to have claims again here, particularly with a six-pound weight swing on Flying Moochi. #14 Pikachu also flew home for third in that same race. The outside barrier here should not be of much concern as he was likely to drop back anyway, and expect him to be finding the line late with nothing to carry. Also from that race was #1 Circuit Land, who made ground for fourth. He is better known at this level as a dirt horse, but the switch from Dylan Mo to Nash Rawiller is extremely significant and he can run another bold race. One of the fresh faces on the scene is #3 Precision King. He may be on his mark but he is a gritty on-pace galloper who is as honest as they come. Don't be surprised to see him hanging around at the business end.