05/18/2017 2:32PM

Hong Kong: Eastern Express sharp for Lotus Handicap

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Eastern Express will carry a top weight of 133 pounds in Sunday's Lotus Handicap.

A victory in a one-mile handicap on April 30 will make Eastern Express an attractive proposition for bettors in Sunday’s $224,883 Lotus Handicap at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. The presence of leading rider Joao Moreira only strengthens the Irish-bred gelding’s credentials.

Eastern Express will carry top weight of 133 pounds in the Lotus Handicap, the last of 10 races. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com.

Eastern Express had his sixth start of the 2016-17 Hong Kong season on April 30 and closed from third to record a narrow win over Booming Delight, who is part of the Lotus Handicap field.

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Booming Delight won three consecutive races in January and February before finishing eighth behind Rapper Dragon in the $2.3 million Hong Kong Derby on March 18.

Doyeni, third on April 30, is a threat from off the pace. Those three and the other 11 runners in the field will be in pursuit of the speedy Lucky Girl, who has one win in nine starts in Hong Kong this year. Lucky Girl has not raced since finishing ninth in a handicap at seven furlongs on turf on April 23.

Jolly Jolly and Ensuring each was second in his last start, and they should be factors from off the pace in the final furlong.

Jolly Jolly, who will carry 120 pounds, was beaten 1 1 4 lengths in a handicap at seven furlongs on turf at Sha Tin on April 23. Ensuring, assigned 115 pounds, was beaten 1 1/4 lengths as the favorite in a handicap at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Sha Tin on May 7.

The Lotus Handicap is Ensuring’s shortest race of the year. He was fourth in a race at a mile and 50 yards at Happy Valley in February. Many of Ensuring’s previous 30 starts in Hong Kong were at distances ranging from 1 1/8 miles to 1 3/8 miles on turf.