01/12/2017 3:17PM

Jolly Banner goes for fourth straight in Beas River Handicap


Jolly Banner, unbeaten in three starts during the current Hong Kong season, is the 133-pound top weight in Saturday’s $225,684 Beas River Handicap for turf sprinters at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Jolly Banner, a 5-year-old Australian-bred gelding, will break from post 11 in a field of 12 and is well-suited to the race distance of seven furlongs on turf. Jolly Banner won seven-furlong handicaps on turf at Sha Tin on Oct. 8, Nov. 6, and Nov. 27. In each race, Jolly Banner stalked the pace and won by more than a length.

Trained by Ricky Yiu, Jolly Banner will be ridden by Carl Schofield, who was aboard for the two wins in November.

The Beas River Handicap is the last of 10 races on a program that begins at 1 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, or 10 p.m. Pacific.

Jolly Banner has won 5 of 11 starts in his career, and 4 of 10 in Hong Kong. He began the current season on a handicap mark of 77, and is now rated at 98. The Beas River Handicap is restricted to runners rated from 80 to 100.

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Jolly Banner must be sharp to beat My Darling, the winner of a similar race at Sha Tin on Dec. 27. My Darling was second and fourth behind Jolly Banner in races in November, and has won 4 of 7 starts in his career, all in Hong Kong.

The Beas River Handicap will be the Hong Kong debut of Dr. Win Win, who previously raced in Europe as Qatar Dream. Dr. Win Win won 2 of 5 starts in France and Italy when trained by Francois Rohaut, and was second in the Group 3 Italian 2000 Guineas last April. Dr. Win Win has not started since winning an allowance race at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse outside of Paris last May.

Horses frequently have their names changed when they arrive in Hong Kong. Dr. Win Win is now trained by Caspar Fownes and will carry 118 pounds.

My Darling and Dr. Win Win are nominated for the $2.3 million Hong Kong Derby for 4-year-olds at Sha Tin on March 19.