12/15/2017 8:03PM

Pingwu Spark looks tough in handicap feature


A week removed from the Hong Kong International Races, Sha Tin Racecourse has more proletarian fare on offer Sunday, though the featured 10th race is pretty good.

The 10th and final is a Class 2 handicap for horses rated 100-80 at 1,400 meters, and it drew an overflow field of 16, 14 in the main body and two substitute (also-eligible) runners.

Pingwu Spark shares the race’s highest rating, 97, with Eastern Express but is in better form than Eastern Express and drew a much better post, 8 compared to 13. Pingwu Spark, a 5-year-old New Zealand-bred, has made five starts in Hong Kong and run well in every one of them, with three wins and two seconds. He has won twice over 1,200 meters, but 1,400 is just fine, too, and Pingwu Spark has a forward running style to help keep him clear of trouble. It’s hard to see him out of contention Sunday, even under a hefty 133-pound impost.

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Doctor Geoff, however, sparks plenty of interest. Pingwu Spark beat him a half-length in a similar spot Nov. 26, but Doctor Geoff turned in the race’s fastest final 400 meters, 21.58 seconds, to beat all save the winner, and he did so while making his first start in Hong Kong. The 3-year-old Irish-bred gelding has a high ceiling and would not have to improve much to break through Sunday.

World Record is up seven points in the ratings, to 82, after a fine closing win, but post 14 all but doomed his chance of a repeat.

First post is midnight Eastern, with the featured 10th set for 4:50 a.m.