We are racing at Sha Tin this Sunday with a cracking card including two Group 1 contests, race 8 The Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at 8:05am followed by race 9, The Queens Silver Jubilee Cup at 8:40am. The meeting has a real International feel about it with top guns Hugh Bowman and Christophe Soumillion flying in for rides, and we see the much anticpated return of the brilliant but quirky Pakistan Star.
My Nap of the day is LEAN PERFECTION, who runs at 6:30am in Race 5 The CITI ULTIMA CARD Class 3 Handicap over the 6 furlongs.
This progressive 3yo from the Dennis Yip yard has won his first two starts, including over course and distance last time out. His last win was full of merit, he drew high and was planted wide the entire contest but was still able to kick strongly when asked. He’s drawn wide again here in 10, but there looks to be plenty of speed on paper with both Exceptional Desire (13) and Orionids (4) likely to make a play for the lead from wide draws, and ensure a solid tempo, which will suit the selection, who should have a far better run in transit than last time.
He goes up 8lbs for todays assignment, which moves him into Class 3 company, but this doesn’t look the strongest of Class 3 contests, and he is entitled to improve even further today. From the bottom end of the weights the selection should be a tough nut to crack at this level.
My each way (EW) selection on the card is DINOZZO, who lines up in one of the features, race 8, The Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup, over 10 furlongs, due off at 8:05am.
The numbers disciples will tell you that Dinozzo (formerly with Ger Lyons) is up against it here, and it’s a fair call. He tries Group 1 company for the first time, and off level weights he has a bit to find with the big three in the betting. But I think he can defy the numbers today, and here’s why.
There has to be a question mark over some of the opposition. Pakistan Star hasn’t seen a racetrack since June of last year, and having pulled himself up in that race, he hasn’t had a proper hit out since April 2017. Although he trialled well recently, doubts still remain about his fitness level for a tough Group 1 contest, and despite having Monty Roberts work his magic with Hong Kong's cult hero, you still have to wonder if there's still a few sheep loose in the top paddock.
Time Warp was brilliant in winning at the International meeting, but was equally as bad when he fluffed his lines at the start last time. There were excuses, as he found himself out of position, but he was entitled to do more and I just wonder if he was slightly flattered by a brilliant front running ride from Zac Purton on International day. Last years winner Werther looks a more reliable commodity, however he was well beaten by Pakistan Star in the above mentioned trial, and had a tough run last start from a wide stall.
The selection has been seen at his best in winning his last two starts, and that has coincided with connections electing to ride him closer to the speed. Previously, when ridden cold, he was flashing home but mostly missing out. Whilst unlike last time when he won, he won’t lead here, that honour will belong to Time Warp, but he should be in the next few and close enough if good enough. No doubt if the market principles turn up with their ‘A’ games they will be tough to beat, but I think that the very much in form and improving Dinozzo is a good chance of at least hitting the frame at big odds today for each way players.
My Next Best (NB), FIFTY FIFTY, goes in race 9, The Group 1 Queens Silver Jubilee Cup, over the 7 furlongs, due off at 8:40am.
This 5yo from the Peter Ho yard has been has been one of the season’s success stories, winning four of his seven starts, which has seen his local rating explode from 74 to 121. Last time out he stepped up to Group 1 level for the first time and ran a blinder to finish 2nd to the brilliant Seasons Bloom.
On that occasion he had no less than six of these in behind, and on the same terms here it’s difficult to see why that form will be turned around. He does drop back to 7 furlongs today, but that’s not a concern as he’s 2 from 3 over the trip, and he has enough speed to lay up behind the likely leaders Penaphobia and Beauty Generation. Fifty Fifty has been improving with each run, and there is no reason to think that improvement will stop here.
Of the others, Helene Paragon won last years renewal and can never be underestimated in a race like this, but he hasn’t won since then and he was well held by the selection last time. The main dangers could be fellow improver Pingwu Spark, who at 600kgs + is officially the biggest horse in Hong Kong, and has won his last three, but steps up to Group 1 company for the first time, and the tough John Size 4yo, Beat The Clock, who reached a career high when 2nd in the Group 1 Centenary Sprint last time out, but is equally adept at 7 furlongs.
Tim's Best Bets:
6:30am SHA TIN (Race 5)
LEAN PERFECTION (NAP)
8:05am SHA TIN (Race 8)
DINOZZO (EACH WAY)
8:40am SHA TIN (Race 9)
FIFTY FIFTY (NB)
BETTING ON HONG KONG RACING
Punters can bet into the Hong Kong pools online through Betfred.com .