Frost and snow are threatening the jumps action in Britain and Ireland but there are no weather concerns in Hong Kong, where a ten-race Saturday card from Sha Tin will be covered live on Sky Sports racing from 5am.
MOREIRA LOOKING TO CREATE A STORM ON TORNADO
No weather worries in Hong Kong this weekend for a Saturday Sha Tin card which features a typically strong book of rides for Joao Moreira.
The Brazilian has been in prime form since his return from Japan in December, rattling off 34 winners at a strike rate of almost one in four, and the fast-improving Tornado Twist will take a power of beating for him at skinny odds in the 8.05am.
Tornado Twist is still a little green at the start but John Size's gelding blows them away at the finish in R10 under Joao Moreitra to look a very bright prospect indeed #HKracing pic.twitter.com/m0RNIhXdpm
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) January 12, 2019
Moreira will attract plenty of support again aboard Enrichment for his boss John Size in the Beas River Handicap at 9.45am – especially if he already has winners on the board - but this is a far more complex problem for several reasons.
Enrichment has shown ample promise in both his Hong Kong starts, but Size saddles another strong contender in Time To Celebrate and there’s no guarantee that The Magic Man has chosen right in opting for the more lightly-raced contender.
THREE BOX COULD HELP TWO BECOME ONE
The Beas River Handicap also contains several familiar British imports including Gold Chest (formerly Naval Intelligence for Jane Chapple-Hyam) along with former St James’ Palace fifth King’s Shield and Epic, who won the Esher Cup impressively and finished fourth in Roaring Lion’s Dante when known as Merlin Magic for David Elsworth.
All three will need to shape up swiftly in order to justify their entries for the Hong Kong Derby on March 17th and on this occasion, it could pay to focus more on the proven Hong Kong form of Circuit Number Two.
This gelding won two out of two in Australia and has made a solid start to his Hong Kong career, winning twice from five attempts and finishing a good third (just ahead of Enrichment) when last seen in October.
A recent trial win suggests that he’s ready to roll again after a break and stall 3 looks perfect for his freewheeling style in a race where a fairly easy time on the lead looks a distinct possibility.
ENCOURAGING SUCCESS SHOWS DOUGLAS KNOWS WHYTE FROM WONG
Don’t be surprised if you see a famous Hong Kong face in and around Newmarket during the next few weeks. Douglas Whyte is swapping riding for training after the Sha Tin fixture on February 10th and revealed that his next move involves observing how William Haggas and Sir Michael Stoute handle some of Europe’s finest.
Whyte’s final night as a rider at Happy Valley on Wednesday failed to yield a winner but the shrewd eye that promises to take him a long way as a trainer played a significant part in Encouraging’s Connaught Handicap success.
It's a Victor Wong treble! The 7lb claimer gets the gun run and uses his allowance to maximum advantage as Encouraging rallies to land R5 for John Moore #HKracing pic.twitter.com/LLiKIsBogJ
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) January 30, 2019
The South African rode John Moore’s gelding at Sha Tin recently and told trainer John Moore to “take him back to the Valley with a 7lb claimer on and he’ll be winning.”
Moore took the hint and Encouraging duly saluted to form the third leg of Wong four timer which helped the youngster vault into sixth place in the jockeys’ ladder – one ahead of a certain D Whyte!