Hong Kong Diary

We preview Happy Valley on Wednesday, explore the meteoric rise of Elusive State - a 5yo that’s risen 77lb in the past six months - and look ahead to Sunday’s G1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin.

  • Monday 14 January
  • Blog
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Change of luck is due for Gamechangers

A son of Frankel starred at Happy Valley last week and there will be confidence behind another when Seven Heavens bids to follow in the footsteps of Simply Brilliant this Wednesday.

Seven Heavens ended his time with John Gosden winning the Surrey Stakes on Derby weekend in 2017 but has taken a while to shine in HK.

His latest close second over course and distance shows he’s good enough to win - and two subsequent trials at the Jockey Club’s new Conghua base in Mainland China have been won in emphatic fashion.

He’s a major player if more tranquil surroundings have helped him focus, but he still has to string peak performances together when it matters and Gamechangers looms large among dangers for John Size and Joao Moreira.

This gelding showed useful Irish form for David Wachman and has caught the eye on two of his last three runs, coming home strongly to finish second in a better race than this here then suffering a desperate run at Sha Tin recently

It isn't often you can say a horse who finished eighth was unlucky not to win but this was one such instance.

Gamechangers (in yellow on the inside) simply never found any room to operate throughout the home straight. He barely came off the bridle finishing just over two lengths behind the winner and normal luck from a fair draw will surely take him close here.

Gamechangers gets no luck at Sha Tin

Elusive moving up the scale in more ways than one

Data is king when it comes to form study in Hong Kong.

Split times, morning workouts and medical records are all in the public domain and so is body weight, with every runner obliged to hit the scales the day before a race.

As with all data the published results are open to personal interpretation, but Elusive State makes for a notable case study.

This gelding weighed in at 1052lb on his eighteenth and final run of the season for Derek Cruz last July but had gained 51lb when scoring on his first run for Tony Millard in September.

The five-year-old has continued to do well in more ways than one, lining up at 1129lb for his fourth consecutive success in a hot Class 2 AW contest at Sha Tin on Saturday.

Not many horses gain 77lb in their careers, let alone six months, but Elusive State’s rating is rising almost as fast as as the needle on his scales.

After dropping to a low of 43 last June he now sits on 93 having been hiked an eyebrow-raising 13lb for his latest success.

A further hike is necessary before dreams of a trip to Dubai become realistic but this heavyweight story may still have another interesting chapter to run yet.

Elusive State continues his winning spree at Sha Tin

Who says they’re not machines?

Some good-class racehorses operate with uncanny consistency once they are fit and the ongoing tussle between leading sprinters Mr Stunning and D B Pin provides a classic example of the fine margins at play.

The pair have met four times times on the track in the last thirteen months with Mr Stunning coming out on top three times, generally by small margins, and Frankie Lor’s gelding has also shaded his old foe by under a length in two recent trials.

However, those with longer memories will recall that D B Pin led where it matters in the Centenary Sprint Cup twelve months ago, pouncing late under Olivier Doleuze to beat the dead heaters Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock by a neck.

All three are back for this year’s Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday. Joao Moreira has opted to ride Beat The Clock rather than D B Pin but, whichever way you slice it, this has all the makings of another very close finish indeed.

D B Pin thwarts Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock in last year's Centenary Sprint Cup

Hong Kong Diary
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