The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s selections and race-by-race analysis for the meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday – the city’s final meeting of the current season.
RACE 1: #2 Best Effort, #11 Rock The Tree, #12 Joy Plus Fun, #10 Little Fantasy
RACE 2: #7 Cour Valant, #4 Multimax, #5 Superior Boy, #10 Otouto
RACE 3: #3 General Dino, #9 Happy Rocky, #5 Enjoyable Success, #2 Bullish Glory
RACE 4: #4 Complacency, #13 Regency Darling, #12 Master Viking, #3 Burst Away
RACE 5: #3 Have Fun Together, #8 London Hall, #6 Fresh Power, #2 Beauty Day
RACE 6: #5 Picken, #2 Enjoy Life, #9 Red Horse, #4 Sunshine Holiday
RACE 7: #3 Last Kingdom, #9 Sleep Education, #4 Marzouq, #6 Green Energy
RACE 8: #8 Rise High, #1 Born In China, #7 Doctor Geoff, #5 Romantic Touch
RACE 9: #7 Bigwood, #12 Intrepic, #2 Handsome Bo Bo, #4 Racing Fighter
RACE 10: #2 Lucky Dollar, #13 Superich, #5 Alcari, #14 Noble Steed
RACE 11: #7 Solar Patch, #9 Hezthewonforus, #1 Mr Genuine, #2 My Darling
RACE 1: MEDIC KINGDOM HANDICAP
#2 Best Effort drops to Class 5 for the third time this season, having run second and sixth on the dirt in this grade this term. He did win on the turf down in class in January last year and he does get Zac Purton aboard now. Crucially, trainer Almond Lee needs one more winner to retain his licence, so Best Effort should be primed in this spot. #11 Rock The Tree has run well at his last two starts. He needs so many things to go right for him to figure, especially these days, but he will be running on late. #12 Joy Plus Fun showed his first hint of form in years last start at Happy Valley under a masterful Matthew Chadwick ride, almost scoring a big victory. It would be fitting if he won here on trainer Derek Cruz’s last day as a handler, given some of his finest moments came with Joy And Fun for the same owner. #10 Little Fantasy is next best.
RACE 2: MR AWARD HANDICAP
#7 Cour Valant has made his name as more of a Happy Valley 1200m specialist, although he hasn’t shown a great deal in a while. However, he has run OK over this course and distance before, including a nice effort in Class 2 three and a half years ago around the likes of I’m In Charge, Teofilo Calva and Key Witness. He has drawn well and it wouldn’t take a great leap for him to figure in this spot. #4 Multimax drops to Class 5 for the first time. He’s been running better of late, suggesting a win is near, and he does boast a victory over G1 winner D B Pin at the track and trip. Zac Purton is obviously in dynamic form and he’s going to be hard to run down. #5 Superior Boy is sure to be somewhere around the mark for Joao Moreira, while #10 Otouto is not without a hope.
RACE 3: SOLAR HEI HEI HANDICAP
#3 General Dino has promised at numerous times this season to win at one point or another, but he remains a Hong Kong maiden from 15 starts. Getting up to 1800m again suits and, on his current mark, he should be hard to beat in this spot, particularly from a good draw. #9 Happy Rocky has not had a race run to suit in recent starts. He’s yet to win at the course and distance but he’s on a mark where he can prove competitive. #5 Enjoyable Success has shown some hints of form lately and he can figure with a good draw this time around. #2 Bullish Glory is his own worst enemy but he can finish around the mark.
RACE 4: VICTORY MARVEL HANDICAP
#4 Complacency steps out for Tony Cruz for the first time, having had four starts for Michael Freedman. The three-year-old half-brother to two-time G1 winner Contentment, who also took the Sha Tin Mile Trophy in 2015, Complacency looks well-prepared for this start and he deserves close attention, even despite the wide gate. #13 Regency Darling will likely push forward from the good draw. His last couple of efforts have been good and he can stick on strongly. #12 Master Viking will also push forward from the wide gate. He doesn’t have the benefit of Victor Wong’s 10-pound claim this time, but Karis Teetan has a decent record on the horse and maybe he’s ready to produce a big effort at Sha Tin where he has typically struggled. #3 Burst Away ran a better race last time out and can lob into a good position just behind the speed. He won’t be far away.
RACE 5: BIG PROFIT HANDICAP
#3 Have Fun Together has been knocking on the door all season. He gets the best draw he’s had in recent starts and all signs point to a big performance here. There are added stakes, too – if Joao Moreira can’t win on Have Fun Together, the path to an improbable premiership victory becomes virtually impossible. It should all come together here. #8 London Hall caught the eye flying home from near last on debut in May. He has a better draw here, so he should be able to take up a better spot and he can get into the finish. #6 Fresh Power has run well in two of his last three starts over this course and distance. He has an awkward draw but he is in contention. #2 Beauty Day, the brother to G2 winner Beauty Flame, is a place chance.
RACE 6: ALL YOU WISH HANDICAP
#5 Picken ran well enough on debut, just showing signs of greenness which cost him the victory. He has a wide gate, but if he can get into a handy position, he should take enough improvement into this run to prove competitive. #2 Enjoy Life looked to be racing to victory last week before he was swamped by Pakistan Friend from nowhere. He has to carry 14 pounds more here, which is some concern, but he’s racing well enough that he should be able to figure for trainer Almond Lee. #9 Red Horse caught the eye in his recent barrier trial with Zac Purton aboard. The blinkers are reapplied here – a positive, given all of his wins have come with the headgear on – but he is yet to prove he can win off a rating as high as 49. He’ll get his best chance here, though. #4 Sunshine Holiday is improving and wouldn’t shock.
RACE 7: CONTENTMENT HANDICAP
#3 Last Kingdom is aiming to become the second son of Frankel to win in Hong Kong, after Simply Brilliant. He drops to Class 3 for the first time, but just as importantly, he’s been improving with every start. It’s taken time for him to acclimatise and he has proven quite the headstrong colt, but he’s shown more signs of tractability at his last two starts and the drop in grade might be the catalyst he needs to break through. #9 Sleep Education has run well at his last two starts from awkward gates. The half-brother to multiple G3 winner Horse Of Fortune and last weekend’s G1 Durban July victor Do It Again draws the rail now and a win is near. #4 Marzouq won well last time out. He has to deal with an awkward alley, but he still looks to have scope to head higher now that he’s started to click. #6 Green Energy mixes his form but he’s not without a chance.
RACE 8: THE SHA TIN MILE TROPHY
Five of the last six winners of this race have gone on to win G1 races the following season, and #8 Rise High looks to be capable of winning this on his way to bigger and better things. His last two wins have suggested he has the scope to make it into a Group-level horse next season and he’s still well-treated at the weights here. Even more convincing is that the horse he beat by a neck last time out, Doctor Geoff, meets him 10 pounds worse off here. He will be hard to beat. #1 Born In China steps up to a mile for the first time since his arrival – extraordinary, given he’s been in Hong Kong nearly four years. He was a two-time winner at a mile in the UK, including a win in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot beating G2 winner Bow Creek and honest miler Hors De Combat. He has to carry a lot of weight but he’s not without a chance. #7 Doctor Geoff finished second to Rise High two back before a three and a quarter length victory at Happy Valley last time out. He’s a chance if things go his way. #5 Romantic Touch is always a hope in these spots.
RACE 9: SIGHT WINNER HANDICAP
#7 Bigwood arrived with something of a reputation, having beaten G3 winner Music Box in a maiden in Ireland. His first two runs earlier this season were indifferent, but he returns at a trip that should suit him and he has the blinkers on for the first time which should prove critical. He can figure. #12 Intrepic never looked likely last time out and ended up tailed off. He carries only 112 pounds here with Matthew Poon’s claim and he’s likely to be around the mark. #2 Handsome Bo Bo has had things against at his last two starts, but he had everything to suit when he won three straight before that so he’s far from versatile. Still, he should get things in his favour here and he’s not without a hope. #4 Racing Fighter should appreciate 1400m and he could fill a placing at odds.
RACE 10: ENTRAPMENT HANDICAP
#2 Lucky Dollar has been a disappointment, on the whole, in Hong Kong. However, he should be suited up to 1200m now with blinkers applied and Zac Purton in the saddle in this grade. He’ll be hard to beat. #13 Superich is still learning what the caper is all about but the step up to 1200m should suit him now. He has the outside barrier to deal with, but he’s got no weight on his back and he’s worth watching. #5 Alcari produced a tough effort to win last time out, holding off subsequent winner Cruising. He is still improving, but another win is not out of the question. #14 Noble Steed was touted by some as a Derby prospect earlier this season, but he never got close to that level. He makes his first start in Class 3 here at a distance that will prove short of his best, but he’s not without a place hope.
RACE 11: THE HONG KONG RACEHORSE OWNERS ASSOCIATION TROPHY
#7 Solar Patch has impressed with his progress since he’s arrived in Hong Kong. He didn’t look anything special in his Australian career, but he has since emerged as a legitimate Classic Mile contender. His run last time out behind Win Beauty Win, with Conte and Harmony Hero among those in behind, was strong and, from a better gate here, he looks primed to take the final race of the season. #9 Hezthewonforus is another potential Classic Mile contender. He fought on solidly behind Simply Brilliant last time out and looks to still have further scope for improvement. Gate 14 makes it tough, though. #1 Mr Genuine has only run once at the course and distance this season, finishing a head behind subsequent Hong Kong Derby winner Ping Hai Star. He can defy top-weight to figure. #2 My Darling was a course and distance winner off a similar mark last year and he can show improvement with the right run.