The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s selections and race-by-race analysis for the race meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday 17 February:
RACE 1: #8 Happy Rocky, #7 Garlic Yeah, #3 Clement Legend, #10 Le Panache
RACE 2: #5 King’s Trooper, #12 Happy Cooperation, #7 Takingufurther, #13 Bullish Brother
RACE 3: #8 Enjoy Life, #3 Sam’s Love, #4 High Rev, #11 Vital Spring
RACE 4: #11 Aerohappiness, #12 Master Albert, #5 Hard Promise, #1 Key Witness
RACE 5: #3 Waikuku, #1 Good Standing #4 Star Shine, #8 King Opie
RACE 6: #1 Beauty Generation, #2 Beat The Clock, #10 Rattan, #5 Conte
RACE 7: #1 Exultant, #4 Glorious Forever, #2 Pakistan Star, #10 Simply Brilliant
RACE 8: #14 Happy Force, #5 Noble Steed, #4 Comfort Life, #11 Mighty Maverick
RACE 9: #3 Red Warrior, #1 Dark Dream, #2 Furore, #10 Ho Ho Khan
RACE 10: #3 Ka Ying Legend, #6 Racing Fighter, #9 Alcari, #10 Picken
RACE 1: CITI PRIORITY HANDICAP
#8 Happy Rocky hasn’t won in a year, but he has been racing consistently of late. The outside gate is generally a negative over the 2000m, but he’ll be getting back in the field anyway and, under Zac Purton, he can come home over the top. #7 Garlic Yeah was just edged out by Clement Legend last time out. He meets Clement Legend three pounds better for a head defeat, so he is capable of turning the tables. That said, #3 Clement Legend has won his last four on end and, while it is so rare for horses to win five on end in handicaps in Hong Kong, he can’t be completely discarded. #10 Le Panache is next best.
RACE 2: CITIGOLD HANDICAP
#5 King’s Trooper was meant to debut last month, but he sat down in the gates and became cast, leading to his withdrawal. He has trialled well since and the extra three weeks might actually prove a positive. He’s worth a chance here. #12 Happy Cooperation finished second at Happy Valley last time out. If he can get across to a position near the speed, he can stick on well. #7 Takingufurther looks the type who can progress rapidly. Expect a bold performance on debut. #13 Bullish Brother ran well last time out and he is drawn to take advantage.
RACE 3: CITIGOLD PRIVATE CLIENT HANDICAP
#8 Enjoy Life didn’t show much last time out, but he got a long way out of his ground in a race dominated on the speed by Care Free Prince. If he gets a race run more to his liking, he’s capable of a far better showing here. #3 Sam’s Love was the only horse to make significant ground in that Care Free Prince race. He should be flying home again and he’s the one to beat. #4 High Rev has run well in two of his three starts to date. He has to overcome a wide draw, but he can perform strongly in this spot. #11 Vital Spring can return to form here with even luck.
RACE 4: CITI ULTIMA CARD HANDICAP
#11 Aerohappiness has all the talent in the world, but he’s still doing a few little things wrong that are halting his progression. Second-up, he should be primed to get into the finish here. #12 Master Albert doesn’t win out of turn. Gate 14 should require him to be ridden quietly – not a negative for him – and if Derek Leung can remain patient aboard him, he’s capable of flying home. #5 Hard Promise is racing well and he can finish around the mark again. #1 Key Witness dead-heated with Prance Dragon at the Chinese New Year Raceday. The old boy can finish around the mark again.
RACE 5: CITI WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES HANDICAP
#3 Waikuku has emerged as a Hong Kong Derby contender with his last two wins over 1400m. He’s racing over 1400m once again, following a similar path to his stablemate and last year’s Derby winner Ping Hai Star. Still, he looks to have plenty of ratings points in hand and he can win again on his road to bigger and better races. #1 Good Standing, also owned by the Siu family, finally broke through for the first time in Hong Kong last time out. He returns to 1400m, but now that the monkey is off his back, perhaps he can go on with it. #4 Star Shine has only had one rider throughout his Hong Kong career, but with that jockey – Douglas Whyte – now retired, Vincent Ho takes over here. Second-up, he can get into the finish. #8 King Opie is a player once more.
RACE 6: G1 QUEEN’S SILVER JUBILEE CUP
#1 Beauty Generation won this race last year, getting the better of Beat The Clock by a head. He’s clearly gone to another level this season, winning his last three races – the G2 Jockey Club Mile, the G1 Hong Kong Mile and the G1 Stewards’ Cup – by three lengths on each occasion. He returns to 1400m, but it is difficult to see him being beaten. #2 Beat The Clock finally scored a first G1 win last time out in the Centenary Sprint Cup. He’s honest and the rematch with Beauty Generation from last year is a tantalising prospect. #10 Rattan is unsuited at the weights, but he’s made a name for himself as a fresh 1400m performer. He can get into the placings with even luck. #5 Conte is the new kid on the block, to an extent. Ryan Moore takes his first ride on the five-year-old and he’s likely to be around the mark.
RACE 7: G1 CITI HONG KONG GOLD CUP
#1 Exultant may have been suited by a pace meltdown last time out, but he still had to carry plenty of weight to sweep to victory in the G3 Centenary Vase over the 1800m. That followed his win in the G1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December and he can take another step forward with a win here. #4 Glorious Forever was unsuited last time out and that effort should be forgiven. If he can get out on the speed without too much pressure from Time Warp, just like what happened in the G1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) two back, he’s capable of redeeming himself. #2 Pakistan Star gets Tommy Berry aboard for just the second time. He took the G1 Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) with Berry in the saddle last May and maybe it could prove a masterstroke by Kerm Din and Tony Cruz. #10 Simply Brilliant is still on an upward spiral and can’t be completely dismissed.
RACE 8: CITI INSURANCE SERVICES HANDICAP
#14 Happy Force has drawn wide in his last four starts at the course and distance, winning twice and finishing third and fourth on the other two occasions. He now gets the inside gate and, if Keith Yeung can bounce him out quickly, he should lead here with ease. In that role, he can prove tough to run down. #5 Noble Steed has to overcome a wide draw but he’ll be running on late, as has become his schtick. #4 Comfort Life has been mixing his form of late. Hugh Bowman may prove a positive booking and he can stick on well if the Australian rider can get him into the right position. #11 Mighty Maverick is another drawn awkwardly, but he’s a place hope.
RACE 9: HONG KONG CLASSIC CUP
#3 Red Warrior is a fascinating contender here, making his Sha Tin debut at his eighth Hong Kong start. The former English galloper never wins by much, but he’s extremely honest and he has been brought along steadily by trainer John Size. Circuit Glory and Litterateur franked his form at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and, as a left-field player, he’s worth a play in here. #1 Dark Dream caught the eye flying home for fourth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, stamping himself as the nominal favourite for the Hong Kong Derby. He can continue his progression towards that race with a big run here. #2 Furore scored a first Hong Kong win in the Hong Kong Classic Mile. He has to overcome a wide gate, but he should only relish the extra 200m. #10 Ho Ho Khan has won his last three starts over this course and distance. He can’t be dismissed.
RACE 10: CITI MORTGAGE SERVICES HANDICAP
#3 Ka Ying Legend gets blinkers for the first time here. He brings some of the best form in this race with decent efforts behind promising horses Styling City, Regency Legend, Waikuku and Music Addition – all subsequent winners – and he deserves plenty of respect with Hugh Bowman jumping aboard again. #6 Racing Fighter is drawn wide in gate 12, but he’s racing so well that he can’t be ignored in here. He’s the main danger. #9 Alcari needs things to go his way off his current rating, but he’s drawn to take advantage and he must be included. #10 Picken has won three of his last four starts. He’s likely to have plenty of admirers again and, while he’s a chance, he’s likely to be under the odds.