Sha Tin: Sunday, October 6, 2019
Racing returns to Sha Tin this Sunday with a competitive 10-race turf and dirt card, the JCI Hong Kong Senate Cup (Hcp) – a Class 3 1650m on the AWT – the feature event.
We kick things off in Race 1 with Joao Moreira’s mount Sky Gem.
The Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old was a beaten favourite under Moreira at his last start over 1650m at Happy Valley, however his third placing on that occasion had a ton of merit to it so I’m happy to stick with him again this week.
Sky Gem settled in eight position off a very slow early speed that night and sensing the dawdling tempo, Moreira took off around the field from the 550m. It was too little too late as the leader had plenty of petrol left in the tank, fending off a late surge from Gold Velvet and Sky Gem, who were both beaten a half-length.
Sky Gem’s mid-race and late race sectionals were impressive so he’s definitely racing well, and with Moreira sticking with him on Sunday, he looks more than capable of landing his first career win.
Zac Purton’s mount Regency Gem stands out as the main danger and the defending champion jockey’s book of rides on Sunday give the impression a big day could be in store.
Of Purton’s 10 rides for the day, Let’s Come Back, Fresh Power, Sprint Forward, Enfolding and Band Of Brothers all stand out as the ones to beat in races 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, respectively.
Lets’ Come Back was promising first-up over 1200m on the AWT, checking home into third with strong late splits off a slow early speed, and now stepping up to 1650m, from barrier 2, gives him every chance to breakthrough.
Fresh Power and Enfolding boasts similar profiles in that they were strong at their first-up assignments off slow early tempos, producing likeable late sectionals and now finding winnable races where the speed map suggests they get most favours.
Trainer Paul O’Sullivan has Band of Brothers resuming in Race 8 and after posting three wins from five starts last season, the New Zealand handler believes the five-year-old can climb the ratings ladder some more.
“I don’t think the handicapper has got to him yet,” O’Sullivan said. “He has got a good draw which is a big help, the 1,400m – he will only run that once this season, he is going to want further pretty quick.
“He has had a good preparation, a couple of trials, and he has run well both times going forward. Zac [Purton] trialled him the other day and he said he’d be an 1,800m horse with time.”
Luke Middlebrook’s selections:
R1 #4 Win
R4 #4 Win
R8 #4 Win
R9 #11 1×2
Race 1: Sky Gem video replay showed last run was very good (read “Track Spy” for more information). Regency Gem drawn well here and should be in the finish under Purton. Proud Sky will be suited by the rise in distance and can run well from barrier 3. Full Of Chances drops down in grade and start following, can upset on best form. Wicker recent runs have been encouraging and can surprise.
Race 2: Crown Avenue well supported last start and won accordingly, Purton remains on board and can go close again. Gorgeous Again good performance when returning to form last start and Moreira sticks with. Sunny Power looks a solid chance based on last start, the run was very good. New Elegance will win in this grade very soon, keep safe here. Bullish Glory had genuine excuses last start when bounding out and consider again.
Race 3: Let’s Come Back last run indicated that a win is near and he looks hard to beat. Association Fans finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start and the extra distance suits. Master Bernini change of trainer recently and can improve, Moreira takes the ride. Hidden Spirit well supported last start and won accordingly. Mi Blanco has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon.
Race 4: Fresh Power last run suggested another win was near (read “Track Spy” for more information). Colorado High improving type and getting close to a win, Moreira takes the ride. Majestic Conqueror turned in a nice debut run and looks to have good ability. Eptiwins will be suited by the rise in distance and can run well, has ability. Iron Boy was eased early before catching the eye late.
Race 5: Sprint Forward good performance when storming home for a nice second last start, ready to win. Sunshine Warrior go on the win two starts ago and give a chance here, last run was better than in reads. Lucky Guy has been placed last three starts, deserves a win soon (read “Track Spy” for more information). My Winner always finishes close up and must be rated a chance with Moreira in the saddle. Fortunate Runner can win this race if he produces his best form.
Race 6: Enfolding nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks a chance, last run was very good off a slow early speed. Good Runners Way showed he was up to this class and can go close. Touch Of Luck will be suited by the rise in distance and can run well. Casimiro go on solid previous effort where form was good (read “Track Spy” for more information). Play Wise last start winner who retains good form and can run well again.
Race 7: Clear Choice nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks a big chance with Moreira riding. Perfect To Play has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon, Purton rides at minimum weight. Deal Maker racing in career-best form and must be rated a good chance. Bear Slam last run suggested a win was very near. Tang Fleming showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight.
Race 8: Band Of Brothers talented type resuming who trialled well for his return, hard to beat first-up. Follow Me can improve 2nd up from a break, drawn well to be the main threat. Solar Wai Wai last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss. War Room placed last start and looks a chance to run well again. Bellagio rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up.
Race 9: Solomon’s Bay last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. California Gungho can lead in this race and be hard to run down, was used up last start compared to first-up win, he looks the bet. Chicken Dance rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Lakeshore Eagle talented sprinter resuming who trialled well recently. Endearing recent runs have been encouraging and can run well.
Race 10: Hezthewonforus goes well 1st up from a break and looks to get the most favours here. Fast Most Furious has been recording good speed ratings and look for him late in the piece. Gold Chest caused a surprise last start when winning at big odds, can go on with it now. Beauty Spirit showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight. Morethanlucky goes well 2nd up from a break and keep safe here.
Video Replay Stars
Race 1 – 4 SKY GEM
Went down by a half-length into third as the $3.3 favourite over 1650m at Happy Valley last start, however he was beaten by the race shape when dissecting the sectionals.
The leader, who took out the race, had a cosy time out in front, running -8.3 lengths below average to the 400m, with SKY GEM two lengths astern at that stage of the race.
SKY GEM rebounded off the slow early speed with some quality late sectionals so there was a ton of merit to the run and he can be given another chance to score this week.
Race 6 – 9 CASIMIRO
Ran his best race yet two starts ago when finishing a solid second after being severely hampered at the 50m before going on to finish 12th place second-up.
The difference in early speed between his first-up and second-up runs was quite drastic, close to eight lengths faster to the 800m and 6 ½ to 4 ½ to lengths faster to the 600m and 400m, respectively, so it’s no surprise he weakened sharply.
He’s a one-time winner on the AWT when racing overseas so he’s a chance of retuning to form and surprising at value this week.
Sectional Time Stars
Race 4 – 4 FRESH POWER
Stormed home for a nice second last start when producing the second fastest last 400m in the race off a slow early speed to miss by a head on the line. Zac Purton takes the ride from barrier 1.
Race 5 – 7 LUCKY GUY
Looks on the verge of scoring a third career win after doing little wrong at his first-up and second-up runs when producing some quality late splits. 1400m looks ideal now and barrier 4 gives him every chance.