SHA TIN SELECTIONS (Wednesday, May 27, 2020)
Racing remains at Sha Tin on Wednesday but with the whole nine-race card on the All-Weather Track. Sunday saw an action-packed day’s racing, with Purton and Moreira (unsurprisingly) dominating the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup card.
The pair traded blows across the day, collecting four winners each to take their totals to 123 for the season. Purton was quick out of the gates collecting the first two races on Like That and Armor Star before Moreira hit back with Enjoy Life in the next race.
Purton scored again on Thanks Forever in the G3 Sha Tin Vase but Moreira went on a race-to-race spree on Good Luck Friend and Scores Of Fun, giving the duo the first six races of the day combined.
They went on to collect one more win each: Exultant taking out the Champions & Chater Cup for a second year running under Purton, and the Caspar Fownes-trained Defining Moment claiming the ninth event for Moreira.
Moreira misses this week’s AWT meeting due to a careless riding suspension, giving Purton the chance to take charge in the battle for the jockeys’ premiership. Purton has a full book on the night, with Antoine Hamelin the other boasting nine rides.
Trainer John Moore’s thriving four-year-old Buddies looks a good bet to make it back-to-back wins in the Class 2 1650m coming up in Race 4, as he returns to the AWT off a comprehensive last-start victory over 1400m on turf. Apprentice Jerry Chau, who claims 10lb, retains the ride.
Buddies aims for his sixth career win at stat number 16 and has been an honest performer having placed on eight other occasions. His task has become one-horse easier after a scratching, with just eight horses contesting the event.
Buddies will show his usual tactical speed to come across from barrier 9, and will take all the running down under the claim. However, if Chau does overdo things on the lead – which is entirely possible given his lack of experience – Purton’s mount Kings Shield shan’t be far off in a striking position.
But from a punting perspective, I’d rather my money on an apprentice on a front runner as opposed to a backmarker, where the likelihood of finding trouble would appear greater. As it stands, Chau’s two Hong Kong wins and four placings have occurred from no worse than positioning third in running.
Video Replay Stars
Race 2 – 10 THE FULL BLOOM
An old-timer whose best form is in Class 5, and who has been the victim of bad luck or ill-judged rides since returning to the cellar grade six starts ago. He has raced wide throughout on two occasions, missed the stat at another and most recently he was badly held up from the 400m to passing the 250m, before he charged late into fifth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths.
He will bob up in this grade again soon with even luck, and at likely each-way odds this week, he is one to consider for exotics plays.
Race 3 – 12 ADONIS
One to bear in mind this week, after he took no part in his last intended start after he lost considerable ground at the start due to his own bad manners. Worth noting that day that he was the subject of heavy betting, jumping at $9.50 after reaching a high of $22, so it’ll be interesting to see how the market treats him here.
He’s been forced back to the trials after his barrier mishap and looked well; not asked to do much but going well under a hold, and with in-form Teetan in the saddle, he has to be considered in all bet types.
Sectional Time Stars
Race 7 – 10 PARTY EVERYDAY
Has been the victim of wide barrier draws but has been returning good late splits from the back of the field, placing at his last three starts. He comes into barrier 2 on Wednesday, has the potential to map much closer to the speed and is knocking on the door for a maiden victory.
Race 9 – 11 OWNERS’ STAR
Put the pen through his last race as he sat on pace in a fast run 1650m race at Happy Valley, duly fading late in the piece into eighth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. Prior to that, he had been returning some good late splits when ridden with a touch more patience, indicating another win was near..
Luke Middlebrook’s Selections:
R4 #1 Win
R7 #10 Each-Way
Race 1: Little Thunder well supported last start and won accordingly, drawing away by 1 1/4 lengths. Strikes another winnable race. Yichun Blitz had excuses last start, when pulling up with blood in the trachea, and forget the run. Suited by the drop back in distance and maps to get good favours from the draw. Coolceleb has the services of a top jockey today and must be respected, though he was noted to be a roarer after last start. For Fun’s Sake racing well with good sectional time rankings, and hasn’t raced with much luck. Can surprise. Winning Brew has trialled well for debut and should be rated a chance.
Race 2: Virtus Star every chance last start but still ran a good race, has to go on top again as Purton remains on board. The Full Bloom looked unlucky when being held up at a crucial stage last start (read “Track Spy’’ for more information). Curling Luxury last run suggested a win was very near, and his Class 5 record is to be respected. Will be on pace and hard to run down. Break Record go on the win two starts ago and give a chance here. Draws wide here but is well in under Chau’s 10lb claim. Hidden Spirit racing in career-best form and must be rated a good chance. Every chance from barrier 1.
Race 3: Demons Rock was an easy last start winner – albeit in Class 5 – and must be respected. Should handle the rise in class okay. Jade Theatre well-placed and looks a chance in a race like this. More than capable at his second start in Class 4. Adonis had excuses last start and forget the run (read “Track Spy” for more information). Pearl Champion resuming from a break and trialled well recently. Market watch.
Race 4: Buddies was an easy last start winner on the turf, returns to the AWT where his better form has been in the past, and must be respected to be able to go on with it. Should vie to make all under Chau’s 10lb claim. Kings Shield appears to be very well suited by the track and distance of this race, gets Purton on and is the other likely winner. Glorious Artist good performance when returning to form last start, can surprise if he shows up. Mongolian King last start winner who retains good form and can run well again.
Race 5: Handsome Rebel looks ready to run a big race in Class 4. Had betting support last start in Class 3, got well back in the running and flashed home. Purton jumps on this week and gets his chance. Striking Mr C showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight, will do the same and is more than capable to make all here. Skyey Supreme looks a good chance based on last start and looks to be improving in this grade. Place claims again. Star Superior old timer who is racing in good form and can run well under Teetan. Goldie Flanker needs a fast early speed to produce a big finish.
Race 6: Ka Ying Legend go on the win two starts ago and give a chance here. Drawn well in barrier 3, has Chau’s 10lb claim and will be on pace and should be hard to run down. Super Power Man rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Barrier 6 looks tricky if he doesn’t get across with ease, but he is progressive and will be thereabouts. Sunset Watch big jockey change with Purton jumping on and expect improvement. Good For You consistent performer of late and worth considering. Victory In Hand has shown ability and gets his chance to win here. The AWT could suit.
Race 7: Party Everyday remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here after multiple decent efforts (read “Track Spy” for more information). Jade Fortune recent runs have been encouraging without much luck and can run well. This One’s For You last start winner who retains good form and can run well again, and has drawn much better too. Smiling City caught wide last start and still ran well, will need luck from barrier 13 and a high chance he’s caught wide again. Megatron good effort last start leading all the way to win, will try for the same but there looks more pressure here.
Race 8: Just Not Listening looks a chance if you go on previous consistent form. Purton jumps back aboard and he comes into a slightly better barrier. California Concord turned in a very nice debut run and looks to have good ability – one to follow and he looks to get most favours from barrier 3. Utopia Life consistent form lately and can score here, though he has drawn out after being afforded low draws recently. Namjong Sings had betting support last start and where there is smoke there is fire. Well in under the apprentice claim.
Race 9: Great Treasure ran the second fastest sectional time last start, closing off nicely off a very slow early speed. A very open race here but he has drawn well and is in top form. Enfolding looks a value chance in a race like this, although he may be well found with Purton on. Owners’ Star go on solid previous efforts where form looked okay (read “Track Spy” for more information). Touch Of Luck last start winner who retains good form and can run well again – maps to get every chance. Ping Hai Treasure can upset some more fancied rivals on best form, and Size has trumped his form the race.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
RIDING HIGH TOGETHER FOR A BETTER FUTURE