Racing

Encore Boy the one to beat if he jumps well

Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

RACE 1 (1,000M)

3 ENCORE BOY impressed two starts back and was awkward to jump from a difficult gate last start. He needs to improve his barrier manners and, if he jumps well under Zac Purton from gate 11, he's the one to beat.

12 LUNAR ZEPHYR was just edged out by Zero Hedge two weeks ago. With Matthew Poon jumping aboard, he now carries only 109 pounds (49.5kg) and that makes him a huge danger.

6 OCEAN ELITE's trials have suggested that he does have ability. However, he might still need a run or two under his belt.

10 TOURBILLON KING ran okay two runs back but he has otherwise performed poorly. Still, he might be one who could drastically improve here.

RACE 2 (1,200M)

1 ACTUARIAT showed a first glimmer of form over this course and distance two runs back. He drops into Class 5 for the first time here and he gets a major jockey upgrade with Purton atop. This looks a chance for him to break through.

5 FORTUNE BROTHERS was sent off favourite last start with Joao Moreira jumping but he bumped the running rail and he couldn't come into a race dominated from the front by Giddy Giddy. If he runs up to his performance from two starts back, he can get into the finish.

9 SNOWHOOVES was second in that Giddy Giddy race. If everything falls into place for him, he can get into the finish.

12 NOBLE BUDDIES has been bitterly disappointing throughout his career, but he does get in with only 103 pounds and, if he is ever going to win a Hong Kong race, it will be here.

RACE 3 (1,200M)

3 SILLY BUDDIES returns to the dirt 1,200m, where he has won two times and placed on four more occasions from 10 starts. Also, Moreira jumps aboard from a good draw, so the signs point to the chestnut returning to the winner's circle.

7 RESPECT is hard to catch but he gets Matthew Poon's claim, which takes him down to 126 pounds. That will make him dangerous if things go his way.

9 GIDDY GIDDY is going to struggle to win in Class 4 but he has natural speed, such an asset on this surface. If unchallenged, he could be hard to run down.

8 CORRE RAPIDO has been very plain in two starts to date. Still, there is talent there, so if he decides to put it all in, he could bob up of nowhere.

RACE 4 (2,200M)

2 INDUSTRIALIST WAY is an infrequent winner but he is a horse that has found his way into the top four on more occasions than not in his 52 starts. His record in Class 4 is strong and the 10-pound claim of Matthew Poon gets him to a place in the weights where he should be very competitive.

9 GARLIC YEAH disappointed last start but he had been building a solid record over these longer trips before that, including a victory over this distance in February in Class 5 and a narrow course and distance defeat in March. He shapes as a horse best suited by a senior rider, so the switch back to Chad Schofield looks a plus.

11 AUDACITY has improved in his last three starts down in Class 5. He now returns to Class 4, where he has struggled in the past. But, with only 111 pounds on his back for jockey Derek Leung, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

The penny seems to have dropped with 3 BEST REWARD in recent starts as he has put together three wins in a row. He has had everything to suit in his last couple and there's no reason it won't work out for him again.

RACE 5 (1,600M)

3 INFINITY ENDEAVOUR is yet to run a bad race, but he still looks to be putting it all together. The blueblood should relish every inch of the mile and he will be hard to beat now.

2 SUCH A HAPPINESS looks to have plenty of potential, but he still does little things wrong in his races. He will go back from his wide gate and, with Matthew Poon aboard, he only has to carry 120 pounds. However, he might need a bit of luck.

12 PO CHING TREASURE has now had 38 starts in Hong Kong without a win, and has not made it into the placings this season. However, his last two runs have been oaky and he might be on the brink of finally breaking through down at the bottom of Class 4.

1 SICHUAN BOSS' last two runs have been moderate. He gets the drop into Class 4 and looks the type who can improve quickly.

RACE 6 (1,200M)

11 SUPER JUNIOR improved out of sight in his second start to win over the Sha Tin straight 1,000m at 166-1. He has not disgraced with two good seconds since. He now tackles Class 3 for the first time but he looks to be improving and, with only 115 pounds on his back from a good draw, he can figure.

10 FANTASTIC EIGHT has been beaten in his last two starts, having broken through on debut, but both efforts were creditable and he looks to be heading higher.

There is every chance 5 MASTER ALBERT may start favourite after a number of impressive barrier trials. He clearly has talent and he might be a horse worth watching here.

3 MALMSTEEN has been poor this season after winning three races last term to push his rating well into Class 2 territory. He returns to Sha Tin now with Matthew Poon taking his weight down to 118 pounds. If he can get near the lead from the inside gate, he could be a force.

RACE 7 (1,400M)

Royal Ascot winner 2 LIMITLESS is very quirky and struggles to settle at times, but he looked better in a recent trial behind his rivals in this race in Beat The Clock and Adventurer. If he gets a solid tempo, expect him to come over the top late.

5 BEAT THE CLOCK tries Class 2 company for the first time. He has been a model of consistency this season, although he has still looked far from a finished product. He will jump favourite, and while he is almost certain to be around the mark, he might be worth opposing with Limitless.

3 LUCKY EVER has been just fair in two runs back from a leg injury. The step-up to 1,400m looks a plus and he can find his way into the placings.

4 ADVENTURER is a 1,000m specialist who, on paper, looks likely to struggle over 1,400m. But he might skip away with an easy lead and he's one to ignore at your own peril.

RACE 8 (1,200M)

1 PERPETUAL TREASURE returns to Class 3 for the first time in over a year. He has plenty of natural speed, something which 10-pound claimer Matthew Poon is sure to take advantage of from the outside gate. With only 123 pounds on his back, he will be lethal against this sort of company.

10 PAKISTAN BABY missed the start by six lengths or so last start, so his effort to close into second, beaten only a length-and-a-half, was admirable. He is sure to be around the mark.

5 HARBOUR ALERT has been close to breaking through on this surface. It is likely to come at some point soon, so he's worth including in all exotics.

8 OPEN HOUSE improved markedly at start three at Happy Valley, finishing midfield. He might still be acclimatising, but he is not the worst horse here.

RACE 9 (1,400M)

3 CLASSIC EMPEROR generally finds the 1,400m a bit sharp, but at what is his first start since February, he can get into the finish over this trip, particularly with a kind draw in gate 2.

5 REGENCY BO BO is some chance again, obviously, with the most notable factor being the addition of blinkers, which he may need. But, for a horse that is already a bit unsteady at the gates, blinkers could be a disaster in the early stages. It is worth watching him again.

10 GREEN ENERGY found the line nicely over this course and distance last time out. He will go back again from another awkward alley, but he looks to be coming right.

12 HARD BALL GET has not won in Class 3 from 20 starts, but he returns to the grade after a last-start Class 4 triumph. With Matthew Poon's claim, he carries only 110 pounds, 23 pounds less than last start, and he should get a cosy run from gate 1. He's worth including.

RACE 10 (1,600M)

5 GRANITE BELT is still acclimatising to Hong Kong life after two starts. However, his last run was better than it looks on paper, going to the line under a throttlehold as he was tight for room over the last 100m. He might still need more time but the switch to Sha Tin appears a plus and he has a good draw with Irish strongman Neil Callan engaged. He is worth a play.

13 CLUB LIFE is no star but he finally broke through for the first time in two-and-a-half years last start. He will likely go forward with only 106 pounds on his back with Matthew Poon's claim, and he will be in it for a long way.

14 UNICRON JEWELLERY returns after a long break, having not raced since New Year's Day. He still looked a weak galloper earlier this season, needing time to strengthen up and he has looked good in his trials.

9 SMILING CHARM has been consistent enough since stepping up to Class 3 and his effort to charge into second last start was admirable.

 

Racing