Racing

Encore Boy ready to give a top performance

Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

RACE 1 (1,200M)

11 LUCKY STRYKER makes his debut here. He has trialled only moderately, but he has performed well enough to expect that he could make a splash with only 117 pounds (53.18kg) on his back. He's a chance.

8 BINGO was clearly second- best behind boom griffin Hot King Prawn last time out. The experience should have brought him on, though, so he deserves respect in this spot.

1 LUCKY MASTER was hugely impressive when a four-length win as favourite last month, although he beat nothing. He carries a seven-pound penalty here, a tough ask, and this opposition looks stronger. Still, he has race experience on the board, so he rates as some chance again.

2 CHATER THUNDER was bought for HK$4.5 million (S$800,000) at the Hong Kong International Sale in March. He has trialled well in preparation for this, but he might need the run under his belt first.

RACE 2 (1,400M)

4 HASTILY FEET returns to the races for the first time in three months, having suffered a number of minor right leg issues. His first run in Class 5 was solid back in April, and if he runs to that level, he is a major player. His trackwork suggests that is likely.

5 UNIQUE JOYFUL has been consistent in his current place in the ratings. Apprentice Dylan Mo replaces Zac Purton and the Handsome Ransom gelding has drawn the outside gate of 14, but if he can get into a handy position without too much effort, he will be right around the mark.

9 PLAIN BLUE BANNER has also drawn wide in 13, but he's at a rating where he should be breaking through again. All three of his wins have come over this course and distance too.

11 YOURTHEWONFORME is on the cusp of a win for handler Gary Ng, who may only have three meetings left after a 27-year training career. He has been racing as consistently as any runner from the stable ever does, so he would be a fitting winner for Ng before the curtains come down.

RACE 3 (1,400M)

1 WUSHU CHAMPION is a better horse than his stats - one solitary placing from 12 starts - suggest. However, he is also very quirky and so the first step is determining which Wushu Champion will turn up. The chestnut finally drops to Class 4 and gets Zac Purton aboard, and even gate 13 doesn't look a terrible burden, given that he will likely head back in the field anyway. This looks his time to shine, if the proper one turns up.

2 JOLLY BOUNTIFUL still ran a creditable race last time out, but he looked better when he was chasing from midfield at his two starts before that. With a quieter ride here, he might be able to push his way into Class 3.

3 EXPERTO CREDE improved last start in his second run in Class 4, running on strongly behind all-the-way leader Metallic Star. He looks to have found his mark and another big run is anticipated.

5 COOL AND NEAT won over this course and distance in March but he had a couple of issues after running over 1,800m in April. Fresh is best with him, so he's a chance once again.

RACE 4 (1,200M)

2 STAR SUPERIOR's last two runs over this course and distance have been very solid and he looks ready to win one now. Dylan Mo's seven-pound claim takes him down to 124 pounds and he has a seemingly favourable inside draw, although Mo might need to work some magic to ensure the horse is not too cluttered from there. If he can get him outside horses, he will be hard to beat.

1 HIGH ENERGY has a dirt pedigree, with close relatives including Group 1 winner Smoke Glacken and Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up Crown Of Thorns. His runner-up finish on turf two starts back was solid, and while he has little form otherwise to recommend him, the switch to dirt makes him worth following here.

6 RESPECT is honest enough without winning often. It's hard to see him saluting here, but he must be included in all exotics.

7 GIDDY GIDDY has reached a mark he never looked like getting to previously after some solid runs on this surface. He is probably at his limit, but with the right run, he's a place chance again.

RACE 5 (1,000M)

3 ENCORE BOY has been narrowly beaten in two of his last three starts, once by the promising Sight Leader, and last time out by Lunar Zephyr. He should be on the board by now and, with Zac Purton retaining the ride from a middle gate, he only needs to jump well and put himself in a handy position to be hard to beat here.

8 BEEKELY ran a solid third to highly touted Travel Emperor last time out. This is the best gate he's drawn over this course and distance, so he bears close watching.

12 PEACE COMBINATION returns to the straight 1,000m for the first time since New Year's Day. It is a course and distance over which he has finished in the top four at nine of his 13 attempts, and the booking of Joao Moreira clearly indicates that he is well-meant here.

1 SUNSHINE UNIVERSE has run some good races in Class 3 and should be suited in this grade. However, he can also be his own worst enemy.

RACE 6 (1,200M)

4 WAYFOONG VINNIE returns to the dirt for just the second time, having made his seasonal debut on the surface back in October. He disappointed that day, but as a son of Elusive City, he should be handling it. His form is solid and he must rank as a leading contender.

3 SUPER WISE makes his dirt debut, having solely raced over the straight 1,000m in Hong Kong so far. In fact, his sole run in Australia was over Flemington's straight 1,100m, so this is the first time he tackles the circle under raceday conditions. His form has been a little hit-and-miss since arriving, but perhaps the change might spark him up. He's clearly got the talent if right.

6 SUNNY WIN was heavily backed last time out and ran a good race behind Joyful Moments. Injured rider Ben So has been replaced by Joao Moreira and the horse enter in steady form, so he must be considered.

2 KHAKI makes his debut here, having won two of four starts for Godolphin in Australia. He arrives with some solid form around the likes of G1 winner Foxplay, G2 victor Oak Door and G3 winner Raiment, so while he might take time to acclimatise, he deserves respect at his first Hong Kong run.

RACE 7 (1,600M)

1 INFINITY ENDEAVOUR has finished second at his last three starts, including a narrow second last time out when looking the winner for much of the straight. The blueblood keeps running well and a win will come very soon, while the addition of cheekpieces looks another plus for his chances.

5 SUCH A HAPPINESS was in trouble a long way out last time out. The better draw and the switch back to Neil Callan both look to be positives and he can atone for that last-start effort.

12 BELOVED improved in his last start two months back with the addition of blinkers. He now steps up in trip, which should suit, and while he might need the drop in grade, he is worth including at a price.

4 UNIQUE JOYOUS improved with the return to Class 4 last time out. The rider upgrade to Olivier Doleuze and the good draw ensure that he must be considered.

RACE 8 (1,200M)

12 HAPPY HAPPY STAR has started at short odds in each of his four starts, but he has only one win on the board. There are a few indicators that he will be well suited to the dirt, so he must go on top, even from the poor draw and, with Moreira opting for Arizona Blizzard.

American-bred galloper 11 GENEROUS HEART is a rare Hong Kong galloper sourced stateside, having been bought out of an Ocala sale in Florida in 2015. He had been finding form prior to a last-start failure from a bad draw, and while he has drawn awkwardly again, he should relish the switch to dirt. He's worth including.

7 HARBOUR ALERT is a risk on a win line but he rarely runs a bad race on this surface with five placings from six starts. He is likely to be around the mark yet again.

6 ARIZONA BLIZZARD will start favourite with Moreira jumping aboard, especially after a slashing run from last to finish second last time out. He might be worth opposing on top but there is no questioning his credentials.

RACE 9 (2,000M)

6 ROCKETEER followed a similar path to many of John Moore's three-year-olds, coming to hand after a couple of runs and proving himself in Class 2. He was dominant over this course and distance last time out, tentatively booking himself in as the very early BMW Hong Kong Derby favourite for next March. He still looks well-rated and is capable of another win before the season is out.

4 DOYENI has been racing in great heart since returning from several leg issues. He failed at his one attempt over 2,000m in Hong Kong, but he looks well-placed and should run a bold race.

1 HELENE CHARISMA has been among the top four-year-olds this season without winning, including fifth in the Hong Kong Derby, second in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup and fourth in the Champions & Chater Cup. Last year's Grand Prix de Paris winner might find this too short and he carries a lot of weight, but he ranks as a chance.

8 DYNAMISM's best form over the last couple of seasons has been at Happy Valley, but his one Hong Kong win came over this course and distance. He is worth including at a price.

RACE 10 (1,400M)


3 REGENCY BO BO has been something of a disappointment in Class 3, either striking bad luck or just proving too one-paced to be able to figure. Last time out, he was badly checked, along with last weekend's winner Hard Ball Get, so that run must be completely forgotten. If he can find his best, he can finally get on the board in Class 3 here.

7 SIR REDALOT was good after leading in his Hong Kong debut, but he couldn't lead last time out and he looked one-paced in the run. If he can get out in front, he could be hard to run down.

6 RADIANT BUNNY has run well in his last two starts and looks to be returning to a mark where he should be in contention yet again, especially with a return to the Sha Tin 1,400m.

5 GRANITE BELT entered every blackbook with his luckless sixth over the Happy Valley 1,650m two runs back, but he has been just fair in two efforts since. With the right run, he can be competitive.

Racing