Racing

Encore Boy is set to go one better in Race 5

Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

RACE 1 (1,000M)

9 HOT KING PRAWN impressed with a speedy performance in his first trial down the straight, while he had an easy hit-out on the dirt against the older horses last week. In a field that is notable for its lack of depth, he should make a winning debut.

4 LUCKY MASTER ran second to Amusing City in the season's first griffin race but looked good enough there to suggest he can fill that spot again.

7 AMUSING CITY found the line well to score there, but he has to carry a seven-pound (3.18kg) penalty which gives Lucky Master the upper hand.

1 A SHIN HOOF is the first Hong Kong-trained horse for Hirotsugu Hirai, who owned Hong Kong Cup winner A Shin Hikari among others. A Shin Hoof has looked a big baby in the mornings but is one to watch.

RACE 2 (1,400M)

3 MERRYGOWIN just seemed to hold his spot last time out, never really making ground but not losing his spot either. He has a soft draw and is clearly the one to beat on paper.

7 G-ONE UNION has had an injury-interrupted season, but he made up significant ground at Happy Valley in his return last month. The step-up to 1,400m looks a plus.

2 HARD BALL GET has scored only once from 32 starts. However, he returns to Class 4 here, where he has a record of six starts for a win and three seconds, all over this course and distance. Zac Purton is a significant jockey upgrade too.

1 CHARITY KINGDOM can bob up every now and then. He's one to keep on side now that he gets the drop in grade as well.

RACE 3 (1,400M)

5 CALIFORNIAWHIP has won only once from seven starts, and that came on the dirt. However, he's been consistent, with big performances around some of the best four-year-olds in town. With only 119 pounds on his back, he is the horse to beat.

3 WINNER'S WAY made his Happy Valley debut last time out, prevailing over 1,650m under a gem of a front-running ride by Purton. He has the same weight and will be the main threat.

7 PABLOSKY creates interest with only 114 pounds. He is hard to catch at this level but his run behind stablemate Magic Legend last start was strong and a repeat will see him in the mix.

2 LUCKY YEAR, who finished alongside Midnight Rattler and California Whip last start, looks well served by Jack Wong's seven-pound claim.

RACE 4 (1,650M)

8 FOREVER POSH has been working well on this surface. He is drawn ideally and, with improvement, can challenge here.

11 FIVE STARS AGENT won nicely on speed two runs back, but was awful last time out. It was a wet-slow surface that day and it is worth forgiving him and expect improvement.

2 SUPER TALENT kept coming last start, but just couldn't wear down Imperial Seal, going down by a head. He has a more awkward draw this time out but he also looks a horse certain to get a victory before the end of the season.

10 CROWN AVENUE improved in that same Imperial Seal race last start, enjoying the step-up to the extended mile. He can get into the placing.

RACE 5 (1,000M)

3 ENCORE BOY produced one of the more impressive beaten performances of the season when second to Sight Leader last start. It won't be easy from gate 4 but, if he gets across to the lead near the outside rail, then he will be hard to beat.

7 IVICTORY has had four fairly easy trials but has showed promise and he can add to John Size's win tally as the handler chases the record for most wins in a season.

4 STRATHCLYDE looked to have made significant improvement in his time on the sidelines before he began this preparation, and he hasn't disappointed. It is only a matter of time before he steps up to Class 3.

9 NICE FANDANGO was solid on debut and is sure to have come on for that third.

RACE 6 (1,400M)

1 AGREE couldn't make up any ground in his last two starts over the Happy Valley 1,650m. He now gets the drop in grade and also looks suited returning to the Sha Tin 1,400m.

10 LAUGH OUT LOUD has been racing well of late. He is hard to catch, but expect him to be running on strongly.

5 EMPIRE STAR almost joined the long shot winners club in his first start, running Nashashuk to a head at 100-1, before starting even money in his second start under Joao Moreira and running on for fifth. He clearly needs the step-up in trip.

4 METALLIC STAR finally broke through last start after threatening to get another win. He is over his pet course and, if he gets it soft out in front, he could go back to back.

RACE 7 (1,000M)

1 LUCKY WAN FENG had absolutely no luck down the straight on debut but was an impressive winner last time out over 1,200m. He returns to the straight course, but Dylan Mo takes 10 pounds off, so he has only to carry 123 pounds and looks the horse to beat.

4 LUCKY DOLLAR may be the best horse in this race in time. He had looked a promising galloper in Australia, where he was unbeaten when named The States, and his trials were very strong. He ran well on debut in Hong Kong behind Shamal, who led all the way. The major negative is barrier 2.

11 SUNSHINE UNIVERSE was short of luck in both starts over the straight 1,000m before a lacklustre effort over 1,200m last time out. The return to the straight is a plus, as is gate 14.

13 FLYING MONKEY was good off a long lay-off at Happy Valley last start. He only carries 107 pounds with Jack Wong's claim and he can find his way into the finish.

RACE 8 (1,650M)

1 KING GENKI has yet to win in Hong Kong after being tried as a Derby horse last year. However, he looks likely to win a race or two over the dirt, and this is the first time he has had a top jockey aboard, with Purton now taking the ride.

11 TOP ACE flew home in his first start since September last time out, failing by a short head to grab Good Fit. That was his first run off from a bleeding attack. With only 115 pounds, he can be a major contender.

10 GIANT STARS is so hard to catch, sneaking into the placings when least expected. However, in his first run over 1,650m this season, he might be one who could grab second or third.

2 WHO DAT SINGA is a horse with talent, so he's worth throwing in underneath.

RACE 9 (1,400M)

3 FRIENDS OF NANJING hasn't been able to repeat his feats from last season, but he's been honest this season. The move back to 1,400m with blinkers looks a smart move.

7 WORLD RECORD has been something of a revelation this season, winning three times and placing four times in his last seven starts over this course and distance. He is sure to hit his mark at some point soon.

1 MIGHTY MAVERICK returns to Class 3 for the first time since that day with Neil Callan aboard in place of a suspended Moreira. He is some chance.

9 LANG TAI SING has been better suited over 1,200m than the 1,400m of this race. However, he is looking in need of more ground, so maybe now is the time to give him a go over this trip again.

RACE 10 (1,400M)

10 GREEN ENERGY really caught the eye running into third in his second start behind Kingsfield two weeks ago. If he has taken another step forward, he will be a leading player.

6 MONGOLIAN KING had looked on the cusp of breaking through, so he bears close watching in his return.

13 WUSHU CHAMPION is a talented horse, but can be a nutcase too. One day, it's all going to click and he will rise higher than his current 63 rating.

3 LUCKY DOUBLE EIGHT is racing in great heart at the moment.