Racing

Magic Legend can lift Group 3 Sha Tin Vase

Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

RACE 1 (2,000M)

3 VOLITATION creates interest stepping up to 2,000m for the first time. The four-year-old struggled over a mile last weekend, his first run beyond 1,400m, but it was an odd day of racing and he didn't look particularly suited. As a son of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, he should get the extended trip.

2 GREEN DISPATCH looked to have everything handed to him on a silver platter over this course and distance last start, but he couldn't reel in Jolly Gene. He does meet that horse six pounds (2.72kg) better for a length-and-three-quarter defeat, so he's a chance again.

6 LOTUS STRIKES BACK gets the 10-pound claim of Matthew Poon to assist him, meaning he is carrying only 112 pounds. That could be crucial.

4 JOLLY GENE doesn't win out of turn but he has been racing in good heart even before his last-start success.

RACE 2 (1,000M)

1 GALLANT ROCK drops back into Class 4, where he was a three-time winner over this course and distance last season. He gets the seven-pound claim of Jack Wong and, from his favourable outside draw, he should be able to jump to the lead and prove hard to beat.

7 INDIGENOUS STAR ran two good races over the straight 1,000m earlier this season, punctuated by two poor efforts over the 1,200m. He's had a couple of months on the sidelines and, with the outside draw over this course and distance, he will be coming home strongly.

5 ZERO HEDGE looked a nice enough prospect in his trials and should be well primed for his debut, especially with trainer John Size on fire currently.

4 NICE FANDANGO has looked good in both starts, making a significant step forward last time out. Although drawn awkwardly, he can figure.

RACE 3 (1,600M)

4 HAPPY AND HEALTHY steps back up to a mile after two runs over 1,400m, including a victory last month. Matthew Poon rides once again, taking his weight down to 119 pounds, and the trip should suit.

2 AMBITIOUS PINS looked a horse likely to win once he got down to Class 4, but he has disappointed slightly in two runs since. He is worth another chance with the return to Sha Tin, though.

1 VARA PEARL has desperately needed the drop in grade, despite running a number of good races in Class 3 earlier in the term. His best has come at Happy Valley, but even still, he is worth another chance down in Class 4.

9 GOLD VELVET has been beaten a combined 31 lengths in three starts so far, but he improved with a step up in trip last time out. He is open to further improvement.

RACE 4 (1,400M)

2 SUNNY WAY has turned a corner in his last two starts, charging home to win two runs back before defying the outside barrier to run second to Beauty Kingdom last time out. Now that the penny has dropped, he is capable of working his way back into Class 2.

10 SIR REDALOT makes his Hong Kong debut, one of two debutants on the day for Ronald Arculli and his wife Johanna. The gelding won two from six in Ireland when named Sir Dreamalot and from his trials, he looks ready to run a bold race.

1 MIGHTY MAVERICK is a very consistent horse when racing in Class 3. From a good draw, he should get an ideal run and prove hard to beat.

13 WUSHU CHAMPION is a frustrating horse who has more talent than he has shown. If he jumps cleanly from gate 1, he is capable of scoring before he drops down into Class 4.

RACE 5 (1,400M)

4 MY DARLING was outclassed and outstayed in the Hong Kong Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby, but he shrugged off those efforts to finish a game third last start behind New Asia Sunrise when circumstances were entirely against him. With luck, he will be winning here.

1 MIDNIGHT RATTLER definitely appears to be on his mark after a surprise Class 1 victory two starts back, but he gets Matthew Poon's 10-pound claim and that could make him competitive here.

10 BABA MAMA was another who didn't have a clear run in that New Asia Sunrise race. He has disappointed slightly in recent starts but is worth another chance with only 116 pounds.

8 HANG'S DECISION is a very honest galloper who has probably found his level. Still, with the right run, he can get into the finish.

RACE 6 (1,400M)

4 SUCH A HAPPINESS took an age to wind up last time out along the inside, but he eventually charged home for fourth behind Metallic Star. He won't have lost any admirers for that run and this looms as the perfect winning opportunity.

2 RELENTLESS ME was impressive on debut in his victory, despite the narrow margin of a neck. He looks a horse heading higher, although the outside gate of 14 means a tougher task.

10 AUTOPAY has been good in two runs back from a spell. He will likely settle handier and is capable of producing a big effort.

6 C P POWER has proven consistent without getting a win on the board yet. He should be somewhere around the mark.

RACE 7 (2,400M)

GROUP 1 STANDARD CHARTERED CHAMPIONS & CHATER CUP

1 WERTHER was beaten as an odds-on favourite in this race last year after a long season that included wins in the Hong Kong Derby and the QEII Cup. This year, injury has ensured that he hasn't been raced as arduously and he arrives on somewhat fresh legs. There are queries over the 2,400m, but if he finds his best, he should win.

4 EAGLE WAY is likely to start favourite on the back of his win in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup, Hong Kong's only 2,400m handicap, last time out. Last year's Queensland Derby winner is a stayer through and through but he might just find his stablemate too strong late.

6 HELENE CHARISMA was second in the Queen Mother, proving himself as another decent stayer for the yard - to be expected, given he won the Grand Prix de Paris last year. Any rain would help his cause.

Trainer Tony Cruz has won the last four Champions & Chater Cups, two with Blazing Speed, who lines up again in what is likely to be his last start. However, it could be a changing of the guard for the yard and preference is given to 7 GOLDMOUNT, who has had a light campaign and has plenty of room for improvement.

RACE 8 (1,200M)

GROUP 3 SHA TIN VASE

9 MAGIC LEGEND is still a three-year-old, but what he did in winning his first four races in Hong Kong was unprecedented. He arguably could have been five-for-five if not for striking bad interference over the straight 1,000m last time out. He looks well suited with only 113 pounds and is hard to beat.

7 D B PIN is likely to be named this season's Most Improved Horse after improving his rating by 52 points before this race. The 1,200m was considered some concern before last start, when he won by more than three lengths on the dirt. The light impost gives him his best chance of a stakes score.

His stablemate 1 MR STUNNING will have plenty of admirers after working his way through the grades to win the Group 2 Sprint Cup and just fall short in the Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize. But giving away 20 pounds to some of his rivals looks a big ask.

8 FABULOUS ONE returns after a two-run campaign in Dubai, where he disappointed. However, getting back to the right-handed circle should suit and he could lead for fun here if they so desired. With 113 pounds, that could make for a dangerous combination.

RACE 9 (1,400M)

7 PENANG HALL had little luck two starts back but had every chance last time out, both efforts yielding a third. He gets Matthew Poon's claim again and has a good draw.

6 WINSTON'S LAD has made a habit of running on without winning in recent starts. He will be running home well again.

10 BANK ON RED is the day's second Arculli-owned debutant. The one-time UK winner looks a nice galloper from the trials and is worth including.

Last year, 1 DIVINE BOY was running in the Sha Tin Vase. He has produced some good efforts at times this term, but he hasn't been able to put it together. With the drop back into Class 3, maybe this is his chance.

RACE 10 (1,200M)

7 SOUTHERN LEGEND arrives with strong Australian form, including a Listed win and two Group 2 placings against some of the stronger sprinters down under. He looks well-handicapped on a mark of 87.

10 SHAMAL has won his last three races, two by big margins, to enter Class 2 for the first time, only three runs after dropping into Class 4. He goes in light with Jack Wong's claim.

1 LINE SEEKER appears to be near his mark and the claim of Matthew Poon takes his weight down to 123 pounds.

13 TURF SPRINT's rating is now below his winning mark from earlier in the season. He has got a kind draw here.

 

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