Racing

Planet Star set to shine brightly in Race 6

Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

RACE 1 (1,200M)

1 EASY TOUCH set a brisk pace last week before folding under Dylan Mo. The switch to Joao Moreira is a strong pointer and, from the inside gate, he should be able to lead and prove too strong late.

Debutant 3 SHARPMIND has had five trials for this, dating back to May last year. He looks a straightforward commodity and a positive first showing is expected under Zac Purton.

5 YOUNG EMPIRE was well backed to improve at Happy Valley last time out and did so, clocking in fourth and looking on the cusp of finding the winners' circle.

7 CLEVER SPIRIT has been running solid races of late without winning. He is drawn well and should get an ideal run this time.


RACE 2 (1,600M)

1 DASHING DART appeared to be on the cusp of breaking through at the bottom of Class 4 before a disappointing effort last time out. He drops in grade and gets Moreira for his first run down in Class 5. This field looks weak even by Class 5 standards.

2 RED HORSE turned his form around significantly to win last time out. He only has three pounds (1.36kg) more to carry and does get the services of Sam Clipperton from a middle draw.

3 POLYMER LUCK's two runs in Class 5 earlier this season were very good and he should be a danger back in the cellar grade. Gate 13 will make it tough, though.

11 MY FOLKS has mixed his form this time in. Last start, he dumped Douglas Whyte at the start. He is capable on his day.


RACE 3 (1,000M)

5 MR STUNNING has been touted as a potential graduate to the highest ranks of Hong Kong sprinters since his debut win at Happy Valley in February last year. He has has progressed this season and, with only 113 pounds on his back, he looks more than capable of toppling the big guns.

2014 Al Quoz Sprint winner 3 AMBER SKY is sure to have plenty of support. The 1,000m specialist has plenty of speed and is an easy ride for 10-pound claimer Dylan Mo, so with only 104 pounds on his back after the claim, he will be difficult to pass.

4 BAD BOY disappointed as even-money favourite against many of these last time out after looking so impressive the start before. He's had a two-month lay-off and if he returns to his best, he will be around the mark.

6 MY LITTLE FRIEND looks hopelessly outclassed at the weights, finding himself 13 points outside of the handicaps. He was five lengths from Mr Stunning last time out at set weights, and while the margin may be the same again, he can show enough with the feather weight to include in the forecast.


RACE 4 (1,200M)

2 FIVE STARS AGENT, a son of 2007 Hong Kong Derby placegetter Champions Gallery, was a rare stable transfer to John Size at the start of this season. He has shown improvement since the switch, and his last three efforts have been good enough for him to win now he is in Class 5.

9 LAUGHING LORD has raced well in his last two starts and, from the inside gate, he should get a soft run in transit. At this level, that can make all the difference.

The 10-year-old mare 11 BERNARD'S CHOICE is nearing compulsory retirement, but she looks to have one more win left in her.

6 SHINING CHAMPION flashed home back down in Class 5 last time out at Happy Valley. He is equally effective at Sha Tin and should be coming at them late.


RACE 5 (1,200M)

7 EVEREST disappointed last time out stepping up to the Happy Valley 1,650m but the return to Sha Tin looks a plus. He could find the 1,200m too sharp, but if things fall into place, he should be going very close.

4 FANTASTIC EIGHT looks the most likely of the three debutants to show up in his first start. Gate 12 is a little sticky but he should press forward and be thereabout in this race.

11 RAY OF GOLD has had many problems over a number of seasons, but the talent is there and he's been performing to a consistently high standard lately. Expect a bold run.

10 BOSSIEE has now passed the two-year mark since his last win, but he has been improving of late and looks capable of breaking through.


RACE 6 (1,400M)

4 PLANET STAR did enough on debut when racing wide to suggest that he had ability, something he franked when he ran third under Zac Purton last start. The step-up to 1,400m looks a positive and, from the good draw, he appears the hardest to beat.

12 WINGOLD is honest enough and he should be suited by drawing the inside with Clipperton to ride.

7 AMBITIOUS HEART has been running consistently well enough this season without winning. In a race that appears to lack depth, he has a chance.

2 BOLD STITCH improved with Kei Chiong aboard last time out to finish fourth. Expect her to push the gelding towards the front yet again.


RACE 7 (1,400M)

This annual clash of gallopers from Hong Kong and Macau is run as a Class 1 for the first time this year, having previously been a Hong Kong Group 3. However, the Macau gallopers generally make up the numbers, and this year's crop don't look capable of beating the home team.

7 JOLLY BANNER lumped top weight to a narrow defeat last time out after winning his three starts before that. He meets Invincible Dragon, who beat him by a short head that day, nine pounds better at the weights. He can continue his progression with victory here.

5 RACING SUPERNOVA has had circumstances against him in his last three starts since winning the Panasonic Cup over this course and distance in November. The inside draw doesn't look ideal, but there does appear a fair bit of speed in the race, so expect him to be finding the line well.

6 INVINCIBLE DRAGON couldn't match the late surge of Gold Mount last time out after two strong wins over this course and distance. He should be around the mark again.

8 SIMPLY INVINCIBLE has surprised slightly with his progression this season, but on his best, he'd be more than competitive here.


RACE 8 (1,200M)

8 PACKING STONES arrives as the winner of two juvenile races at York and Newmarket from three starts. He was highly rated in the UK, some even suggesting he was 2,000 Guineas material. He has caught the eye from the training track, giving every indication he can win first-up.

5 BEAT THE CLOCK drops to 1,200m for the first time after six starts over 1,400m yielded two wide-margin wins and four placings. He is an exciting horse who has to deal with a wide gate, but he will likely start a heavy favourite and deservedly so.

7 WATER DIVINER disappointed last time out after he won twice to start his Hong Kong career. However, those positioned handy dominated the race, and he made very nice ground in a race where few came from the back. He deserves another chance.

2 HEALTHY JOYFUL has run well in his last two starts without troubling the judge. Purton jumps aboard and he can perform strongly again.


RACE 9 (1,400M)

3 CONVINCIBLE has come to hand fairly quickly, posting two placings at starts three and four before a couple of average efforts in his last two. If he can be held up for just a little longer, he will be in the mix with the right run.

5 BEAUTY KINGDOM is a very honest conveyance, having missed the top five only once in his last 13 starts despite only one win in that time. With his honesty, he's one who must be included, particularly after drawing a good gate.

2 VOLITATION has won three of his last four for John Size. He is reaching a point where his rating might be overstepping his progression, but he's some chance again.

1 FANTASTIC KAKA's rating has dropped 15 points from his peak. He has a bad draw but gets a positive jockey upgrade to Neil Callan and should improve.


RACE 10 (1,400M)

1 LAND GRANT has been out of sorts since winning in March last year, his final run of last season. This is the first time that he's drawn a good gate in some time and the return to the Sha Tin 1,400m looks a positive.

2 MIGHTY MAVERICK is expected to have support with Moreira jumping aboard. From a good gate, he should just sit behind the speed and has every chance.

6 CHEVALIER STAR is a leader, but he also has problems out of the gates which have hindered his progress. He has been racing like he needs the 1,400m, and with Purton aboard, expect him to be in the mix.

8 DARING FIT is another who will push forward, but he has to deal with the outside gate.


RACE 11 (1,800M)

This race can represent a last-ditch attempt to secure a BMW Hong Kong Derby berth before the field for the March 19 race is revealed on Wednesday.

9 CIRCUIT HASSLER was diabolical in his first two starts before running a bold race on the speed behind Rapper Dragon in the Classic Mile and then flying home for second behind stablemate California Disegno last time out. He has a wide gate, but expect a bold run as he tries to book a Derby spot.

It was hard not to be impressed with 4 LIMITLESS last time out as he railed through from last to win decisively over 1,400m. His problem is that he overraces and refuses to settle, but if he does somehow race more tractably, he is clearly the horse to beat.

10 PRAWN BABA was outclassed in the Classic Cup but had been good before that. With 113 pounds on his back, he should run his usual honest race.

14 WHO DAT SINGA looks a Derby contender, if only he can gain a start. The former Western Australian galloper plugged away for a third behind Limitless last time out, but he appears suited by the 1,800m trip.