Hermano Menor gets the all-clear
Kranji barrier practices
Last-start beaten favourite HERMANO MENOR showed up nicely in his barrier practice on Track 6 at Kranji yesterday morning.
Ridden by jockey A'Isisuhairi Kasim, the Steven Burridge-trained five-year-old travelled slightly better than smart debut winner ELITE EXCALIBUR and clocked 38.4sec for the 600m practice.
Hermano Menor was strongly supported last time out on Nov 18 on the strength of his easy previous-start all-the-way success and the fact that Joao "Magic" Moreira was at the helm.
The Australian-bred sat behind the pacemaker and hit the front at the top of the straight. But he began to go backwards to finish ninth in an Open Benchmark 83 event over 1,400m.
There was a good excuse for his disappointing performance - he was found to have returned lame near-fore after the race.
Now that he has recovered, Hermano Menor should be closely watched.
Elite Excalibur can also be jotted down in your notebook.
The bay four-year-old showed in his debut victory on Nov 20 that he is a horse with potential.
Burridge's JAY EFF EXPRESS and PAPERBACK TROOPER were also put through barrier practices yesterday, with Jay Eff Express (A'Isisuhairi) finishing better and clocking 37.6.
Trainer Shane Baertschiger, who on Thursday sent four of his horses out in two pairs for their barrier practices, yesterday lined up GUILTY PLEASURES alone for his barrier practice and the horse ran keenly to clock 37.4 with apprentice H Syafiq up.
Money Boy can get the cash
RACE 1 (1,650M)
2 JIMSON THE FAMOUS is bred to fly on this surface. He gets Joao Moreira and, on his work, he looks ready to fire.
1 BORN DRAGON was fair in his first try on this surface. He has plenty of talent. If he settles over the extended journey, he should be a show here.
10 SOCCER BRAVE was plain in his first go on this surface but over the shorter trip, and he deserves another chance.
Old-timer 8 NOVEL START needs everything to go his way to see this trip out strongly, but there is a possibility the race could set up to suit him.
RACE 2 (1,000M)
1 ACE KING has raced over the straight 1,000m three times for two big-margin wins and an unlucky second. He has got to the top of Class 4 quickly, but the claim of Kei Chiong should get him down in weight and he will be hard to beat.
11 PEACE COMBINATION has terrific statistics over this course and distance, with eight top-four finishes from 11 starts down the straight. He has only 117 pounds (53.1kg) to carry and can get into the placings again.
12 ART OF SUCCESS was poor last start after being crowded at the start but had been good before that. A return to something near his best will see him around the mark.
8 HEALTHY LUCK has his first start here and has the favoured outside gate too. He has trialled well for his debut.
RACE 3 (1,650M)
French import 7 KING GENKI gets on to the dirt for the first time and has worked well on the surface in his trials and trackwork. He only has 108 pounds to carry with the claim of Alvin Ng and this looks his best chance to break through.
2 PACKING LLAREGYB has had little luck this season but has still acquitted himself well. He ran second in his only try on this surface last year and the 1,650m on the dirt should suit.
1 HARBOUR MASTER goes well on this surface but may be near a ratings peak.
9 HIT THE BID should be suited by returning to the dirt and also carries only 108 pounds with Kei Chiong aboard.
RACE 4 (1,200M)
7 MONEY BOY has performed well in both his starts, finishing third on both occasions. With the benefit of the two runs, it's hard to see him being beaten here under Joao Moreira.
6 REGENCY HORSE had a bit of a boom before his debut last year. He showed that he definitely had talent, though, when resuming with a closing second. He'll be breaking through in no time at all.
2 SUNNY ORIENT improved at his first run down in Class 4 last time out and should get a nice run from the draw.
1 CHEER WIN should be suited to the 1,200m and is capable of getting up into Class 3.
RACE 5 (1,600M)
6 GOBI STORM ran a bold race first-up over 1,200m, finishing less than three lengths behind Forever Accurate. He looks capable of winning off this mark, particularly with the step-up to a mile.
7 GO BEAUTY GO has been working his way into form and his closing second last time out suggests that he will be in the mix again.
3 KING'S MAN was a shock winner first-up and has been good twice since from awkward draws. He is drawn better here and should be some chance .
1 TERRIFIC MASTER was good first-up over the 1,400m and is a chance up to the 1,600m second-up.
RACE 6 (1,400M)
9 EVEREST really caught the eye flying home for second last time out. Expect him to run on strongly again.
1 MAGNETISM drops down into Class 4 again after two good runs in the class recently. He has the ability to settle handy which could prove crucial.
3 BOLSHOI BALLET also sat handier last time out and looks to be rounding into form at the right time.
4 REGENCY BO BO was very impressive in his first start but was rather plain last time out. If he can return to his first effort, he'd be competitive here.
RACE 7 (1,200M)
5 TOP SCORE was good enough on debut, finding the line solidly enough to finish third. He should have improved and he can break through here.
6 KING MORTAR just flattened out late in a debut fourth down the straight behind very promising galloper D B Pin. He steps up to 1,200m here, which should suit him.
2 CONVINCIBLE improved out of sight third-up to hit the line strongly for third. Any improvement off that will have him in the mix here.
9 ORIONIDS is racing well and should break through soon.
RACE 8 (1,000M)
1 BAD BOY didn't see out the 1,200m strongly under top weight last time out. The return to the straight looks a positive, even with 133 pounds to carry again, and he looks hard to beat.
3 ADVENTURER's progression has been quite extraordinary, going from looking a horse bound for Class 5 to a horse now in the top half of Class 2. He has plenty of speed to burn and, with Moreira aboard, he'll be the one they have to run down again.
12 MOST BEAUTIFUL makes his debut here following a number of good trials. Watch him.
5 ACCEPTED hasn't lived up to the promise he showed early on but could give a sight fresh.
RACE 9 (1,400M)
3 TANG FLEMING makes his first Hong Kong appearance here, with the British import looking well-primed for his local debut with some good trials.
11 ROUNDABOUT is a consistent sort who always seems to be finding the line at the end of his races. Once again, he looks a chance in this type of race.
4 BIG BANG BONG surprised in the final leg of the LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship under Keita Tosaki earlier this month, winning comfortably. It remains to be seen whether he can back it up at Sha Tin today.
1 JOLLY JOLLY has been pretty plain in two runs this season but deserves another shot.
RACE 10 (1,600M)
14 UNICRON JEWELLERY was a good winner at his third start last time out. He sneaks into Class 3 with a light weight and looks capable of scoring another with only 114 pounds on his back for Joao Moreira.
1 BABA MAMA has worked his way through the grades right to the top of Class 3. He's racing for a Classic Mile berth here, and only needs to reproduce his best to be competitive yet again.
5 WINFIELD steps up to 1,600m for the first time after finding the line nicely last time out over 1400m. This might help him.
8 RAZOR QUEST has been racing well enough this season and looks near another win.
— COMMENTS BY ANDREW HAWKINS, COURTESY OF THE HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB