Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Hong Kong Feature Race Best Bets & Predictions - Sunday 8th December 2019

Hong Kong Feature Race Best Bets & Predictions - Sunday 8th December 2019

Jockeys ride horses

Neil Morrice walks you through the front runners for Sunday's racing in Hong Kong at Sha Tin for the featured Longines 
Hong Kong Mile, Cup, Vase and Sprint. Get your bets on now with Hollywoodbets!

Neil Morrice previews the big feature races at Sha Tin below, including the Longines Hong Kong Cup, Vase, Mile and Sprint:



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Feature Race Analysis

Hong Kong Mile (Group 1) 

BEAUTY GENERATION attempts to join Good Ba Ba as the only horse in Hong Kong International history to win this three times. The country’s Horse Of The Year In 2018 and 2019 has seen his aura of invincibility slip with defeats in his last two outings, but trainer John Moore is confident the 7yo can bounce back now that he’s meeting his foes on level terms. The world’s top-rated miler is the track record holder at Sha Tin.

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Jockey Zac Purton talks to Neil Morrice ahead of the 2019 Longines Hong Kong International this weekend. Purton will be hoping to earn BEAUTY GENERATION's third consecutive victory in the Longines Hong Kong Mile for trainer John Moore, having won the race in 2017 and 2018. Purton also rides AETHERO for Moore in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.


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The home nation fields four others with WAIKUKU the one that stands out. Representing trainer John Size and Jockey Joao Moreira, the 4yo made rapid progress last season to finish second in the Hong Kong Derby and then improved to eclipse Beauty Generation in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile.

KA YING STAR gets into the argument courtesy of his second in that race, his third near-miss since landing the Group 3 Lion Rock Trophy in June. In the Jockey Club Mile, he tracked Beauty Generation and kept on past him in the final furlong on his favoured fast ground. The addition of Mauritian jockey Karis Teeton has played its part in his progression.

While the sheer weight of local money is likely to see Beauty Generation start favourite, the best-backed runner in the ante-post market has been Japan’s INDY CHAMP. The Stay Gold colt has been the outstanding miler in his homeland in trumping Almond Eye in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen and Mile Championship, which gives him the same profile as the awesome Maurice who took these honours four years ago.

Stacking up behind Indy Champ in a hugely powerful challenge for Japan are ADMIRE MARS, PERSIAN KNIGHT and NORMCORE.

Three-year-old Admire Mars won five of his eight starts as a juvenile and notched a second Group 1 success in the NHK Mile Cup In May. Persian Knight is no stranger to Sha Tin and ran fifth in this race last year and third in the Mile Championship last month. His latest win was in that Group 1 race two years ago.

Normcore is the only filly in the field but has a great chance of causing an upset. She posted a first Group 1 win in the Victoria Mile in May and returned from a summer break to land the Group 3 Fuji Stakes in October.

Sir Michael Stoute will not be present to watch the much improved ZAAKI take his chance under Ryan Moore. The 4yo has landed three wins from six starts this year but doesn’t look up to Group 1 level.

Prediction

1st NORMCORE

2nd Indy Champ

3rd Beauty Generation

4th Waikuku

5th Ka Ying Star

6th Admire Mars

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EDISA - horse in Hong Kong
EDISA

Hong Kong Cup (Group 1)

A certain amount of clout was taken from this with the late defection of Almond Eye with a high temperature but the Japanese nevertheless field a likely favourite in WIN BRIGHT whose career peaked with his storming victory in the FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup here in April. That makes him one from one at Sha Tin and the 5yo has impressed work watchers in his final preparation this week.

A second string to Japan’s bow is RISE HIGH whose form ties in closely with Vase favourite Exultant to whom he finished second in the Group 1 Champions & Chater Cup last season and fourth in the Group 2 Jockey Club Cup on his latest outing. Casper Fownes believes he has his gelding in peak condition, but over this trip short of his best Rise High will need a strong pace if he’s to prevail.

FURORE was the top 4yo in Hong Kong last year with wins in the Classic Mile and BMW Hong Kong Derby, while he chased home Exultant in the Jockey Club Cup on his latest outing. That improved showing followed two moderate efforts to start this term and he needs to continue on that recent upward curve as consistency isn’t his strong point.

Another major player in the 2000 metres contest and helping give the locals a super-strong assault on the prize is GLORIOUS FOREVER. The powerful front runner hasn’t so far this year matched the form that saw him take this 12 months ago under Silvestre de Sousa and he resented being taken on for the lead in the Jockey Club Cup. His pillow that day Zac Parton retains the mount.

TIME WARP landed this two years ago but now appears to be on a receding curve. He tried to dominate in the Jockey Club Cup but faded into seventh. His best days seem firmly behind him.

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Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré chats with Neil Morrice ahead of the Longines Hong Kong International at Sha Tin. Alain gives his verdict on Longines Hong Kong Cup filly EDISA, and her chances in the HK$28,000,00 race.


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The European challenge has bags of potential with both MAGIC WAND and EDISA having impressed me on the track this week. Magic Wand is as tough as teak and her passport stamps number five different countries this year, while contesting nine Group 1s. After having a lot to do from a bad draw in the Melbourne Cup she remained in Australia to land the Grade 1 Mackinnon Stakes before travelling here.

She’s looked on good terms with herself in her work. Edisa picked up the newly formed Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont but hated the heavy ground when beaten in a Group 2 at Longchamp in October. Her trainer Alain De Royer Dupre is happy that underfoot conditions on Sunday will be identical to those she encountered in America. She possesses a very good turn of foot.

Prediction

1st MAGIC WAND

2nd Edisa

3rd Win Bright

4th Furore

5th Rise High

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Hong Kong Vase (Group 1) 

EXULTANT bids to go back-to-back in this and has enjoyed the perfect preparation, winning four of his six subsequent outings including the prestigious Jockey Club Cup last month. Tony Cruz says his charge has improved physically from 4 to 5 and that his laid back nature will help him cope with a nightmare draw on the outside of the 14 runners. The trainer is insistent Zac Purton will not try to go inside but that the combination will try to find their way to the lead from the outer. This will mean Exultant has to use valuable energy in the early stages, as he’s a horse that has to be handy.

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Neil Morrice chats with Hong Kong trainer Tony Cruz ahead of the Longines Hong Kong International at Sha Tin this weekend. Cruz assesses EXULTANT who takes his place in the Longines Hong Kong Vase, and Hong Kong Mile hopeful KA YING STAR. Watch:


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The Japanese challenge is three-pronged with DEIRDRE attracting plenty of attention on the training track this week under champion jockey Oisin Murphy. The 5yo mare has been resurgent since Murphy obtained the ride, landing the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and then looking a trifle unlucky in running when fourth in the Irish Champion Stakes, won by Magical. She didn’t do much wrong behind the same filly in the Champion Stakes and goes to post with high hopes of avenging last year’s defeat in this by Glorious Forever.

DEIRDRE and Oisin Murphy
DEIRDRE and Oisin Murphy

Christophe Soumillon’s mount LUCKY LILAC has form that ties in closely with Almond Eye and Win Bright. The chestnut has worked in a hood and appears keen enough, although there is no doubting her ability. That was confirmed when with Soumillon in the saddle for the first time she captured the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto.

GLORY VASE has graduated out of handicaps this year and looks to have it all to do, as does the Kranji Mile winner SOUTHERN LEGEND. EAGLE WAY seems to have gone backwards while HO HO KHAN needs to find something, but against that the European challenge is potentially intoxicating.

It’s rare that an Investec Derby winner comes here but ANTHONY VAN DYCK is not doing so as an afterthought. Things didn’t go to plan with Aidan O’Brien’s colt after Epsom as he hated the testing ground at King George and was making up for lost time when third in both the Irish Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf. He worked nicely in a pair of blinkers on Thursday and has room for further improvement.

His stablemate MOUNT EVEREST is an improving stayer but might find this a bridge too soon, while the William Haggas-trained YOUNG RASCAL has looked a Group 3 horse and is in new territory, upped in class.

ASPETAR has been keen in his work, often jig jogging and showing a jaunty demeanour on the training track. His astute trainer Roger Charlton has freshened him up, giving him a 10-week gap from a tidy victory in a Group 1 at Cologne.

PRINCE OF ARRAN failed to cut the mustard in last year’s Vase but is at his best at this time of year as his second consecutive place finish in the Melbourne Cup together with a win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup testifies.

TRUE SELF followed him home in the Geelong before winning a Group 3 at Flemington while the French raider CALLED TO THE BAR has two Group 3's and a Group 2 to his name and is a strong stayer with the game plan to set the pace if he wishes.

Prediction

1st LUCKY LILAC

2nd Deirdre

3rd Exultant

4th Anthony Van Dyck

5th Called To The Bar

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Hong Kong Sprint (Group 1) 


NO Southern Hemisphere-bred three-year-old has prevailed in the Sprint but the book points to the giant AETHERO breaking that trend for trainer John Moore and Jockey Zac Purton. Unbeaten in three starts at two, the gelding has attained an air of invincibility this year by lowering the track record for 1200 metres and latterly putting up a sensational performance to win the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint in which he trounced Hot King Prawn. He received a healthy weight concession and can look forward to that luxury again, granted he can draw a 9lb allowance. Purton has wrested the mount from Karis Teeton and is all too aware that this juggernaut of a horse must break cleanly and race up with the pace from the get-go.

If there is a sprinter capable of taking down this new kid on the sprinting block then either BEAT THE CLOCK or HOT KING PRAWN are the most likely to achieve it. The reigning champion sprinter in Hong Kong, Beat The Clock has bagged the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and the Centenary Sprint Cup and has never finished out of the first three in 22 career starts. Joao Moreira’s mount ran on into third behind Aethero in the Jockey Club Sprint and is as reliable as a Swiss watch. He is therefore in a good spot to take advantage should the favourite fluff his lines.

Hot King Prawn failed to menace when all the rage for the corresponding race in 2018, finishing only ninth to MR STUNNING. There might have been genuine excuses for him as he didn’t run for the remainder of the season and underwent colic surgery. It was therefore much to his credit that he was able to chase home Aethero in the Jockey Club Sprint. He will be looking for the lead or a handy position at the very least.

Mr Stunning is shooting for a hat-trick in this race but might not be quite razor-sharp following time off with a stress fracture. This is in spite of an encouraging first run back when eighth in the Jockey Club Sprint.

Another local hope with serious claims is D B PIN who has finished second in the race for the last two years. He is a pea out of the same pod as Mr Stunning, coming off the injury list to post a fine sixth placing in the Jockey Club Sprint. John Size has booked Ryan Moore for the mount.

IVICTORY usurped the recognised top sprinters in the April Group 1 of last year and went on to claim the champion sprinter accolade, but the latest evidence is that he’s nowhere near the same horse, while LITTLE GIANT landed the Group 1 Centenary Sprint Cup after posting a fourth placing in this last year. However, he was never better than at that time and disappointed in the Jockey Club Sprint on his latest start.

Prediction

1st BEAT THE CLOCK

2nd Aethero

3rd Hot King Prawn

4th D B Pin

5th Mr Stunning

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