Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: International Racing: Sha Tin (Turf) – 1 January 2020

International Racing: Sha Tin (Turf) – 1 January 2020

Jockeys ride horses


It’s the first meeting of 2020 and we have some intriguing racing to look forward to. Headlined by the Group 3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup (Handicap) over 1400m in race 7, a small field of 8 competitors go to post and there are plenty with chances.


The best bet comes in the 4th race on the card, where LEAP OF FAITH has his third start after two impressive efforts to date. He looks tough to oppose with Purton up and should win for his connections. SEATTLE CHOICE lines up in the 9th race, after an impressive local debut last time out. He still has more to come and from an improved draw this time, he could just pull it off.

Best Bet: LEAP OF FAITH (Race 4)
Value Bet: SEATTLE CHOICE (Race 9)

Race
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
1
11
4
6
9
3
2
3
6
8
1
12
3
1
6
5
2
8
4
3
9
6
8
2
5
4
11
6
1
13
6
6
3
5
1
10
7
1
2
8
4
5
8
8
2
5
6
7
9
7
1
4
12
14
10
14
9
12
2
3

Race 1 – 06:15 – Class 4 – 1200m
Selections: 11 – 4 – 6 – 9 – 3
NICE KICK has returned this term with good intent, having gone right into contention in his last three starts. He did well to overcome a tricky barrier draw last time when making good progress over the final two furlongs and proving that he is a big contender off his current mark of 48. Sylvestre de Sousa grabs the mount from a better draw this time and on his current form, he rates a big runner here. COLONEL gave a useful account of himself first up when boxing on well for a respectable third. That was over the minimum trip and he lands a handy draw for this effort around the bend. The extra furlong should suit and with natural improvement to come, he must be included. IRON BOY has found some good competitive form in his last two starts and his in-form conditioner will be looking to add to his impressive record this term. Drawn well, he is back at his preferred Sha Tin circuit and with Teetan doing duty in the irons, he looks a big contender here. EL JEFE has finished just off them in his two starts to date and he will have scope for plenty more improvement. From a decent barrier, he deserves respect.

Race 2 – 06:45 – Class 5 – 1800m
Selections: 3 – 6 – 8 – 1 – 12
CHAPPARAL STAR has clearly enjoyed competing at this lesser level, since dropping in class in his last two starts. He relished stepping back up to this trip last time out when producing one of his best performances of late and he looks a major threat with Purton up. REEVE’S MUNTJAC finished just behind the top selection last time, confirming his preference for this trip, having won over the same course and distance in his penultimate start. Joao Moreira takes the mount this time and if ridden a bit more patiently, he will be involved in the finish. VICTORIOUS SEEKER is slipping in the ratings and he is improving with every run. He found late traffic last time out and would’ve finished a lot closer had he found a bit more luck in running. That was from the same recent form line as the top two selections and from an improved draw this time, KC Leung retains the ride and he must be included. AMAZING AGILITY is a class dropper, on the back of some reasonable form in Class 4 company. He has slipped 10 pounds in the ratings in his last five starts and with this being his first outing in Class 5 company, he’ll be looking to make a big impression here. Grant van Niekerk takes the mount and over this sort of trip, it is worth including the son of King’s Best.

Race 3 – 07:15 – Class 3 – 1200m
Selections: 1 – 6 – 5 – 2 – 8
INVINCIBLE MISSILE has a better draw this time, after finding no luck in running from barrier 13 last time. He has a solid record over this course and distance, so he will relish dropping back to the 6-furlongs and Zac Purton is an attractive jockey booking. He last won over this course and distance and that was just four starts back. On his form before his latest effort, he should just about win this. SUPER WEALTHY found support in the betting on his local debut and he did everything but win. That effort came over this course and distance and he finds a slightly wider draw this time. With that said, the son of Epaulette will just need a well-judged ride from the retaining rider and he should go right into contention. TOTAL POWER gave a decent account of himself on his local debut and he now makes his Sha Tin debut over the same trip. He lands a very handy draw and with plenty of natural progression to come, he will be looking to make a bigger impression here. He brings a very consistent international record to the fray and he cannot be discounted here. LOCKHEED has slipped in the ratings and he is starting to show promising signs of a big run. He is still a maiden in Hong Kong after 19 attempts, but off his current mark of 75 he looks well handicapped. Moreira jumps aboard the son of Exceed and Excel for the third time and despite facing barrier 9, he must be included with another big run expected.

Race 4 – 07:45 – Class 4 – 1600m
Selections: 3 – 9 – 6 – 8 – 2
LEAP OF FAITH has had a solid introduction to racing, with two good efforts over the 1400m. He lands a useful draw for this step up to the mile and the son of Sebring gets the services of Zac Purton for his third career outing. With plenty of improvement to come, he looks tough to oppose here. JOY MASTER has enjoyed the recent step up in trip to the mile, having not missed the first three places in his three attempts so far. All three runs have come at Sha Tin and he appears to have taken the recent rise to this class in his stride. The 10-pound claiming Chan jumps back aboard and with the weight off his back, he should be involved in the finish. WOOD ON FIRE has also had a reasonable start to his career and he has been right there in all three efforts so far. When one considers how much traffic he has encountered in his last two starts, he may have gone a lot closer. The son of Per Incanto should relish the extra ground here and with Moreira retaining, he must be included. WITNESS HUNTER finished right behind the second selection last time out, when overcoming a tricky draw. He lands pole position this time, but lines up 7-pounds worse off with the latter. With that said, Karis Teetan retains the ride and he is worth including.

Race 5 – 08:15 – Class 4 – 1400m
Selections: 4 – 11 – 6 – 1 – 13
BETTER CHOICE has dropped a further 5-pounds since stepping up to this class two starts back and he showed some improvement when rallying late, last time out. He has featured prominently in this class and with this being his second run after a 6-month absence from racing, he should strip a lot fitter here and looks the likely winner. JOYFUL HEART has also dropped in the ratings and he gets the cheek-pieces fitted for the first time. The son of Smart Missile has started to show signs of a big run in his last few outings and with Zac Purton up this time, he should improve on that already decent course and distance record. SHOUSON is yet to win in Hong Kong from 14 outings so far. With that said, he has been knocking on the door for some time now and the son of Star Witness should relish the extra furlong here. With de Sousa retaining the ride, he will be looking to capitalize on that improved draw and must be included. EMERALD SPUR has an impressive record so far and he has plenty of scope for further progression. He clearly enjoys this course and distance and Grant van Niekerk seems to be getting the best out of him, having picked up two victories from three engagements on the son of Super Easy. Drawn 11, he will be looking to come from off the pace and with a bit of luck in running he will be finishing over the top.

Race 6 – 08:50 – Class 2 – 1000m
Selections: 6 – 3 – 5 – 1 – 10
Blink and you might miss them! This speedy Class 2 event is the supporting feature race on the card and it should be a fascinating affair. VOYAGE WARRIOR loves this course and distance and he will enjoy reverting back to the 5-furlongs, where he gave a useful account of himself in his penultimate start. The winner of that race (AETHERO) has gone on to win in Group company and with this being the formers’ peak run after a rest, he should be worth following. YEE CHONG BABY has been right there since stepping up to this class of opposition. He tries the Sha Tin straight course over this 5-furlong stretch for the first time and finds himself drawn on the right side of the course. He has won and placed in both starts over the 1000m and with Purton retaining the ride, he must be included. WATER DIVINER finished just in front of the former in his penultimate start and he followed that up with another good run in his latest. Both of those runs have been over the 6-furlongs, but he has a more than useful record over this minimum trip and deserves plenty of respect. COUNTRY STAR bled in his last start and things clearly didn’t go to plan in his penultimate run either. With five wins and two seconds from ten outings, he is more than useful and with two of those wins coming at this level, he deserves attention. He does return from a 6-month absence and he will likely need this run, but on ability alone, he must be thrown into the equation.

Race 7 – 09:20 – Group 3 The Chinese Club Challenge Cup (Handicap) – 1400m
Selections: 1 – 2 – 8 – 4 – 5
SEASONS BLOOM won his penultimate start in this class and followed that up with a very good run in Group 1 company last time out. Both of those runs were over the 6-furlongs and he’ll now step up an extra furlong, to a trip where he has won twice from five attempts. Purton jumps aboard this time and from a very handy draw, he should be the one to beat. KA YING STAR has been right there in very good company of late. He drops back to a trip where he looks very well suited and the blinkers will be key to his success here. Teetan has opted to side with this son of Cityscape, having ridden both of the top two selections. Drawn well, he will go to the front and could be tough to catch. GOLDEN SIXTY has won 6 from 7 career outings and he now steps’ up to a class where he is an unknown. That said, he has done very little wrong and he has a very respectable record over this trip. With the weight off his back, the son of Medaglia d’Oro deserves plenty of respect and must be included. ENCOURAGING lands an improved draw for this step up in class and he will be looking to continue his good current form here. He is enjoying the change of tactics, having gone handy in his last three starts and Sylvestre de Sousa will be looking to do the same here. From just off the second selection, he will be finishing strongly and is worth considering for wider perms.

Race 8 – 09:50 – Class 3 – 1200m
Selections: 8 – 2 – 5 – 6 – 7
It’s another Zac Purton fancy, but he does look the obvious pick here. LUCKY MORE was a little disappointing last time out, when finding plenty of support in his first attempt in this class. He may have just cost himself and he’ll be out to make amends here. The son of More Than Ready will relish this slight step up in trip and should win this. QUADRUPLE DOUBLE has won his last two starts, with his latest being an impressive victory in this class. He clearly has taken a liking to this course and distance and the trip certainly suits. The 2-pound claiming Poon retains the ride and he must go in once again. GOOD BEAUTY drops back in trip after finishing just off them recently. He lands a plum draw for this outing and Badel takes the mount for this first time. Off his current mark of 72 he should be showing a bit more and one gets the impression that he should land in the winners’ box fairly soon. Both of his wins in Hong Kong have come at this level and he deserves some respect. LONDON LUCKYSTAR showed a fair amount of improvement last time out when reverting to the Turf course at Happy Valley. He overcame a tricky draw in that run and did well to box on and make late headway. Drawn well, Hewitson will be looking to notch up another win quickly having landed his first winner in Hong Kong last Sunday. With natural improvement to come, the son of Holy Roman Emperor should be right there.

Race 9 – 10:25 – Class 3 – 1400m
Selections: 7 – 1 – 4 – 12 – 14
SEATTLE CHOICE is a South African bred son of Sail From Seattle, having his second start in Hong Kong. He gave a good account of himself in his first start here when finishing 1-length behind another South African bred in the form of CUE THE MUSIC. A two-time winner from four starts now, he has plenty more to come. He lands a much-improved draw for this slight step up in trip and with Teetan retaining, he rates a big danger at a decent price. FOLLOW ME is the biggest danger to the top selection. He has been in very good form in his last three starts over this course and distance, landing a win and two fourth-place finishes. From a much-improved draw this time, Joao Moreira retains the ride and he must be included. ASSIMILATE finished right behind the latter last time out and he lines up 6-pounds better off at the weights here. Having finished just 1,75-lengths behind the second selection last time out, he gets the services of Zac Purton this time and his followers will expect him to have big claims for the winners’ enclosure. BEAUTY LOYAL has also been in good consistent form recently. The son of Darci Brahma looks very competitive off his current mark of 65 and he will be looking to repeat that latest run, when boxing on well under a handy galloping weight. He has a useful record over this course and distance and must be included.

Race 10 – 11:00 – Class 3 – 1600m
Selections: 14 – 9 – 12 – 2 – 3
Another South African bred contender gets the nod for first prize on the card, this time in the form of EZRA, who has already had 10 starts here. He enjoyed stepping back up to this trip last time out when boxing on stoutly over the final furlong. The son of Oratorio finds a much tougher draw this time, but Grant van Niekerk will be looking to come from off the pace and with a bit of luck in running he has the form to win. SMART PATCH finished well back last time out, behind the top selection. The margin can be considered flattering to the former, with this son of Hinchinbrook being eased out of the race after finding a wall of horses in front of him at the 350m. He had solid form prior to that and with a line drawn through that latest effort, he has winning credentials here. Purton takes the ride from a good draw and he deserves respect. AMAZING LUCK stems from the same form line mentioned above, having finished right behind the top selection last time out. Yeung takes the mount this time and he will be looking to replicate those front running tactics employed last time out and the son of Sepoy could just hold on here. PACKING WARRIOR finds an improved draw this time, after flashing home from well off the pace in his last start. That was when having the blinkers replaced with the cheek-pieces and Karis Teetan retains the ride here. He has looked a big threat in his last three efforts over this course and distance and if building on any one of those runs, he should be involved in the finish.

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