Sha Tin – Race 4 – Longines Hong Kong Vase (G1) – 2,400 metres, Turf
Is #11 THE FUGUE the best horse in the race – on form, yes. Will she win this? We don’t think so. #1 RED CADEAUX and #2 DUNADEN, the last two winners of this, are back again, and wildly dangerous. Both have had success since, on various surfaces, and are banner cases of how amazing this game can be when you have versatile, durable superstars. Both have done nothing this week in trackwork to think they aren’t right. Game on.
#5 MOUNT ATHOS ran a credible third in the Melbourne Cup…but is he a Group 1 horse over 2,400? For that matter, is anyone in here really of the extreme upper echelon? Don’t forget, a wildly over-the-hill Jaguar Mail was beaten a short space by Red Cadeaux last year…that either could turn you on to #9 ASUKA KURICHAN, or suggest this race is otherwise wide open.
What about #6 SEISMOS. He deserves consideration off his wide, and slightly bipolar third in the Canadian International, where he was slow away, rushed mid-race, and then first off the bridle before deciding he could stay on against horse-for-course Joshua Tree. He covered more than 40 feet wider than that horse, and was beaten a smaller margin. He’s extreme value, especially on the domestic, HK tote.
We are likely to back Seismos locally, but at the end of the day, Red Cadeaux gives us no reason to go against him in the on-top position.
1st – #1 RED CADEAUX, 2nd – #6 SEISMOS, 3rd – #11 THE FUGUE, 4th – #2 DUNADEN
Sha Tin – Race 5 – Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1) – 1,200 metres – Turf
This race stops and starts with #1 LORD KANALOA, who has looked perfection throughout the week. His form is right, the course is right. Granted, he has a wider draw than he did last year, and could cover some extra ground, but we think it’s OK. He just seems to tower over this field. All systems go.
#6 SLADE POWER has looked well, also, and along with #9 FREDERICK ENGELS, offers value which interests us. #2 LUCKY NINE is the best of the locals, but #9 FREDERICK ENGELS offers the best local value, with the former back from a stint in Australia. #14 JWALA is the one to catch from the extreme outside, and might be slightly compromised to push hard early and tuck in while winging on the front. Outside of the top pick, there might be nine horses within two lengths of each other at the finish. The only problem is that we project that group to be another two lengths clear of Lord Kanaloa.
1st – #1 LORD KANALOA, 2nd – #6 SLADE POWER, 3rd – #2 LUCKY NINE, 4th – #14 JWALA
Sha Tin – Race 7 – Longines Hong Kong Mile – 1,600 metres – Turf
#6 HELENE SPIRIT and #11 KING KREESA are expected to go forward, and #4 DAN EXCEL, second in Singapore’s 2,000 metre feature, should track them. #5 GOLD-FUN, a winner of his three most recent runs locally in top company, gets the garden trip behind them, and should be first to really pounce. If the top two go blazing away, it could set up for #14 SKY LANTERN, or a local bomber, #9 REAL SPECIALIST, but you can’t ignored favoured #13 MOONLIGHT CLOUD, who comes with question marks.
Some trainers I respect immensely think she looked awful on Saturday morning in her final gallop, and we readily admit no eye to their appearance. She looked fine to us, but we don’t spend our days in the barn. Her worst career performance came outside of Europe…it makes it dangerous to get too excited about her chances, and at 6-4 or shorter, pass.
This is about the trip, and while four consecutive in top company seems tough, Gold-Fun is for us.
1st – #5 GOLD-FUN, 2nd – #9 REAL SPECIALIST, 3rd – #13 MOONLIGHT CLOUD, 4th – #14 SKY LANTERN
Sha Tin – Race 8 – Longines Hong Kong Cup – 2,000 metres, Turf
Here are the horses we think can win this classic event – #1 MILITARY ATTACK, #2 CIRRUS DES AIGLES, #3 LITTLE MIKE, #4 AKEED MOFEED. That’s it. Cirrus Des Aigles has been far from his best in HK, and we tend to believe he needs softer going than he’ll get – this course has been VERY firm this week. Rumblings on course from the locals in the know is that Military Attack is not back to 100% and would ideally need another race. That leaves Little Mike and Akeed Mofeed. While our patriotism would have us think Little Mike is a pick (and probably is indeed worth backing on the local tote at a big price), Akeed Mofeed is our official on-top selection.
He was no less than two-wide the trip behind a fast pace in the local prep for this, and wider than that at stages, covering plenty of extra ground relative to winner Endowing. Both Akeed Mofeed and Endowing are expecting to get reverse trips – the former a more ground-saving journey, while the latter covers extra ground. Favour to Akeed Mofeed. Now, if #8 TOKEI HALO breaks well and goes forward challenging Little Mike, and they go a solid clip, then it could setup for Akeed Mofeed. Should the pace not be near as hot as the local prep, then it’s wide open for one of these two front runners to manage, with Little Mike our preference.
We think the pace is legitimate, and Little Mike is the horse to catch, gapping two lengths on the field with 400 to go. Akeed Mofeed catches him.
1st – #4 AKEED MOFEED, 2nd – #1 MILITARY ATTACK, 3rd – #3 LITTLE MIKE, 2nd – #9 SIDE GLANCE