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Brett Davis provides exclusive preview of Sha Tin races.
"CHINESE NEW YEAR RACE DAY"(Year Of The Dragon)
Rail - A Course
#12 GREAT DAYS has done very little in his ten start career but definitely made some headway and improvement through the final 400m of his most recent start.He's since been back to the trials and performed well under race day rider Karis Teetan therefore must be given a chance.What the exact reason for the noted improvement is an intriguing question but I'm tipping its due to the return to Sha Tin.
#4 RATTAN WORLD was the perfect example of an inconsistent class 5 galloper but finally broke through last start for a much anticipated win.He was checked badly on the dirt two starts ago, which warranted excuses, before Zac Purton backed up for another attempt on the turf most recently.The performance was quite strong considering the awkward draw and somewhat chequered passage, so it won't surprise if he goes back to back.
#8 TIMESTORM had excuse at his first run in class 5 after losing his balance during the initial stages of the event.His overall form is suited to the lowest grade because he's totally unreliable and remains a Hong Kong maiden.However, there have been isolated events where he's raced quite well and performed with enough ability to win.He's also shown a liking in the past for this course and trip and with a switch of head gear, from blinkers to a visor, can run well.
#6 SMART LEADER is on the verge of veteran status with this race his seventieth official start.The last time he won was in this grade and his form earlier in the season was certainly on the respectable side.A recent freshen up, after suffering blood in the trachea, has done him the world of good and he's looked sharp in all three lead up trials.Watch out for him over the final 100m.
#7 SWEET DIAMOND ran a cracking race to just go under behind RATTAN WORLD last start and is worthy of consideration.He's a winner in class 4 for this jockey Alexis Badel and over this course and distance, but has unfortunately drawn the outside barrier in gate fourteen.He's tactically adaptable, and it's predicated he'll go forward to race on speed, which also has him slightly vulnerable and a risk of covering ground.
Selections : 12,4,8,6,7
#13 TSUEN WAN GLORY was a nineteen start maiden and one of the lowest rated runners on the program last start but he swooped home powerfully to win.
He'd been extremely honest at his two previous attempts so it wasn't an unexpected result.
He again draw's ideally in gate four, has the tactical speed to position handy, and if he brings that level of intensity and output he'll go close to another win.
#8 NORDIC COMBINED return with a bang when he absolutely destroyed a similar field to this first up at Happy Valley.
He's one of multiple horses racing that was previously trained by Richard Gibson and one of many that can soon win.
He ended up too far back last start before making a long sustained run.The rise up to 1400m shouldn't be a deterrent and the only jockey to win on him jumps back aboard.
#12 SMART BEAUTY was the lowest rated galloper on the entire program two starts ago but has recently turned that ordinary form completely around.With a mid range draw, tactical versatility and claiming rider aboard he remains well placed against this opposition.
He's a low graded galloper that's struggling to save his career but if he puts in early, with the drop back in trip, he could certainly feature prominently again.
#2 BEAT HOLLOW continually displays faultless gate speed and is a difficult runner to pull back in this grade.If given the opportunity to lead here from gate 2, with a 10lb claiming rider aboard, he's going to find a rhythm and potentially set up an unassailable lead.Therefore, he's extremely difficult to take on despite the rise in distance and must be included in all calculations.
#9 DRAGON DELIGHT found the line quite nicely at his first attempt in class 5 before a mediocre effort most recently.
He'll secure a good run in the race with Karis Teetan aboard but the negative is he rises significantly in weight.
Nevertheless, he continues to work well during morning gallops and has been competitive in much harder races.
Selections : 13,8,12,2,9
R3 - 6,3,2,12,1
R4 - 2,1,11,3,10
R5 - 4,7,2,1,12
R6 - 7,6,3,8,9
R7 - 4,3,8,2,12
"CHINESE NEW YEAR CUP" (Class 1 - 1400m - Hcp)
#6 MUGEN is the inform runner in the days feature contest and should measure up to the rise in class.With only a small field on offer he can settle closer to the leaders and in the process have minimal ground to make up.His sectional data last start is comparable to what any of today's opponents have to offer, so with a 10lb pull at the weights he's expected to sail on bye.
#4 RED LION ran an excellent race first up but has dropped back a level in his following three starts.He's over raced, found trouble and also drawn awkwardly in the aforementioned runs, so excuses are relevant, but he must find more if he's to start winning again.Zac Purton aboard from an ideal draw is going to help, but the key to his improvement today is relief at the weights.
#2 DUKE WAI is still racing with great enthusiasm and the addition of pacifier's for the first time is an interesting change.He's competed at the highest level for most of the season and should therefore appreciate the drop in class.The 5lb apprentice allowance is also a sizeable advantage which can come in to play when the race is there to be won.
#1 COURIER WONDER is the highest rated galloper for a reason and shouldn't be underestimated despite his poor reading form first up.He's suffered ongoing issues with his left fore over the past six months, but the signs during lead up track work are indicating a fully recovery.He continues building a fitness base for the new stable of Mark Newnham and can certainly run a strong race.
#5 RUNNING GLORY has his first start for the David Hayes stable after a six week transitional break.Course and distance, along with class, are no real issue for this ultra consistent galloper and the blinkers going on should ensure he's sharp.His trial leading in was quiet, however, I'd take that with a pinch of salt and expect him to run his normal honest race.
Selections : 6,4,2,1,5
R9 - 5,8,12,1,7
R10 - 5,13,3,2,4
R11 - 1,13,7,5,6