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Davis Files: Race Review of Sha Tin - 6th July 2024

3 minute read

Brett Davis provides exclusive Review of Sha Tin races.


Race 1 – The Purves Quaich (Plate), HK $950,000

Griffin – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:09.65 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class record: 1:08.47 California Spangle

SANTORINI (IRE 3yo g Kodiac – Folegandros Island) scored his maiden victory in the opening event, but it wasn't without controversy. The three-year-old landed in a handy position under Karis Teetan, jumping well off the inside barrier and sitting on the back of the leader. The leader set a solid tempo through the middle stages, with Teetan having the run of the race in third position throughout the event, with the Mauritian hoop just needing a touch of luck turning for home. The leader kicked strongly which gave Teetan enough space to improve beneath rivals early in the straight before popping off heels with 150m to run and gobbling up the leader. There were a few rivals chasing, but the John Size-trained gelding had enough in the tank to hold on for his first victory, scoring in a photo finish and surviving a protest in the Stewards' room post-race. KARATE EXPRESS was a little slow into stride and ended up in a midfield position under Lyle Hewitson, taking up a position on the back of eventual winner Santorini. After enjoying a lovely run throughout the race, Hewitson needed plenty of luck on straightening if he was going to have his chance at victory. The South African jockey had to wait for the gaps to appear, and then was chopped off by Santorini with 150m remaining as the eventual winner got into the clear. Karate Express rocketed home once he finally obtained clear air, but was drifting out badly over the concluding stages, possibly costing himself the race as he went under by a short head. Hewitson fired in a protest trying to overturn the result, but the protest was overruled, and the placings remained the same. CALIFORNIA BANNER rocketed home from last in running to finish in third position, beaten a half-length at a massive $138 starting price.

Race 2 – The Swaine Cup (Handicap), HK $875,000

Class 5 – All Weather - Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.79 Standard Time: 1:09.10 Course/Class record: 1:08.46 Trillion Treasure

Cody Mo brought up his 19th winner of his debut season with SONIC BOOM (AUS 3yo g Better Than Ready – Lune Rouge) shedding the maiden tag. Matthew Chadwick was stranded out wide in the early stages, sitting three-deep and without cover as they sorted their order out with the local hoop sitting just off the speed as they sorted their order out. He was then forced four-wide around the turn as runners on his inside began to build into the race, with Chadwick sitting patiently aboard the three-year-old, holding him together around the home turn. He was spotting the leader 2-3/4 lengths on straightening, but the gelding quickened impressively when asked and moved up to join the leaders with a furlong to run. The three-year-old's run didn't stop there, as he sustained his effort to take control with around 100m remaining and despite his tough run in transit, he fought off all challengers to win by a half-length on the line. EASY TWO was charging late after sitting about midfield for Matthew Poon. With a good tempo on offer, Poon was able to slot into a midfield position from the outside alley, getting a nice trail into the race on the back of a solid tempo. Instead of tracking the eventual winner into the event, Poon tried to sneak through gaps on straightening, and those gaps closed at crucial stages in the straight. The local hoop was forced to go back and around Sonic Boom, making a late run at the leader, but it was too little, too late. SPEEDY FORTUNE jumped the race favourite for Zac Purton and persisted with an inside run right down the straight after sitting on the back of the leader in running. It was a tight squeeze early in the straight, but he closed off well once Purton finally squeezed through. He was beaten by horses with the momentum down the outside.

Race 3 – The Wong Cup (Handicap), HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 1600m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:34.69 Standard Time: 1:35.45 Course/Class record: 1:34.38 Le Panache

SMART BEAUTY (IRE 5yo g Dark Angel – Layla Jamil) scored his fourth win for the season as he held on to win by a nose for Zac Purton and Tony Cruz. After being away on terms, Purton landed in midfield position from his inside alley with a solid tempo being set up front. While the speed was good early, the tempo came out of the race around the turn as the field bunched up and Purton found himself in a tricky position with 600m remaining. The Australian hoop was looking to pick his way through the traffic as the gaps began to open and close in front of him early in the straight. Purton pushed his way back to the inside part of the track where he was able to finally get clear air and set out after the leader who had broken clear with a furlong to run. The race favourite got to work, with the grey fellow digging in over the concluding stages to get his nose down on the wire and take the win in a close photo finish. DIAMOND WINNER settled near the tail of the field under Ben Thompson after being taken back from the middle draw. He travelled comfortably in the run, but approaching the home turn the gelding came under heavy pressure with Thompson trying to hold his position along the inside. The field fanned across the track on straightening which allowed Thompson to continue his foray up the rail, sliding underneath his opponents. Inside the 300m point, the leader wobbled away from the inside rail, leaving the door wide open for Diamond Winner to continue his run. He moved up to join the leader with 100m remaining and held the lead momentarily with 50m remaining. He was overtaken right on the post though, being beaten by a bob of the head after jumping a $47 chance. CHARMANDER hung in there strongly over the closing stages. The gelding was wobbling about out in front under pressure but fought strongly when rivals loomed up to him late in the race. He finished a clear third, only a half-length off the winner.

Race 4 – The Li Cup (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – All Weather - Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:08.94 Standard Time: 1:08.85 Course/Class record: 1:08.14 Happy Tour

It was an upset in the fourth event of the day with SHANGHAI STYLE (NZ 3yo g Belardo – Cantata) bringing up his maiden victory as a $53 chance. The gelding wasn't the fastest away from barrier one and Alfie Chan roused the gelding along to hold out his rivals and lead the field on settling down. The pace was good throughout the race and as they swung into the straight, Chan had broken a length clear with his rivals off the bit and chasing. The lead extended early in the straight with Chan still having a strong hold of the gelding, leading by a couple of lengths early on. The three-year-old just kept on running when the local hoop finally pressed the button, holding his advantage and winning by two lengths on the line. HINOKAMI KAGURA jumped well from a sticky alley but drifted back under Harry Bentley to try and slot into the running line. The pair ended up midfield and one off the rail as they travelled through the middle stages and Bentley got a lovely run into the straight as runners began to peel wide heading for home. The gelding stuck on gamely down the centre of the track, sticking his nose into second position in the shadows of the post. CRAZY TREASURE peeled wide turning for home and kept on well to the line, with Hinokami Kagura coming off his back to steal second close to the line.

Race 5 – The Arculli Trophy (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:08.64 Standard Time: 1:09.40 Course/Class record: 1:08.40 Master Eight

Zac Purton and Jamie Richards combined with COURIER ALADDIN (NZ 3yo g Satono Aladdin – Wanaka Dream), who began his career on a winning note. The debutant got away on terms and landed in a midfield position with a hot tempo being set early on. Purton found himself 5-3/4 lengths off the leader as they turned off the back straight with the two leaders still cutting at each other around the turn. Purton crept closer with around 600m remaining to be a touch closer on straightening but was still four lengths off the leaders as they entered the straight. The Australian gave his mount plenty of clear air right down the outside as he set out after the tiring leaders in the straight. The three-year-old stuck to the task bravely, eventually taking the lead with 50m remaining and scoring his first victory by three-quarters of-a-length. KING OBERON had tracked the eventual winner throughout the event and Lyle Hewitson continued to follow him into the straight. Hewitson ended up down the crown of the track aboard King Oberon and the gelding had his chance to win if he was good enough. He stuck on well to the line, but he wasn't making any ground on Courier Aladdin. FUN N FUN TOGETHER was one of the pace setters up front with Vincent Ho burning along at breakneck speed. He took the lead shortly after straightening and was in front for a long way, but eventually succumbed to the hot early speed and tired to finish third, beaten a length. Ho told Stewards he attempted to restrain the gelding when taken on out in front, but Fun N Fun Together raced too keenly, thus setting up the hot tempo.

Race 6 – The Chan Trophy (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1600m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:34.00 Standard Time: 1:35.00 Course/Class record: 1:33.78 Morethanlucky

Mark Newnham continued his successful partnership with Luke Ferraris in race six, with the pair joining forces successfully once more with MISSION VOICE (AUS 3yo g Vancouver – Jive Talk). Ferraris urged the gelding along from his wide draw, shooting across to take the lead shortly after the start. The South African hoop didn't have it all his own way out in front, being challenged on a couple of occasions down the back stretch, but the gelding had enough speed to hold his position out in front. Once he got control out in front, Ferraris was able to stack them up turning off the back straight before gradually ramping up the tempo around the turn. He had plenty of his rivals chasing as they swung for home, as Mission Voice kicked strongly on straightening to break away from the chasing pack. He was over a length in front with 200m remaining and while there was a rival making a late challenge, the three-year-old had enough gas in the tank to win by a neck. CHATER GOLD settled midfield from a favourable draw but ended up in a sticky position as the field packed up turning off the back. Harry Bentley was shuffled back through the field around the home turn and the Englishman was forced back to the inside where the rail opened right up for Chater Gold to make his challenge. He came home with a wet sail over the concluding stages, but he was unable to reel in Mission Voice. SUPER UNICORN settled on the back of the leader and had his chance to win the race as he peeled out at the top of the straight. He just bumped into a couple better on the day, ending up 1-3/4 lengths off the winner.

Race 7 – The Stevenson Cup (Handicap), HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.40 Standard Time: 1:21.80 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

After going over two years between victories, BEAUTY FIT (AUS 7yo g Ilovethiscity – Feesforus) now has two wins from his last five outings. Hugh Bowman put the gelding in a handy position right after the jump, settling just off the speed. As they sorted their order out, Bowman tracked up to settle on the back of the leader around the home turn and the Australian jockey had plenty of room to move as they swung into the straight. Bowman continued to follow the leader along the inside early in the straight, with the gelding working through his gears passing the furlong pole. Bowman switched Beauty Fit off heels with 100m remaining and the gelding shot through, gobbling up the leader inside the final 50m and winning easily on the line by a half-length. HASTEN DELIGHT jumped quickly and worked across to take up the running with ease as they turned off the back straight. Luke Ferraris allowed his mount to get a breather through the middle stages, stacking up the field around the turn before quickening strongly at the top of the straight. Hasten Delight kicked well and was clear of his rivals with 150m left to run, but he was unable to fend off the late challenge of Beauty Fit. SUNLIGHT POWER made a strong run from the back of the field, catching the eye in his late surge to finish in third position.

Race 8 – The Ip Jug (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.18 Standard Time: 1:22.10 Course/Class record: 1:20.80 Perfect Pair

Ben Thompson scored his seventh win in his first term in Hong Kong with BALLISTIC WIN (NZ 3yo g Ace High – Toy Story) storming over the top to win comfortably. The gelding was a little slow into stride and ended up in the second half of the field on settling down. Thompson was along the inside rail as they turned off the back straight with a solid tempo being set through the middle stages, with the opportunity to get off the inside rail with around 600m remaining. Thompson summed up the situation well, continuing to track wide with cover around the home turn and building into the race strongly as he ended up down the middle of the track in the straight. The gelding wound up strongly down the outside, chewing into the margin with every stride to hit the front inside the final 100m. He drew away inside the final stages to win by 1-1/4 lengths in very impressive fashion. MASTER OF ALL surged forward from a wide alley to take up the running at a strong tempo under Keith Yeung. Once he got to the front, the local hoop kept the field running and kicked clear at the top of the straight in impressive fashion. He had all the horses close to the inside beaten with 200m to run, but it was Ballistic Win down the outside that was the one to spoil the party. He lost no admirers in a brilliant effort out in front. ENJOY GOLF chased strongly down the stretch but bumped into a couple better on the day.

Race 9 – The Chow Silver Plate (Handicap), HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1400m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:21.11 Standard Time: 1:21.80 Course/Class record: 1:20.62 Preciousship

KING MILES (AUS 3yo g Exceed And Excel – Epitomise) continued to build on his impressive record with another victory, his third from his past 4 starts. Vincent Ho didn't have to do too much work off the inside alley, with the gelding jumping well and putting himself just off the speed. The local hoop travelled comfortably throughout the event and approaching the home turn, the seas parted for the three-year-old. As they swung for home, Ho was able to get off the inside, across heels and into the clear at the top of the straight, with the gelding moving up to hit the front with 300m remaining. He was floating about in front, not putting his rivals away as it looked like he would when he took the lead, but when the fight came to him, he was up for the challenge. He found that little bit extra when required, holding his rivals at bay and scoring by a half-length on the line. THE WINNABE was slowly into stride and ended up near the tail of the field on settling down under Hugh Bowman. The $1.60 favourite was a long way off the lead as they turned off the back straight, but the Australian hoop was able to improve his position with the field packing up on the home turn. Bowman gave his mount plenty of clear air on straightening and the $1.60 favourite had his chance if he was good enough, looking large on the outside of King Miles with 100m to run. The Winnabe was unable to catch the leader though, falling a half-length short. GRACIOUS EXPRESS stuck on well after sitting close to the speed in running.

Race 10 – The Philip Chen Trophy (Handicap), HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good to Firm

Time: 1:08.61 Standard Time: 1:09.05 Course/Class record: 1:08.11 Victor The Winner

Lyle Hewitson handed Mark Newnham a winning double on the day as FULL CREDIT (AUS 3yo g Va Pansiero – Ready To Impress) made it back-to-back wins. The gelding jumped well from barrier three and burrowed through to hold the lead as they turned off the back straight. He was setting a solid tempo out in front, but led by a length with 600m remaining and was able to hold that advantage as they swung into the straight. The gelding was travelling sweetly early in the straight and kicked strongly when Hewitson asked for an effort. He was still a length in front with 100m to run and never looked like being run down in the closing stages, with Full Credit making every post a winner. POLARIS had his chance to get the job done after slotting in on the back of the leader in running. Matthew Chadwick gave the gelding a great steer, sticking to the inside rail on straightening as the leader wobbled away from the paint on straightening. The gelding always had enough room to slide through if he was good enough, but he only began to make ground very late in the race with the leader tiring. He narrowed the margin back to a half-length on the line, but the winner was just too good. CAPTAIN WIN caught the eye late as he tends to do, closing off strongly from beyond midfield to finish in third.

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