All eyes on Sunday morning will be on Sha Tin as some of the protagonists for Champions Day on April 26th go through their final dress rehearsal for the big day. Beauty Generation, Waikuku and star sprinter Aethero are just some of the names in action on the track as Hong Kong’s biggest names build up to one of their biggest days of the season.
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Sha Tin 6:45am Beauty Generation
A fascinating tactical battle is the key to the first of today’s twin features, the Chairman’s Trophy, which acts as the main prep for the Champions Mile.
Beauty Generation and Waikuku renew their rivalry with the score currently 4-1 to Waikuku. The sole victory for Beauty Generation came on Waikuku’s seasonal reappearance and since then it’s been one-way traffic.
I’m in no doubt as to who the better horse is at this stage of their careers and would even go as far as saying Waikuku on his day is one of the best milers in the world currently (if not the best).
Sunday morning’s contest could be one final fairytale for Beauty Generation, with the horse likely to retire at the end of the month. They key to the race is likely to be a change of rider.
Ka Ying Star previously battled with Beauty Generation for the lead, but with Chad Schofield now on board, he’s far more likely to sit off the leader.
This, Waikuku’s lack of fitness (just had 10 weeks off) and the fact he is undoubtably at his best with a strong pace to run at, gives Beauty Generation the best chance he’ll ever have to notch a second win against his old rival.
Sha Tin 9:10am Thanks Forever
The second of the Group 2 contests on the card is for the sprinters and sees the return of one of the most exciting horses on the planet, the John Moore-trained Aethero.
In the lead up to the Hong Kong international meeting in December, he turned heads with his demolition of a Group 1 standard field on his first real test outside of his own age group.
However, on the big day he was collared late on and was reported to have been suffering from a fever. Absent since then and sure to be working back form the Chairman’s Sprint in three weeks time, he looks opposable under these circumstances.
Hot King Prawn is without question his biggest rival and is sure to take some beating, but it could be worth taking on both of them with Aethero’s stablemate, Thanks Forever.
He’s a horse who has started slowly and rattled home on more than one occasion including when doing just that and finishing a half length off Hot King Prawn on his last start.
Despite not getting his head in front in his last six starts, the penny looks to be dropping.
The pace Aethero is likely to inject into this will suit him more than most.
Sha Tin 9:40am El Jefe
A decent-sized field go to post for this 6f handicap that revolves around El Jefe and Dublin Star.
Zac Purton and Joao Moreira are in the heat of battle for the title of champion jockey and El Jefe (Purton) and Dublin Star (Moreira) clashed a couple of months ago with El Jefe impressively mowing down his rival in receipt of 4 lbs.
Despite being 5 lbs worse off now, there’s enough to suggest El Jefe will hold him off again. Dublin Star looked a little awkward that day and on a subsequent run when acting up in the stalls.
He was very unlucky in not getting a run late then and is improving with every start. I just couldn’t entertain him at his likely price given his profile. With Moreira on board, you can be certain the market won’t miss him!
El Jefe was the only winner to come from the back off the pack the day he won and looked value for his win – despite Dublin Star running very green late on.
With the market likely to move against him – El Jefe is a standout bet in this field.
Sha Tin 10:15am – Ping Hai Bravo
To be blunt, this is a poor race for the grade and the penultimate race on the card looks to have a fairly straightforward look to it, where Ping Hai Bravo sets a clear standard.
He’s still an unexposed sort, having only raced for the first time in January this year and made light work of a similar field here a fortnight ago off a featherweight. It’s going to take a lot more than a 7lb hike in the ratings to stop him on Sunday.
He’s not drawn too wide, has the right man on board in championship leader Joao Moreira and will take a lot of beating.