The first of the Group 1 action is the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, where eight of the 11 runners contested the Group 2 Sprint Cup three weeks ago over C&D. On that occasion, Voyage Warrior was a surprise winner but there was nothing fluky about his performance. He represents Ricky Yiu, who continues to lead the trainer’s standings and has four winners in the last week alone. The worry is that from stall 10, can he find his way across to lead?
If there was an unlucky loser in the Sprint Cup, then HOT KING PRAWN can be considered somewhat unfortunate. He was held up over 300m out and only beaten ¾ length in the end. He’s by far the most consistent in the field, with six placed efforts from six runs this season and three of those were in Group 1’s. He’s in stall one and ‘The Magic Man’ Joao Moreira once again takes the mount. He’s got a great chance of breaking his Group 1 duck here.
While Fantastic Show did us a turn two weeks ago, it’s just impossible to get away from WELLINGTON here. Richard Gibson’s three-year-old has been nothing but sublime in his three runs to date and won hard-held on the bridle over 1200m five weeks ago.
The step up to 1400m is sure to suit him even better and while he has to give weight all round, he is a Group horse running in a handicap. Fantastic Show is bidding for the four-timer too but there’s no getting away from Wellington. He’s the Nap on the card.
It’s the Champions Mile over 1600m and all roads will surely lead to BEAUTY GENERATION, one of the most prolific horses in Hong Kong. His consistency is second to none with every one of his 23 races being at Group level, 16 of which he’s won. He comes here having won his last two starts and in the Chairman’s Trophy three weeks ago, he looked as good as ever.
The obvious danger is Waikuku, who’s beaten Beauty Generation in both the Stewards’ Cup and the Jockey Club Mile. However, he since flopped against that rival earlier this month. It’s got to be Beauty Generation as he bids for a third Champions Mile over his perfect trip.
The featured FWD QEII Cup has just seven runners but trainer Tony Cruz saddles three of those. Those include Time Warp and Exultant, which finished 1st and 2nd in the City Hong Kong Gold Cup. Joao Moreira was at his brilliant best that day making all on board Time Warp and while Exultant finished a staying-on second, there were no excuses. It’s hard to split those two so given the discrepancy in prices, TIME WARP must be excellent value to hold the form.
Don’t discount Glorious Dragon of running a big race at a huge price either. He was hugely unlucky when Ryan Moore was on board last time out and he was also very unfortunate when finishing a staying-on second to Exultant in January. Yes, it’s a big step up in class but this small runner field will suit him.
Quite a number of these contested a similar contest four weeks ago, when Shining Ace beat Computer Patch and Transcendent. On that occasion, Joao Moreira displayed a marvellous front running ride on Shining Ace so it has to be worth noting that ‘The Magic Man’ has opted to partner COMPUTER PATCH here.
The latter was given too much to do on that aforementioned start and he now meets the winner on 6lbs better terms. Moreira is the go-to man on days like this and this should be a tip in itself. If you’re looking for something at a price, then Water Diviner was a staying-on fifth in that same race four weeks ago and might represent value.
- 07:50 RACE 5 – HOT KING PRAWN
- 08:25 RACE 6 – WELLINGTON (NAP)
- 09:00 RACE 7 – BEAUTY GENERATION
- 09:40 RACE 8 – TIME WARP
- 10:15 RACE 9 – COMPUTER PATCH (NB)