HONG Kong stages its biggest race meeting of the year at Sha Tin on Sunday and early rising punters in the UK will be treated to a feast of top quality international racing.
The Europeans have sent over a strong party, but they don’t have a runner in the Hong Kong Sprint and the Australian-trained Sea Siren is the 9/4 favourite with Coral after a decent second in the Group One Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington last month.
However, this race has gone to the locals in 10 of the 13 runnings and I fancy the chances of TIME AFTER TIME at 5/1 with Coral.
John Moore won this race four years ago with Inspiration and my selection was beaten just a head by last year’s winner of this race, Lucky Nine, over course and distance just three weeks ago.
Lucky Nine is a top quality sprinter but he’s been handed a terrible draw in stall 12, while Time After Time has landed gate three, which is ideal. Douglas Whyte takes the ride and I expect the duo to go very close indeed.
Francois Doumen’s Sun Chariot winner Siyouma appears to be Europe’s best chance in the Mile and the French trainer won this prize in 1998 with Jim And Tonic. This could be another race where the locals dominate, though, and the roof will come off if two-time Hong Kong horse of the year Ambitious Dragon can notch a famous victory.
He was a beaten 11/10 favourite in last year’s Hong Kong Cup over 10 furlongs, but that trip seems to stretch him and the return to a mile will suit. However, he’s another who has been handed a shocking draw in stall 11 and he’s going to have his work cut out to beat GLORIOUS DAYS.
John Size’s five-year-old reversed form with Ambitious Dragon from October to land the Jockey Club Mile over course and distance last month wearing first-time blinkers. It was a hugely impressive performance and an inside draw in stall three couldn’t be better. Coral’s 7/2 is worth taking.
I’m going to leave the Cup alone – although I’d probably just favour last year’s winner California Memory over Cirrus Des Aigles – and concentrate on the Vase where DUNADEN can follow up his victory from 12 months ago.
Mikel Delzangles’ runner produced a remarkable performance to win the Caulfield Cup from an impossible draw and the farcical pace in the Melbourne Cup was never going to suit.
He won this race cosily last year and the 7/2 available with Coral looks very appealing. Sir Michael Stoute’s Sea Moon is the main danger and he should pose a serious threat.
TIME AFTER TIME e/w Hong Kong Sprint (Sunday)
GLORIOUS DAYS Hong Kong Cup (Sunday)
DUNADEN Hong Kong Vase (Sunday)