THERE is a mixed bag of entertainment for racing fans in Hong Kong this weekend as Sha Tin hosts a 10 race card with six races on the all-weather surface and four on turf.
With Hong Kong’s flagship meeting, the LONGINES International Races, set to take place next weekend, the use of the all-weather track is obviously to keep the grass pristine and fresh. Sunday’s ‘C+3’ turf track only measures a narrow 20 yards in width.
Bear that in mind as horses with a profile of being up with or near the pace from the off have a good record on this track, while strong finishers sometimes need luck to navigate a clear passage down the home straight.
One horse who has the prime inside draw of stall one, and is capable of racing up with the speed, is A PAL, who seeks to defy a penalty in the Nathan Handicap (9.10am) over seven furlongs.
This progressive Australian chestnut gelding, cost just over £500,000 as a yearling, which was not surprising, being a son of Group 1 winner More Than Ready, who has proved a huge success as a sire, with multiple Group winners to his name.
Trainer Frankie Lor must surely be confident A Pal will supplement his course and distance victory last month, following the four-year-old running away from his rivals in the closing stages and, in doing so, covered the final two furlongs in a speedy 22.49 seconds.
That form is the best on view, despite the opposition including previous winner Amazing Victory and front-running All Riches.
Keep an eye on Tony Cruz’s lightly-raced California Redwood, a two-time winner for former trainer George Scott, when known as George Peabody in the UK.
He is likely to improve further, judged on last season’s encouraging efforts, and is capable of making the frame.
A Pal 9.10am Sha Tin