PUNTERS didn’t find it easy at Sha Tin last Sunday when three out of four odds-on favourites were sunk, leaving the majority of multiple and exotic wagers consigned to the litterbins and bettors left stony-faced.
It’s likely not to get any easier today with Sha Tin hosting an eight-race programme on the all-weather surface, something the local betting public are always wary of as results can be unpredictable and winners hard to find.
If that doesn’t make life hard enough, the weather forecast is predicting thunderstorms and rain early in the day, throwing another conundrum into the equation when trying to find winners.
The feature race on the card is the Class One Silvermine Bay Handicap (2.15pm) over six furlongs and includes some of the fastest all-weather specialists in training.
Top-weight Kurpany is head and shoulders above his rivals according to the formbook, but the handicapper has had his say, giving the Caspar Fownes-trained galloper a hefty eight-pound penalty for an impressive last-start win.
That means Kurpany is set to concede 10 pounds and more to all eight rivals, so it’s easy to see why Fownes has retained the services of Alfie Chan claiming his five-pound allowance.
Near the bottom of the handicap, receiving 19 pounds, is hat-trick seeking MAJESTIC STAR, who blitzed his rivals when winning on the surface in January and then producing a similar performance when upped in class at the Valley last month.
With in-form Karis Teetan doing the steering for trainer Danny Shum – they have a 20 percent win strike-rate this season – the combination can add another winner to their tally, especially after a hugely impressive winning trial recently.
This has all the makings of a thriller with the likes of top-class sprinters Duke Wai, Master Montaro and Czarson in opposition, but Majestic Star, who is entered in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint next month, should prove hard to beat.
Teetan and Shum have a first-rate chance of completing a double when they team-up again with the fast-improving LIGHTNING BOLT, who bids to successfully follow-up last month’s impressive all-weather win in the Pui O Handicap (3.50pm) over six furlongs.
This former UK-trained galloper was a dual winner under the tutelage of William Knight and has always been highly regarded in the Shum camp.
He confirmed his previous promise with a convincing victory in a competitive handicap on the dirt surface last month.
Despite having to carry a penalty for that success he is surely still better than his present handicap mark, and, despite an outside draw, has a finishing-kick which should prove too much for his rivals in the closing stages.
The principle threat looks likely to come from the Joao Moreira-ridden Like That, a convincing winner under top-weight at Happy Valley recently, and, after going up in class, he now finds himself racing at the bottom of the handicap.
With the ‘Magic Man’ riding at his minimum, his chance looks obvious, and he is worth including in a forecast.
Majestic Star 2.15pm Sha Tin
Lightning Bolt 3.50pm Sha Tin