RACING is back in Hong Kong at Sha Tin on Sunday for a 10-race programme, including a couple of all-weather contests and featuring the first Group Three contest of the season; the Celebration Cup (7.00am), a seven-furlong handicap.
Although only half-a-dozen contenders line up, this has the makings of a puzzle more difficult to solve than a Rubik’s Cube, and is passed over in favour of more attractive propositions later on the card.
It wouldn’t have escaped the notice of avid Hong Kong racing fans that champion jockey Zac Purton may have had his nose put out of joint recently by the media plaudits associated to fellow rival Hugh Bowman, who has already ridden nine winners in the current campaign.
The champ won’t like the fact he is riding in the shadow of one of his rivals, and you can guarantee he will be champing at the bit to get back on top of the jockeys’ table.
It’s interesting that he stays loyal to improving handicapper TAJ DRAGON, whom he won on over the course and distance at the end of last season, and now makes his seasonal appearance in the Hong Kong University Alumni Association Challenge Cup (9.05am), a seven-furlong handicap.
The combination looks to be able to win off the current handicap mark, and can continue to progress again, although light-weight Yellowfin looks a serious threat.
The HKU Faculties of Arts and Education Handicap (10.10am) over a mile is full of seasoned campaigners who hold no secrets from the handicapper, but who are still capable of winning on any given day.
It may prove to be worth taking a chance with lightly raced BIG RED, who steps up in distance after showing his first worthwhile form when runner-up to prolific winner All Is Good a fortnight ago, and is capable of going one better.
Taj Dragon 9.05am Sha Tin
Big Red 10.10am Sha Tin