HONG KONG racing enthusiasts can look forward to lie in on Sunday morning when the Sha Tin race programme starts at a later-than-usual 9.00am.
This is due to a Hong Kong Jockey Club initiative of introducing ‘Twilight Racing’ at Sha Tin for the purpose of welfare to horses and jockeys, with continuous sweltering heat in the city.
The main attractions on the 10-race card are a couple of local Group Three contests, with a number of top-class performers in action.
The big question in the £390,000 Lion Rock Trophy (10.00am) over a mile is whether Beauty Eternal, once rated the next ‘winged horse Pegasus’ can return to winning ways against some stiff opposition.
In what should be a high-stakes tactical battle, in-form and front-running Circuit Stellar, highly-regarded Fantastic Treasure, and talented but sometimes frustrating Beauty Joy, offer stern resistance.
The latter has performed well above expectations against the likes of California Spangle and Golden Sixty in recent times but needs to defy top-weight.
It’s a tough race to call, and it’s a similar story in the Sha Tin Vase Handicap (12.05pm) over six furlongs, when top-weight Lucky Sweynesse shoots for his sixth straight win of the year.
Lurking at the bottom of the handicap, and receiving 20lbs from the champion, is rising star Victor The Winner, winner of five of his seven starts and drawn to dictate the pace from the off.
Lucky Sweynesse should win, but his probable short odds won’t reflect how competitive this handicap will be.
A more attractive proposition on the supporting card is bottom-weight YOUTHFUL DEAL who goes for a hat-trick in the Penfold Park Handicap (12.40pm) over six furlongs on the all-weather surface.
The four-year-old has looked hugely progressive in recent times and is drawn in the right spot for the run of the race. Rival Ka Ying Master looks capable of chasing him home.
Youthful Deal 12.40pm Sha Tin