by Declan Schuster (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
December 10, 2020
Bet the 2020 Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) at Sha Tin Racecourse with Xpressbet to receive 10X XB Rewards Points for the entire card. To help you play, here are full-card picks from Hong Kong Jockey Club racing correspondent, Declan Schuster.
SHA TIN SELECTIONS
(Saturday, December 12, 2020)
Race 1: #11 Winning Brew, #6 Master Montaro, #2 Sunset Watch, #14 Hello Beauty
Race 2: #1 Joyful Heart, #2 Nordic Warrior, #3 Ultimate Glory, #12 Stunning Impact
Race 3: #3 Enrichment, #11 Chevalier Prince, #10 Beauty Angel, #2 Charity Go
Race 4: #4 Columbus County, #1 Exultant, #7 Mogul, #3 Ho Ho Khan
Race 5: #9 Rattan, #2 Hot King Prawn, #1 Classique Legend, #4 Voyage Warrior
Race 6: #10 Pure Legend, #12 True Legend, #13 Exceptional Nice, #1 Heza Beauty
Race 7: #2 Golden Sixty, #6 Waikuku, #3 Admire Mars, #1 Beauty Generation
Race 8: #4 Furore, #3 Win Bright, #7 Magical, #2 Danon Premium
Race 9: #3 Winning Dreamer, #6 Sky Field, #1 Duke Wai, #10 Beauty Applause
Race 10: #4 The Summit, #5 Shadow Hero, #6 Super Wealthy, #2 Super Oasis
Race 1 (11:25PM ET): Snow Fairy Handicap
#11 Winning Brew won second-up last term and he has the race experience to be very competitive in the opener at Sha Tin. #6 Master Montaro has caught the eye at the trials and does bring with him an solid resume from Australia. #2 Sunset Watch has been in solid form this term and looks ready to go on with it. Belgian ace Christophe Soumillon hops up for the first ride of his short-term contract. #14 Hello Beauty is consistent and slots in light with no weight on his back.
Race 2 (11:55PM ET): Able Friend Handicap
#1 Joyful Heart makes the step down to Class 4 which suits and the key booking of Zac Purton for this task warrants respect. He’s a three-time winner in this grade who is, more than capable of shouldering the big weight. #2 Nordic Warrior ran a blinder last start. If he produces anywhere near that performance here and he’ll go close once again. #3 Ultimate Glory is consistent and rarely runs a bad race. #12 Stunning Impact is proving hard to catch but he does have a win nearing. He needs all the favours but with the right run – can figure.
Race 3 (12:25AM ET): Flintshire Handicap
#3 Enrichment has a big race in him and it just might be this contest. He’s racing well and he turned a corner in his last run to finish a close-up fifth. British ace Ryan Moore will get the best out of him and the inside ally also suits. #11 Chevalier Prince caught the eye with an impressive second-up win last start. He should relish the added furlong here and with even luck, fight out the finish. #10 Beauty Angel is looking for his fifth consecutive win. He’s swept all aside of late and does, draw well for this contest. #2 Charity Go rarely runs a bad race and only needs to offset the wide draw to be competitive here.
Race 4 (1:00AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Vase
#4 Columbus County might be worth taking a chance on here as he steps up to the unknown 2400m for the first time on Sunday. He closed off nicely last start for third at his first try at G2 level and if either of the big two falter, he could be the one to finish best. He’ll be a price to find out, especially off the back of his first-up run which was super impressive, albeit against weaker company. He’s a young horse open to plenty of improvement over a longer trip. #1 Exultant is hard to knock and he’s arguably the one to beat. Still though, he was under pressure early on last start and while he did manage to finish off gamely, he is going to need to step up once again if he is to run his rivals into the ground and recapture his Vase crown. #7 Mogul looked tidy when winning the G1 Grand Prix de Paris over this distance two starts ago, beating off subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe second, In Swoop. If he can put his best foot forward then he is a leading player. #3 Ho Ho Khan is next best as a course and distance winner.
Race 5 (1:40AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
#9 Rattan has become a notoriously slow starter but, if he does get a fast pace in this, he could be the one to finish the strongest. He’s clocked some slick final 400m times his last two runs and with a clean run, he might be worth taking a chance on to spoil the party. #2 Hot King Prawn rarely runs a bad race and comes off a tidy last-start victory in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint. He’s drawn to get the run of the race and admittedly, he probably is the one to beat. #1 Classique Legend steps out for his first Hong Kong start following a classy win in the AU$15 million The Everest at Randwick Racecourse, where he did, defeat seven individual G1 winners. Still, he has to acclimatise to a tough, new environment, which does make his task a difficult one, and his sole trial on the turf wasn’t the most impressive of performances. #4 Voyage Warrior is building into this contest nicely and did run a luckless fourth at his most recent outing. He’s worth including.
Race 6 (2:15AM ET): Highland Reel Handicap
#10 Pure Legend is actually racing well and his last-start effort bodes well for this. Vincent Ho takes the reins and with one run under his belt already this term, he is the one to beat as long as he can offset the awkward ally. #12 True Legend slots in light but is hampered by the tricky draw. Still, Alexis Badel is riding in great form at present and he deserves respect with a number of solid runs under his belt already this term. #13 Exceptional Nice has performed well across three starts and further improvement is expected here, especially with the switch to the big track from the tight turning city course. #1 Heza Beauty has a weight-bearing task but does draw favourably.
Race 7 (2:50AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
#2 Golden Sixty is rightly Hong Kong’s rising superstar and he can stamp his claims as the jurisdiction’s top-class athlete with a win in the HK$25 million mile contest. He’s classy, brilliant and is capable of landing his 11th consecutive win this Sunday, though it will be, his toughest test to date. #6 Waikuku returns first-up which is always a concern following a lengthy layoff although, in his favour is that he does prefer to run fresh and, his handler John Size did win this race first-up in 2013 with Glorious Days. Keep safe as the runner-up in this contest last year. #3 Admire Mars won this race last year and does bring high class Japanese form with him. The old champ #1 Beauty Generation has had a freshen up and is capable of boxing on. Reports are that his trackwork has been strong.
Race 8 (3:30AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
#4 Furore has been dominant his last two runs at G2 level and with home ground advantage, he is more than capable of scoring at G1 level in Hong Kong. He’s peaking at the right time for the right trainer, who knows how to win this race. #3 Win Bright is 2/2 over 2000m at Sha Tin at G1 level. The horse just seems to love the track and he can’t be underestimated once again. He’ll be a price and is worth supporting on an each way basis. #7 Magical is Aidan O’Brien’s super mare. Assuming she’s travelled over to Hong Kong well then she is more than likely not going to run a blinder. British ace Ryan Moore takes the reins and she’s right in this. #2 Danon Premium is as solid as they come and is going to be in the finish.
Race 9 (4:10AM ET): Lord Kanaloa Handicap
#3 Winning Dreamer is looking for a sixth unbeaten win. He owns a slick personal best over this course and distance and he rates as the one to beat, not only with the winning record but the significant improvement he has shown each start. #6 Sky Field is a supreme talent who appears suited to sprinting as opposed to going any further. He’s by Deep Field so his breeding suggests this and from the good draw he is capable of bouncing back into the winner’s arch. #1 Duke Wai has class on his side but does need the right run. #10 Beauty Applause can be rather fragile but is a smart young talent. The draw suits and he’ll look the winner a long way from home.
Race 10 (4:50AM ET): Maurice Handicap
#4 The Summit is a French import who prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, did place twice at G1 level as a three-year-old. He gets Joao Moreira up for his debut which signals intent and his trials have been sound enough to suggest that he could make his presence felt at his first try. #5 Shadow Hero is a dual Australian G1 winner who was awfully unlucky on debut. He’ll improve stepping out over further and does look a leading contender for the 2021 Four-Year-Old Classic Series. #6 Super Wealthy steps back from Class 1 to Class 2. He’ll need a race run to suit but is worth including if the tempo is quick enough. #2 Super Oasis is next best if he can offset the awkward draw.