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Saturday, April 24: Hong Kong Champions Day Picks

by Declan Schuster (Hong Kong Jockey Club)

April 22, 2021

(Saturday, April 24, 2021)

Race 1: #1 Hall Of Champ, #3 City Legend, #6 Ernest Feeling, #10 Mission Smart
Race 2: #2 Exceed The Stars, #5 Packing Award, #4 Victory Scholars, #13 Party Genius
Race 3: #1 Fantastic Way, #10 Trader, #9 War Of Courage, #2 Sunset Watch
Race 4: #8 Entrusted, #2 Beauty Fit, #10 Maldives, #3 All For St Paul’s
Race 5: #10 Stronger, #1 Danon Smash, #6 Wellington, #12 Beauty Applause
Race 6: #13 Gallant Express, #4 Winning For All, #2 E Star, #11 Daily Beauty
Race 7: #1 Golden Sixty, #6 Healthy Happy, #2 Southern Legend, #4 Mighty Giant
Race 8: #7 Loves Only You, #5 Time Warp, #6 Daring Tact, #1 Glory Vase 
Race 9: #4 Circuit Three, #10 Maximus, #13 Super Football, #2 Tourbillon Diamond
Race 10: #2 Winning Dreamer, #7 Courier Wonder, #5 Lucky Patch, #13 Hong Kong Bet 

Race 1: FWD Insurance JW Region Handicap 

#1 Hall Of Champ steps back to Class 4 which suits. He has to shoulder top-weight which makes life slightly difficult but still, he’ll relish racing weaker in the grade. #3 City Legend is looking to string three wins together. Put simply, he’s on fire and the inside gate affords him every opportunity. #6 Ernest Feeling is on the up. He only needs to offset the wide gate. #10 Mission Smart draws the inside. He gets the blinkers first time to sharpen up and with even luck he can press for the win. 

Race 2: FWD Insurance Forever Young Handicap

#2 Exceed The Stars received a welcome step back to Class 4 last start. He looks set to improve off that run and from gate one he should get every chance. #5 Packing Award made an excellent debut having finished a close-up second. Zac Purton hops up now and he shapes as a leading player. #4 Victory Scholars rattled into second last start. He draws well and should go close again. #13 Party Genius has the runs on the board without winning. He’s next best. 

Race 3: FWD Insurance ICBC (Asia) Handicap

#1 Fantastic Way is looking to snare a fourth unbeaten win. He’s easily a standout youngster from the John Size yard who looks well placed to continue his ascent through the grades. #10 Trader won nicely on debut. He showed glimpses of inexperience but from the good gate, with no weight, he is the main danger. #9 War Of Courage rarely runs a bad race. He’s in contention. #2 Sunset Watch is looking for back-to-back wins. He has race experience on his side. 

Race 4: FWD Insurance BOCOM Handicap

#8 Entrusted makes his first start for trainer Chris So. He’s a talented son of Nathaniel who while he mixes his form, is a classy operator on his day and the booking of Joao Moreira only enhances his claims. #2 Beauty Fit hasn’t exactly set the world alight since his arrival in Hong Kong. Still, he arrived with a big reputation from Australia and if he manages to capture any of that form he showed prior to export, then is in with a chance. #10 Maldives is looking for back-to-back wins. He commands respect. #3 All For St Paul’s switches back to the turf. He can find the front and play catch me if you can from the good draw. 

Race 5: G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize 

#10 Stronger has found some serious form his past two runs and with a clean run he looks capable of testing this bunch. He finished fast from an unlikely position back in the field last time out, and with a similar run this Sunday it wouldn’t shock to see him go on with it. #1 Danon Smash arrives in search of his third consecutive G1. He’s in tip-top form and from the good gate with Joao Moreira up, he’s going to go around a profound favourite to win the race. #6 Wellington is worth forgiving for his last-start fifth in the G2 Sprint Cup. He can clock serious time when he wants to and if he manages to find his best then he’s going to get every opportunity, especially from gate three. #12 Beauty Applause draws well for champion jockey Zac Purton. He should get a few favours settling close to the speed. 

Race 6: FWD Insurance CCB (Asia) Handicap

#13 Gallant Express scored with plenty in hand on debut. He rises in grade but does look well weighted to continue his progression following on from that win. #4 Winning For All is a winner in this grade. He draws well which should afford him every chance at seeing out the seven furlongs as he is a winner over six. #2 E Star rarely runs a bad race and is paired with the in-form Derek Leung. #11 Daily Beauty gets in light. He just needs to offset the awkward draw.

Race 7: G1 FWD Champions Mile 

#1 Golden Sixty has won 16 from 17 starts. He faces a small field and with the class he has, he can get over the top of this bunch and snare a fourth consecutive G1. #6 Healthy Happy can roll forward and make a race of this in the small field. He’ll play catch me if you can. #2 Southern Legend is ticking along. He pushed Golden Sixty two starts ago and his class will take him a long way in this contest, especially as the winner of this race last year. #4 Mighty Giant caused a boilover in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy last time out. He’s next best. 

Race 8: G1 FWD QEII Cup

#7 Loves Only You finished a classy third to Mishriff at Dubai in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. She’s well-traveled, and reports are that she has settled into Hong Kong very well. She appeals in this field and with a clean run she could well prove difficult to run down. #5 Time Warp can roll forward and make a race of this. Small fields can throw up results and with a soft lead, he could prove difficult to reel in. He’s no stranger to reversing his form and he’s worth taking on an each way basis to do so. #6 Daring Tact is a super filly. Still, it is difficult for a young horse to travel at her age and she might be worth opposing, although in saying that her third to Almond Eye in last year’s Japan Cup is hard to ignore. #1 Glory Vase does his best racing at Sha Tin as a G1 winner at the track. He can figure.  

Race 9: FWD Insurance ACT Champions Handicap

#4 Circuit Three is a consistent customer as a course and distance winner two starts ago in this grade. He doesn’t get too much weight for a horse with his ability even though the opposition is rather tough. This contest is open and he has the runs on the board. #10 Maximus draws well and gets a welcome step back in distance to the mile. He can roll forward and make a race of this, and as such, is worth taking on a win and place line. #13 Super Football slots in light as a two-time course and distance winner this term. He draws a touch wide but he has class for a lightly raced galloper who still has plenty of rating points in hand. #2 Tourbillon Diamond steps back down to the mile where he is a winner over this distance. He bears close watching with Zac Purton engaged. 

Race 10: FWD Insurance My Legend Handicap

#2 Winning Dreamer steps back down to a suitable grade after racing at G2 company last start. He has the class as a two-time winner in this grade, and from gate five he should get every permissible chance to end the unbeaten streak of #7 Courier Wonder, who does, look a serious horse in the making with three wins under his belt. He was impressive last start but this is another big step up and he might be worth opposing. #5 Lucky Patch draws awkwardly but has plenty of merit over this distance. #13 Hong Kong Bet could roll forward from gate one and give this field something to run down. He’s next best.