Our Hong Kong expert Graham Cunningham marks your card for Sunday's Sha Tin card which is live on Sky Sports Racing.
Doubles all round was the cry at Happy Valley on Wednesday as several of HK’s leading players captured two winners apiece at the sixth meeting of a new season.
Hugh Bowman gave heavily backed File nap Lucky Gor a skilful steer to complete his brace, while that gelding’s handler Caspar Fownes moved to second in the trainers’ table with a double of his own to continue his fast start.
Hoegrown handler Pierre Ng was another in double form to confirm himself one of HK’s most progressive young operators and Zac Purton matched Bowman’s pair, rewarding his followers on Lucky Archangel at almost 6-1 and Lightning Bolt in the nightcap at 15-1.
It looks like short-priced favourites will be a running theme at Sha Tin on Sunday and punters will rise or fall depending on which way they go with them.
Stolz is the key horse in the featured National Day Cup at 9.40. Francis Lui’s gelding thrived in the closing weeks of last season, impressing in two Class 2 wins, and Purton seems confident that he’s ready to peak again after a break.
Chris So seems equally happy with last season’s Classic Cup hero Super Sunny Sing, who returned from a long absence with a promising effort over an inadequate 1400m recently, and the return to a mile looks ideal in the Beijing Handicap at 9.05.
But beating the market with obvious hot favourites is tough. Early signs suggest Stolz and Super Sunny Sing will go off a shade of odds against at best. They can win, no question, but they don’t have enough in hand to tempt me in at that kind of price.
The two horses who make most appeal this weekend are CALL ME DANDY and HYPER DRAGON BALL.
Call Me Dandy made good progress in his first HK season, winning twice including a decisive success on his final start in July, and it will be surprising if he doesn’t add to that total this term.
True, he finished just behind Beauty Crescent over course and distance on his reappearance and that gelding – who won twice when trained by Ger Lyons in 2022 – looms as a danger here as Andrea Atzeni bids to cement a link with Tony Cruz.
But Call Me Dandy travelled like a well handicapped horse until a wet track seemed to blunt his finishing kick three weeks ago. He should relish faster conditions on Sunday and stall 3 looks ideal for him to get a perfect stalking trip behind the speedy Sakewin.
Cruz seems to be gradually finding the key to big money British import Outgate, who won four times in Britain for the Kublers and has the services of handy 7lb claimer Gus Chung for the closing Tianjin Handicap (10.50) after a solid reappearance fifth.
But Hyper Dragon Ball put up an even more encouraging effort on his first run of a new campaign, enduring a notably tough early trip from stall 12 but keeping on strongly under Purton to finish a close third.
Benno Yung’s gelding has drawn wide again but Zac should secure smoother sailing in what sets up to be a truly-run race this time and HDB looks very fairly treated having been raised just a pound for that promising first run of the season.
7.00: Call Me Dandy (nap)
10.50: Hyper Dragon Ball
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