Graham Cunningham rounds up all the latest news snippets from the Hong Kong racing scene as Golden Sixty went up to a HK rating of 127 at the weekend.
Hardly a state secret but HK's most exciting horse was clinical again on his G2 bow in the Sha Tin Trophy, settling matters with a powerful burst again and clocking a rapid 21.81s closer despite seeming to idle. He's up to a HK rating of 127 now and looking more and more like the prime contender for the Hong Kong Mile in December.
Beauty Generation remains HK's highest rated horse (130) but the old fire isn't there this season and his one paced sixth on Sunday was his dullest effort in a long while. Now beaten in seven of his last nine, it seems he may be given a break and fitted with blinkers for the HK Mile. They need to have an explosive effect if he's to turn back time.
The man who replaced John Moore has a world-class record and a team of exciting new recruits who will be stepping out before too long. But he's now 0-44 since an opening day double and none of his four runners for Happy Valley on Wednesday jump off the card as probable winners.
They say form is temporary and class is permanent but HK's big two have been in the doldrums, with Purton on a losing run of 23 and the Magic Man with just one winner from his last 18 rides. Joao has eight Valley rides and Zac has seven this week. Surely the drought can't continue?
The Mauritian moved to 16 - level with Purton and four behind Moreira - by completing a Sunday treble aboard useful AW sprinter Will Power but was frustrated to be pipped close home on Computer Patch in the Premier Bowl. The clock suggests Teetan asked Tony Cruz’s gelding a searching question in going through the first 800m at track record pace and he remains the sort to capture a big sprint this season.
Perhaps it was the decision to dispense with blinkers that helped Wishful Thinker peg back Computer Patch for a 44-1 boilover but the more likely explanation is that he relished the fierce pace better than most. He’s certainly no good thing to confirm the form in the Jockey Club Sprint next month if the fractions are less punishing.
A powerful grey has entered quarantine in Australia with a view to arriving in HK in ample time for the £2.2m HK Sprint on December 13th. Classique Legend recorded a Timeform rating of 129 by running away with the Everest at Randwick on Saturday. That’s 4lb higher than HK’s champion sprinter Beat The Clock’s peak and, with Caspar Fownes at the helm, owner Bon Ho is eyeing top sprints in Dubai, Japan and Europe.
And Frankie Lor’s gelding made it four from four in very likeable style as he got the better of the hat-trick seeking Scores Of Fun and the progressive Chicken Dance at Sha Tin on Sunday. A 7lb hike leaves Winning Dreamer rated 86 but this looks notably strong Class 3 handicap form and there looks to be plenty more to come.
HK’s Horse of the Year had another gentle spin in a barrier trial at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning and everything seems to be going to plan ahead of his planned reappearance in the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse on November 1st. Exultant has had two previous cracks at that G3 handicap, finishing fourth and third, and is clearly very much the one to beat once the set weights contests over middle distances come around again.
Between two of HK’s hottest young prospects as Mighty Giant and Sky Field square off in a Sha Tin Class 2 over 1400m. Mighty Giant is fresh from a battling reappearance win where he pressed a strong pace and found plenty, while Sky Field’s turn of foot has been evident in two impressive wins this autumn. Add in a HK debut for Maximus – who beat the smart Berlin Tango at Kempton when trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam – and the scene is set for a very informative contest.