Fans of high-class Flat racing are in clover at Sha Tin on Sunday (live on Sky Sports Racing) with a ten-race card featuring Beauty Generation - we preview it here.
Master miler Beauty Generation tops bill on stellar Sha Tin card
Fans of high-class Flat racing are in clover at Sha Tin on Sunday with a ten-race card featuring three feature events worth £1m apiece and some of Hong Kong racing's most famous stars on show.
Ryan Moore is also on deck for three rides on a card covered live on Sky Sports Racing and the highlight for many will be a rematch between Beauty Generation and crack sprinter Beat The Clock over the intermediate trip of 1400m in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at 7.30.
Zac Purton tells the tale of how Joao Moreira came upsides on Beat The Clock last year only for the scream he gave out to galvanise his mount Beauty Generation to extra effort for a neck victory.
Both horses return in prime form, with Beauty Generation having joined the world's elite with a string of big wins back at a mile and Beat The Clock fresh from his first G1 success over 1200m.
The heat map is simple enough. Purton will try to draw the sting out of Beat The Clock's finish and will succeed if the master miler is still at his peak on his seventh run of the season. But strong fractions might just open the door for one or two horses to go well at much longer odds and it wouldn't be surprising to see smooth-travelling holdup horse outrun long odds if the pace is on right from the start.
British squad need to improve to enhance Derby claims
Ten year trends suggest it is odds on that the winner of the 2019 BMW Hong Kong Derby will be on show in Sunday’s Hong Kong Classic Cup at Sha Tin and Britain is well represented.
Sunny Speed thrived for Clive Cox when known as Crack on Crack On but will need to be very good indeed to defy stall 14 on his belated Hong Kong debut.
Ka Ying Star was called Urban Aspect when he beat Crack On Crack On in a hot handicap at York last August, while Gold Chest was very highly regarded by Jane Chapple-Hyam when winning a Newmarket Listed race as Naval Intelligence.
Red Warrior was highly progressive when known as Rusper for Jamie Osborne and lines up for this million quid ‘trial’ as the third highest rated runner in the race, but whether he can beat the Frankie Lor pair who are above him is another matter.
Furore could be under rated for round two with Dark Dream
Furore and Dark Dream are the pair in question and they meet for the second time in three weeks after a Classic Mile which answered one key question and left several others dangling.
Pace and track position play a huge role in Hong Kong and this was a case of Furore getting all the favours towards the inner and Dark Dream enduring a torrid trip on the outer.
Furore caused a domino effect which hampered at least six rivals when being switched to find a run. The burst of acceleration he showed to forge clear (clocking an impressive 22.25s for the final 400m) proved that he's high class but Dark Dream lost no friends in defeat, running on strongly for fourth after being forced wide and badly bumped early in the straight.
Silvestre de Sousa has lost the ride on Dark Dream to Zac Purton and thinks he is missing out on a big winner. Lor has also suggested that Dark Dream can have the edge this time but that looks like it is going to filter down into the market.
The HK handicappers feel there is little between this pair, with both horses rated 104. They both have persuasive Derby credentials but Furore looks the one who could start at a bigger price than he ought to for round two against his stablemate.
Music hits right notes as SDS joins Fab Four
SDS's continued success at Sha Tin and Happy Valley means that Hong Kong’s Big Three riders – namely Purton, Moreira and Karis Teetan - is now a Fab Four.
The Brazilian has returned from a short trip back to Britain in blazing form, firing off trebles at his first two meetings back and a double completed by the fast-improving Music Addition at the Valley on Wednesday night.
Martin Harley will be under no illusions about how tough it is to break through – he has just two rides on Sunday’s ten-race card – and Aussie youngster Regan Bayliss adds his name to the HK jockey roster next week.
The record reflects that Purton, de Sousa, Teetan and Moreira have won 74 of the 123 races run since the turn of the year.
That equates to a little over sixty per cent. Sobering reading for the other riders trying to make a mark in a place where plum rides are hard to get and even harder to keep.
Magnificent tipping as Lally gets the lolly
There were some rum scenes in the English-speaking section of the HKJC broadcasting booth at Happy Valley on Wednesday when resident analyst Paul Lally inspired a team steam into Magnificent.
The four-year-old hadn't shown a huge amount in three HK runs but was good enough to finish third in the Britannia Handicap on his final run for Richard Hannon last June and some strong recent work with high-class stablemate Fifty Fifty piqued Lally's interest.
His interest wasn't shared by the majority - hence an outlandish Tote return of 188-1 - but Magnificent bounced back with a vengeance under new tactics to make every yard until joined by Encouraging right on the line.
The frustration of having a huge SP halved due to dead heat rules was more than made up for by assorted bonus Quinellas and the genial Lally, who gets the trip thoroughly in the Celebration Stakes, will be seeking more of the same with Hard Promise (6.30) and Flying Murty (8.40) high on his list of Sunday options.