Neil Morrice previews the Hong Kong International Races from Sha Tin on Sunday, with William Haggas backed to get among the winners.
Getting the best out of the four outstanding races that comprise the Hong Kong International fixture at Sha Tin on Sunday is all about looking outside the box.
And in terms of value there can be no more attractive a proposition than William Haggas' One Master in the HK$25 million Longines Hong Kong Mile.
Haggas has shown time and again a precious talent in training fillies, as highlighted by the exploits of Sea Of Class through the 2018 season.
It has not gone unnoticed he is displaying of the same skills with One Master, owned by Pennsylvania-based octogenarians Roy and Gretchen Jackson.
The four-year-old has an upwardly-mobile profile that crescendoed with a gutsy triumph in the Prix de la Foret at ParisLongchamp followed by an unlucky fourth in the Breeders' Cup Mile in Kentucky.
Haggas immediately targeted this prize for Ryan Moore's mount, who has given off encouraging signals in her track work, even though this has been strictly routine. She has a good draw in the middle of the field, from which her pilot will look to get a handy early position behind the leaders.
What makes One Master such an appealing betting medium is that at a shade of odds-on in places, Beauty Generation dominates the market. However, the local champion comes here off four relatively quick races and although impressive in his track-record display last time, he did hang left as he asserted.
At widely-available odds of 12/1 the value play is One Master, each-way.
Moore teams up with Mirage Dancer in the HK$20 million Hong Kong Vase and few horses have impressed as much in their work this week than this almost black son of Frankel.
On Thursday, Sir Michael Stoute's colt galloped out strongly to wow all observers and show that he is fresh and well, having skipped some tempting overseas options since a narrow defeat by Young Rascal in a Group Three at Newbury.
With just 11 career starts under his belt there is plenty of scope for further progression and he has always promised to develop into a proper Group One horse.
Salouen could prove the main danger, and especially so if getting an easy time of things up front. Sylvester Kirk's challenger has been a force in defeat at the top level and if he won it would not be a surprise.
The HK$20 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint is dominated by local horses, with new kid on the block Hot King Prawn certain to start favourite.
At 2/1 he does not jump off the page as a value play, but Moore's mount Beat The Clock, who is as big as 8/1 at the time of writing, certainly does.
John Size brought his charge back from a seven-month break to finish third in a Group Two last month and the trainer feels that has put the edge on Beat The Clock.
Furthermore there is very little to choose between the selection and last year's winner Mr Stunning, yet the latter is considerably shorter in the betting.
Japan looks set to dominate the featured HK$28 million Hong Kong Cup in which distaffer Deirdre can show eight male rivals a clean pair of heels.
She is unbeaten at home since finishing third in the Dubai Turf at Meydan and may just have the call on countryman Sungrazer.
Sha Tin selections
- Vase: 1. Mirage Dancer 2. Salouen 3 Eagle Way
- Sprint: 1. Beat The Clock 2. Winner's Way 3. Hot King Prawn
- Mile: 1. ONE MASTER (NAP) 2. Beauty Generation 3. Singapore Sling
- Cup: 1. Deirdre 2. Sungrazer 3. Gold Mount