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BMW Hong Kong Derby preview

One of the top races of the year takes place at Sha Tin tomorrow, the BMW Hong Kong Derby. International form expert Jon Thompson, @jaytee6666, takes the reins and provides his view on a classy field doing battle for a big purse.

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The BMW Hong Kong Derby 2013

After the thrills of an amazing four days at Cheltenham we look to the flat to provide top class action on Sunday with the BMW Hong Derby at Sha Tin in Hong Kong due off at 16.35 local time or 08.35 for those in the UK.

A field of 14 will line up for the race worth a whopping 16 million HK dollars in prize money and headed by the former one time Epsom Derby hope Akeed Mofeed now trained by Richard Gibson.

Gibson has a very strong hand in the race with three runners in total that occupy three of the top five places at the head of the betting market.

Akeed Mofeed will start favourite and is ridden by champion jockey Douglas Whyte and will surely take all the beating after getting off the mark in HK last time when winning his final prep race the Grade 2 Taipa Handicap (replay available here) on the 2nd of March in good style. His trainer has really taken his time with this striking son of Dubawi who was previously trained by John Oxx in Ireland before being sold to HK. The barrier draw has favoured him as well in stall three and there is no doubt that with Whyte in the saddle Akeed Mofeed will have huge support come race time on Sunday.

Gold-Fun is the second Richard Gibson trained runner and will be ridden by Olivier Doleuze and start from stall 12. Already a three time winner this season the son of Le Vie Dei Colori was seen at his best when scoring in the Hong Kong Classic Mile back in January when ridden by Douglas Whyte. The fact that Whyte deserts him now has to be a factor and that would have to signal a huge preference for Akeed Mofeed as both horses are in the same ownership.

The third Gibson trained runner is Mizani who will be ridden by the young Italian superstar Umberto Rispoli who had had a great season so far and already been champion jockey twice in his own country back in 2009 and 2010. Mizani has just had the two runs to date but has won on both occasions although this will see him stepping up into top class racing for the first time. He is probably the unknown quantity in the race but would have the appearance of being the Gibson third string. (Last run replay).

President Lincoln is another interesting runner and will surely attract plenty of interest in the market being trained by Danny Shum who was previously assistant to the great Ivan Allen. The fact that 22 year old star Matthew Chadwick takes the ride will only endear this horse to the public even more and the barrier draw has also been kind with him starting from stall four. President Lincoln has had a relatively busy season with six starts since last September but performed the best of the fancied runners in the Hong Kong Classic Cup when second to shock 100/1 winner It Has To Be You. Akeed Mofeed, and six other Derby rivals were behind on that occasion but several had excuses and the slow pace probably attributed to the shock result. Having said that President Lincoln did nothing wrong and is there with his chance come Sunday.

It Has To Be You deservedly takes his place and will start from stall eight for John Size and Tim Clark however it is not certain that he will get matters all his own way from the front this time and he would look to have an outside place chance at best. Of the remainder Ashikiyr did not fare well in the barrier draw and will start from fourteen for John Moore and Weichang Marwing while Rainbow Chic drew stall nine for Caspar Fownes and Brett Prebble.

Autumn Gold has caught my eye on numerous occasions and was probably the runner to suffer most from the slow pace in the Hong Kong Classic Cup as well as receiving some serious interference at around the 3 furlong marker. Trainer Sean Woods has always though a lot of this colt by Ransom O’War and has gone to the lengths of booking former UK champion jockey Ryan Moore to take the ride. The barrier draw of thirteen is not ideal but with Autumn Gold likely to be dropped in early it won’t be an excuse. Connections will be hoping for a fast pace as their runner possibly has more stamina that anything else in the race. Autumn Gold can have a real chance if the race goes his way.

Poetic Justice, Wah May Star and Endowing will all require career best performances to trouble the judge while the trio of Albiceleste, Best Show and Jun Gong are probably flying too high at this level.

At 08.35 on Sunday morning it will be an alarm clock event for the weekend sleepers but one that is very much worth getting up for even if just to witness how much is bet on the race!

Akeed Mofeed looks to have come good at the right time and will be hard to beat but does look as if he will be a little short in the market with Douglas Whyte a huge factor with the public.

I am going to retain faith in Autumn Gold and at around 16/1 with the UK firms there is some each way value for sure.

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