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Hong Kong Sprint Cup

The April international meeting at Sha Tin mightn't be quite as big as the December meeting, but it still attracts class racehorses from around the world, which can create a bit of uncertainty in the betting markets as locals struggle to line up foreign form.

Making his blog debut this weekend is international racing aficionado Jason Lincoln, @the_racing_wiz

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The Sprint Cup
Sha Tin, 1200m, Group 1.
1600 local time, 1800 AEST, 0900 BST

Form guide

The second of the features is the G2 Sprint Cup, a race won last year by Charles The Great. Most of these have met at some stage already this year and the form does appear to be fairly well exposed.

GOLD FUN – This horse has primarily done his racing at 1400m – 1600m in Hong Kong, but with the almost unbeatable Able Friend destroying everything in his path at that distance range, Richard Gibson was forced to find alternatives. It came up trumps when he took out the G1 back in February beating recent Japanese winner Aerovelocity for Christophe Soumillon. Christophe is unavailable this weekend, but he loses nothing in picking up the old master Olivier Peslier to pilot him around. He had every favor beating Aerovelocity that day due to gate one, and tactically he will find this tougher from gate seven. He was OK last time when third to Able Friend at 1400m and his class will carry him along way here.

LUCKY NINE – Has been a wonderful sprinter in HK for the past five seasons and was second in this race last year to Charles The Great. You can put a pen through his last start effort in Dubai where he didn’t go a yard on the dirt. His run prior was a solid third in Gold Funs G1 after having every possible. Not showing the same zip for me this term and that could be all the travelling (Singapore, Australia, Dubai, Japan) starting to catch up with him. I’ll be prepared to risk him in this returning after yet another overseas jaunt.

PENIAPHOBIA – Along with Aerovelocity, he would be rated the best sprinter in Hong Kong at the moment. He was a game the International race here in Decenmber having brilliantly won the trial. He ran 55:49 to beat Bundle Of Joy in the first leg of the speed series before an unlucky fourth to Gold Fun in the second leg. I say unlucky but Douglas Whyte was outridden pure and simple by Brett Prebble on Lucky Nine, who basically just pinched his spot and that ultimately cost him the race. He was excellent in Dubai just being picked up late by Sole Power and now he returns to what many believe to be his best distance. The alley is awkward but he does have gate speed and there isn’t mad pace in the race so Douglas has a chance of slotting into a very prominent spot. With even luck, he looks the winner.

CHARLES THE GREAT – Winner of this race last year but had been ‘in the wilderness’ until recent throat surgery saw him come back to life with a slashing first up fifth to the speed machine Rad. I'd suggest the form prior can be written off given how he has come back from the throat op, but even at face value those performance have merit having come home in quick sectionals albeit from soft runs. The draw is key; from gate two Berry can have him three pairs back, coiled up, and ready to produce that big finish he has. Big player and likely to start over the odds.

DUNDONNELL – Richard Gibson is trying the same trick here as with Gold Fun in trying to get a 1400m-1600m horse firing over 1200m. He wasn’t too bad first try at it either; after missing the kick he was being bustled along and never really got it into a rhythm before staying on OK behind Gold Fun. He lost no admirers with his last start fourth to Able Friend after sitting wide the trip and he might not be hopeless here.

GOLDEN HARVEST – Had absolutely no luck last start and was eventually eased out of it so go on his previous form when assessing his chances. That previous form indicates that he usually just finds one of two better at this level. Has a nice turn of foot but from that alley he will have to go back to last and circle the lot of the them.

FREDERICK ENGELS – Not good enough and not going well enough.

SMART VOLATILITY – The most likely runner to belie his recent form and win. Pre-International meeting he was not only holding his own with the best sprinters in HK but was very unlucky being beaten by them. He turned in one of the performances of the season when beaten by Aerovelocity in the Trial after sitting four and five wide the trip!!! He had to then go too far back in the International Sprint itself before making solid ground late. Should have finished closer when third to Peniaphobia in the first leg of the Sprint Series, and then had a torrid trip when a better-than-it-looked eighth to Gold Fun. His last run is a mystery; he raced keen outside the speed and punctured horribly a long way out. Too hard to tip him off that run as he is normally so consistent and that may be a sign he’s had enough this time in.

TOUR DE FORCE – Good bread and butter horse that isn’t up to this level.

TEOFILO CALVA – Lightly raced 5yo that exploded up the ratings earlier in the year in good fashion but has found it hard to win of late. He was hugely advantaged by drawing the stands rail last start in his graded debut, and his form prior isn’t good enough for this on pure facts and figures. However, he has a a good draw and John Size has a knack of being able to squeeze more out of those that you think are on their marks

TIPS
1- Charles The Great
2- Peniaphobia
3- Dundonnell
4- Gold Fun

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