LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
Group 1, 2000m, HK$25 million (£2.19m)
1430 local, 1730 AEDT, 0830 GMT
My Idea of the Winner
In a word: Maurice. Nothing original to say here. Every time I have played him, he’s won. He’s a beast. Noriyuki Huri is confident. Ryan Moore is confident. And all the Japanese cats on Twitter are confident. Nevertheless, I have a couple of reservations. As a rule, I tend not to play horses that are running in their last race. This ordinarily would rule out both Maurice and A Shin Hikari who both heading to stud. However, I have had to play both this year. Maurice because Maurice means Maurice and because it’s going to be a Yellow, Orange and Green Maurice. I have also included A Shin Hakari in a couple of minor across the card multiples. I had a 4 figure sum falling on to four Japanese horses in last year’s Hong Kong Cup. I thought I couldn’t lose. There were five Japanese horses in the race and I one I ignored was the outsider of the five, 40/1 shot (at the time of placing the bet), A Shin Hikari. You live and learn! My other reservation stems from watching Maurice win the Tenno Sho. He was drifting late and his time of 1m 59.30s over Firm at Tokyo was about one second slower than the 1m 58.40s put up the previous winner of the Tenno So, Lovely Day. Lovely Day is drawn in gate 2 and gets Hugh Bowman. Bowman when interviewed by racing.com’s Shane Anderson said he didn’t think Lovely Day had the measure of Maurice and that he had not shown his best form recently, but on his best form he was good enough. You can get still 14/1 about Lovely Day. Because it has been Bowman’s year as much as it has been O’Brien’s year, it would insane to ignore Lovely Day here.
The Other Japansese Contenders
After last year’s debacle I am compelled to play every Japanese horse in the race in some form or other. My interest in A Shin Hikari is token. My interest in Lovely Day is serious. The other two Japanese horses in the race are not there to sing Bonsai to Maurice. They are there to win and must be taken seriously. Queen’s Ring was kept fresh for the QEII and won with a lightening turn of foot in the final 200 meters. Queen’s Ring was supplemented into race. I take supplementary entries seriously. She is 7/1, but drifting. It’s possible she could be 10/1 on the day. That’s great value. Stephanos seems not to be up to Maurice’s class, but gets Christophe Soumillon and is also beginning to drift as the money comes for Maurice. I don’t think he can win, but he will be incorporated into a small stakes Each Way punt once the bookies push him out to a nice double figure price.
Past Their Sell By Dates
Designs on Rome and Blazing Speed were champions once. But now watch their recent races and listen to the resignation in the voices of their riders. They’re done. Toss.
New Kids on the Hong Kong Block
Secret Weapon could be one of the new kids on the Hong Kong block. He was impressive winning the Jockey Club Cup under Nash Rawilller. He has an interesting speed/stamina comibation pedigree being by Australian wonder sprinter Choisir, out of Montjeu mare. But even with Zac Purton aboard, 12/1 is not tempting enough. If a UK booke wants to make him 25/1 I might throw some Each Way spondulics their way. Former South African galloper Strongman now known as Horse of Fortune could surprise. He ran a respectable sixth as a long shot in the 2014 Cape Derby and has been compettiive in Hong Kong Group III company, including a win over Helene Paragaon over 9 furlongs when getting heaps of weight. 40-1 is a square price, but I will be happy to pass.
The French Raider
Andre Fabre’s Chantilly yard suffered from all sorts of well documented viruses this summer. Despite this Elliptique turned up in Germany and took a competitive Group I under Frankie Dettori. Elliptique ran next in the Prix Foy Arc trial, but was well held by Silverwave. Next Elliptique ran into Premio Roma and got handed a 7 length mauling by Andreas Wohler’s Potemkin. Pierre Charles Boudot has been breaking records in France and comes over for the one ride. That is interesting. 33/1 is superb value. If Andre Fabre has flown to Hong Kong for the race, I’m be more interested. Whether he has nor not, I don’t know.
The Dark Horse
Gun Pit is now 100/1 with several firms. The horse was intended for the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile and has designs on the Meydan Carnvial. He’s a dirt specialist, hence the price. But Gun Pit is no mug over turf. He was supplemented for the race. I have long been locked into Gun Pit after seeing him trial effortllessly last year. One just knows when one has seen a serious horse. You never forget it. And I can’t let Gun Pit run without backing him, whatever the price. Trainer Casper Fownes had said he is expecting to genrate a cheque for the owners. Mauritus rider Karis Teetan is a hot jockey.
Maurice Win 6/4 Paddy Power
Lovely Day Win and Each Way 14/1 Bet365, Bet Victor and Paddy Power
Gun Pit Each Way 100-1 Each Way Bet365, SkyBet, Bet Victor and Betfair
2nd Lovely Day
2nd Lovely Day, Queen’s Ring
3rd Queen’s Ring, Lovely Day
Use Lovely Day and Gun Pit in all exotics and Each Way Multiple Parlays.