Sprint time at Sha Tin, courtesy of Davy Lane, @loscharruas.
LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
Group 1, 1600m, HK$23m (£2m)
1650 local, 1950 AEDT, 0750 GMT
My Idea of the Winner
I cannot divine the winner here. Despite the presence of Able Friend, there is no obvious horse to beat. I have played four horses in the Ante Post market, with a plurality of punts going on Helene Paragon when 16/1 on most books. The horse formerly known as Sir Andrew is by out of High Chaparral mare and remains popular in Spain, where he was purchased. Hugh Bowman was wise not to push Helene Paragon once the door closed in the mile trial. Bowman was clearly thinking ahead. The Australian retains the ride and both he and trainer John Moore have been effusive in their praise of the horse’s preparation. Moore rates the horse his best chance in the race (which is a serious assessment since Able Friend is also in the race). I have played Neorealism in a few lines but only because of Ryan Moore. He suffered late interference when third last time in the Mile Championship at Kyoto, but the horse looked a spent force. Perhaps there is more speed to come or maybe Moore got as much zip out of him as he could last time. It’s hard to know. It seems he would better suited over 2000 Meters, but connections were proabably keen both to avoid Maurice in the Cup and keen to have Ryan Moore aboard. This invites questions about Cougar Mountain. Why is Moore not riding the O’Brien horse? I would posit it’s not Moore’s law. Cougar Mountain was partly bred Aiden’s wife and I think “The Lads” are comfortable with Donnacha taking the ride. He was drawn 14 of 14 in the Breeeders Cup and finished a fine 8th, only was 4 1/2 length off the protagonists, Tourist and Tepin, and ahead of Hit It A Bomb and Alice Springs, ridden by guess who: Ryan Moore. I suspect one or two of “The Lads” will be throwing bricks of Hong Kong dollars at the Sha Tin windows on Sunday. With Able Friend and the Magic Man in the race, Ryan Moore on a Japanese contender, and the likes of Bowman, Soumillon and Purton all booked, Cougar Mountain could be massive overs. The lads could all make out like bandits. (Anyone who watched Irish racing this past summer will recall plenty of ocassions when an O’Brien 2nd or 3rd or even 4th string romped home with one of the O’Brien clan aboard, either Donnacha or Ana.) Cougar Mountain is drawn lucky 7 and gets the firm ground he clearly needs. You have been warned! Finally, Satono Aladdin. A Deep Impact out of Storm Cat mare is probably all you need to know. This horse has been unlucky several times, was badly checked in the Mile Championship at Kyoto. He’s due. Moreover, he has taken the eye of railbirds at trackwork.
You Cannot Bet on Everything.
Logotype beat Maurice over the mile three starts back when Hironobu Tanabe caught Tommy Berry napping. Logotype is dropping back in trip. He’s out of a Sunday SIlence mare. And Mirco Demuro gets the ride. This makes him dangerous on many levels. At 7/1, I am happy to pass, but willing to swoop on the day if the English bookies dangle 12/1 or more. Sun Jewellery was right there in the Jockey Club Mile. He’s a live chance, but I’ll pass on the 6/1. Give me double figure on Size / de Sousa venture and I’ll think about it. If Eastern Express goes well in the Vase, Sun Jewellery maybe worth a punt. Beauty Only is probably Zac Purton’s best chance in the HKIR. For that reason, he can’t be so easily dismissed. If I can get 10/1 instead of 6/1, I’ll consider him.
Thanks, but No Thanks.
It’s three years since Romantic Touch beat Zoustar to win the Group I JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm. He went off a 96/1 chance last time out in the Jockey Club Mile and battled all the way to the line for a courageous 2nd. The race went his way, but it was clear he doesn’t the change of foot needed to burst through here. Toss. Packing Pins is complete no hoper here. I pity Maxine Guyon. Toss. Contentment is a 7 furlong horse who once promised to be a contender, but now has one way ticket to palookaville. Toss. Christophe Soumillon put Giant Treasure in exactly the right place in the mile trial, but according to Soumillon the horse had nothing when he pressed the button. Toss. Joyful Trinity came late in the Jockey Club mile, but was never getting there. He is a former Andre Fabre horse who showed promise in small fields. He could yet become something in Hong Kong. Toss. Beauty Flame provides a great opportunity for young local rider KC Leung to compete with the world’s best jockeys. Toss. Able Friend is on the comeback trail from an injury that would have seen most horses retired. This 2nd up race after a long layoff comes too soon, I fear. The Sha Tin mile begins in the shoot and there is a lot of straight racing before they turn for home. The 14 marble is not the concern for me. I take John Moore’s word that the horse may simply not be fit enough. Toss.
I have played four horses in this and may play another three either each way or in various multiples depending on how market moves on Sunday morning with respect to Logotype, Sun Jewellery and Beauty Only.
Cougar Mountain 40-1 Win and Each Way, SkyBet
Helene Paragon 12-1 Win and Each Way, Coral
Satono Aladdin 6-1 Win and Each Way, Bet Victor, Ladbrokes and William Hill
1st Cougar Mountain
2nd Satono Aladdin
3rd Helene Paragon
Use Cougar Mountain, Satono Aladdin, Helene Paragon and Neoliberalism in across the card Each Way multiples.