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Hong Kong Internationals preview

Hong Kong International raceday preview from international racing aficionado, Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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Champions Mile
G1, 1600m, 1m, HK$18,000,000
Race 6 Sha Tin, 0820 BST, 1520 Local Time, 1720 AEST
(PRICES LISTED ARE BEST AVAILABLE FRIDAY AFTERNOON)
Beauty Generation (7/2): Two times G1 winner this season in the Mile on International Day and over 7f in February. Had a big weight last time when every chance 5th. Deserves to be one of the chances back to level weights.

2 Helene Paragon (SCRATCHED):

Seasons Bloom (15/8): Winner of the trial race of the International Mile in November before not much luck in that. Subsequent G1 Stewards’ Cup victor and then 3rd in the Gold Cup over 10f. Back to preferred mile distance deserves favouritism.

4 Beauty Only (9/1): Won Hong Kong Mile in 2016 and narrow 2nd in this 12 months ago. Won trial race off a hot pace last time. Will need similar luck again here.

5 Western Express (10/1): Little unlucky when 2nd in the trial race last time, when a bit short of room. Also second in HK Mile. Little bit disappointing in a couple of other G1’s this season, should be thereabouts.

Blizzard (30/1): Has only run over 1m or further three times in this country, the three 4YO series races, Classic Mile, Cup and Derby, for two thirds and distanced in the Derby. Interesting to see him go for this one rather than the Sprint. Last start 5th in Japan G1 over 6f to Fine Needle, who runs in the Sprint, was far from a bad run knowing how hard it is to beat locals in their own country and was also 5th in their other G1 sprint in October. Will find a couple too good likely over a mile.

7 Southern Legend (14/1): Fourth at G1 level this season, game win last time in strong handicap with big weight, fought back very well when headed, each-way chance.

Pingwu Spark (9/1): One of the biggest horses in the country, weighing more than 1300lb! Won five of six this season progressing through the handicaps before taking on the big guns and far from disgraced.

Singapore Sling (11/1): G2 winner in native South Africa of a primary Guineas trial. Very consistent throughout the 4YO series with a second in the mile, won the 9f G1 and then only finding one better in the Derby. Drops back two furlongs, 11/1 not bad value going on last three runs!

Ratings: (3) SEASONS BLOOM (9) SINGAPORE SLING - (7) SOUTHERN LEGEND - (1) BEAUTY GENERATION - (8) PINGWU SPARK - (5) WESTERN EXPRESS - (4) BEAUTY ONLY - (6) BLIZZARD

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Chairman’s Sprint Prize
G1, 1200m, 6f, HK$16,000,000
Race 7 Sha Tin, 0900 BST1600 Local Time, 1800 AEST
(PRICES LISTED ARE BEST AVAILABLE FRIDAY MORNING)

1 Mr Stunning (9/4): Winner of Sprint in December, two seconds since at G1 and G2 level. Sam Clipperton rides for the first time, with Nash Rawiller in custody. Narrowly beaten by Beat The Clock last time, when having a bigger weight. Back to level weights the one to beat. Narrow second here 12 months ago.

2 Beat The Clock (7/2): Got first run on the favourite last time and was able to beat him with less weight. Two G1 silvers before that.One of the main chances.

3 Lucky Bubbles (12/1): Second and first in the last two renewals of this. Last of eight in January G1 when always towards the rear however the last split was the quickest so run probably wasn’t as bad as looked.

Thewizardofoz (40/1): 10th here two years ago and fourth last year. Hasn’t run since ok run when midfield in December Sprint.Can’t see him winning.

5 Amazing Kids (50/1): 5th and 6th in the last two runnings of this. Probably better down the straight 5f track. Never a chance in G2 trial earlier this month.

6 Blue Point (5/1): Charlie Appleby has just come out and said he is the best sprinter I’ve had anything to do with. Was expected to be stable’s best chance on Cup night in Dubai but was withdrawn 60 seconds before the Turf G1 Sprint, which was subsequently won by stable second stringer. Take note, a European trained horse has never won the Hong Kong Sprint in December. So it’s fair to say the Euro sprinters often struggle when taking on the locals on home turf. Narrowly beaten on seasonal debut in Dubai, form against Caravaggio and Harry Angel etc last year can’t be knocked.

7 Fine Needle (10/1): Japanese raider that gave Godolphin their first ever Japanese G1 in 6f sprint last time. Will arguably have to improve a couple more lengths to win this but.

Peniaphobia (100/1): Veteran that hasn’t won for more than a year and is racing nowhere near as well as he can. Couldn’t go with the favourites when asked last time.

Ivictory (8/1): X Factor of not just this race but arguably of all three of the G1’s. Has been running in handicap company and has won six of seven including breaking the 6f track record at Happy Valley. Couldn’t have won any easier last time at HV. Only problem is Joao Moreira deserts him for Beat The Clock. 

Ratings: (1) MR STUNNING - (6) BLUE POINT - (2) BEAT THE CLOCK - (7) FINE NEELDE - (3) LUCKY BUBBLES - (4) THEWIZARDOFOZ - (5) AMAZING KIDS - (8) PENIAPHOBIA

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Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup
G1, 2000m10f, HK$24,000,000
Race 8 Sha Tin, 0940 BST1640 Local Time, 1840 AEST
(PRICES LISTED ARE BEST AVAILABLE FRIDAY MORNING)

Time Warp (5/2): Winner of two of the three all age G1 showpieces in this country this season. Weakened last time when working too hard over a mile, definitely worth another chance.Became first horse ever to break two minutes over 10f here in the Gold Cup two back.

2 Al Ain (11/2): Classic winner in native Japan of their Guineas 12 months ago. G1 third in Japan last time over 10f.

Pakistan Star (10/1): One of the more controversial horses around anywhere. Displayed extraordinary ability to win his first couple of races and these days sometimes refuses to race. 2nd here 12 months ago. Hasn’t won since December 2016. Too risky to back surely. Big run last time when again reluctant after 2f and flying home for fourth.

Danburite (16/1): Consistent in the Japanese classics last year. G2 victory this season and sixth at G1 level last time. Highly doubt good enough to win at G1 level.

Ping Hai Star (13/8): Derby winner last time under yet again another marvellous Ryan Moore ride. Joao Moreira rides here as Ryan is committed in France today to ride Rhododendron in the Prix de l’Inauguration de ParisLongchamp, otherwise the Prix Ganay. Four starts for four wins this season, and Derby winners have a very good record in this.

Eagle Way (33/1): G3 winner at Happy Valley in January. Flew home last time at same track when just failing, but this is a tough task. Former Queensland Derby winner.

Gold Mount (12/1): Came from last to win along the running rails at Happy Valley last time narrowly denying Eagle Way. Was known as Primitivo in the UK and won at Royal Ascot 2016.

Dizozzo (33/1): G2 sixth last time out when every chance, a couple of lengths off the best.

Ratings: (5) PING HAI STAR - (1) TIME WARP - (3) PAKISTAN STAR - (2) AL AIN - (4) DANBURITE - (6) EAGLE WAY - (7) GOLD MOUNT - (8) DIZOZZO


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