The Hong Kong Derby is the premier race for four-year-olds in Hong Kong and is considered one of the biggest races on the Hong Kong racing calendar. Owners in Hong Kong often pay huge amounts of money for horses from Europe and Australia specifically to set them for this race, with prize money for the winner in excess of HK$10million.
14 runners are set to line up over the 2000m, a distance which is traditionally a query for many runners in the race. Let's take a look at the chances of each runner:
SUN JEWELLERY: Highest rated runner in the race with 8 wins from 11 starts. Bidding to become the first horse ever to do the 4YO treble after winning both the HK Mile and HK Classic Cup. Doubts over his ability to run 2000m but based on his last win I see no reason why he can't, especially from barrier 4. Ryan Moore takes the ride, he's a huge chance.
WERTHER: Ran 2nd behind Magicool in the 2015 QLD Derby before being sold to HK where he has performed incredibly well. Has been beaten by Sun Jewellery at his past two starts but had excuses in both. We know for a fact he will run 2000m strong and he draws perfectly in barrier 3. Hugh Bowman takes the ride and I think he's your winner.
BLIZZARD: Has finished 3rd behind Sun Jewellery and Werther in his past two starts and he's not been far behind them at all. Has trialed well leading into this but I have doubts over whether he can turn the tables and also if he is as suited at 2000m as Werther might be. Don't think he's quite a $13 chance so that looks a nice each way price.
GIOVANNI CANALETTO: Had formlines behind Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and Bondi Beach back in the UK before being sold to HK. This will be only his third start in HK but his last start was very encouraging when he finished off very well to run 5th, beaten one length, behind Sun Jewellery, Werther and Blizzard. He will definitely get 2000m and Moreira has chosen to ride him so he has strong claims.
HELENE PARAGON: Strong win over 1800m last start in Class 2. Up 4kg from that win and this is obviously a significantly stronger race but he should get 2000m and Moreira also seems to think he is a main chance. He will go back from the wide barrier so he will have a big task ahead of him.
FRIENDS OF KA YING: Formerly known as Almalad in Australia. Won two starts ago over 1400m in Class 2 before finishing midfield in the Classic Cup. From the wide barrier they will take him back again and he won't be good enough from back there.
KING GENKI: European import that had his first HK start in the Classic Cup. Started at 100/1 and dropped out horribly so deserves his 150/1 odds here!
CONSORT: One of the more interesting runners in the race. Rumoured to have been bought for HK$20million but has failed to deliver in 3 starts in HK so far. Has since had several gear changes which seem to have switched him on though. Cheek pieces, crossover nose band and tongue tie all removed but blinkers added for the first time. His two trials with blinkers on have seen huge improvement. He'll go back from the wide draw but he looks big odds at 25/1 based on recent improvement with the blinkers on.
VICTORY MAGIC: Unbelievably still a maiden after 13 career starts, despite racing in Class 2 in Hong Kong. Hasn't missed a place yet this prep and John Moore said they learned at his last start that he can't hit the front too early. Racing well, draws perfectly, Purton booked to ride for the Derby and he will run the distance. All positives so expecting a decent showing.
HERO LOOK: Not racing well enough in his most recent starts to suggest he will be competitive here. Doubts over whether he will get the 2000m and from the wide draw he will be looking to work across early. Not for me.
GREEN DISPATCH: Beaten a combined 37.5L in three Hong Kong starts so far. 250/1 looks unders.
EASTERN EXPRESS: Put together two good wins in Class 3 before dead-heating for 3rd in the Classic Cup behind Sun Jewellery and Werther last start. His win two starts back was over 2000m and he carried a big weight that day so there's no doubting he will get the trip. Barrier 5 is ideal and he will be up on speed for a long way.
WHITE MAGIC: The fourth of John Moore's runners engaged and Blake Shinn flies in to take the ride. Has been racing okay in Class 2 but was comprehensively beaten in the Classic Cup so despite the good draw he won't be troubling the first few here.
LUCKY GIRL: Surprise inclusion in the field and despite what his name suggests, Lucky Girl is actually a boy. Produced a very strong win in Class 3 two starts ago and should have won last start but De Sousa butchered the ride. I think he'll run the 2000m and from barrier 1 should get a great run. Not the worst hope.
Historically those with the highest ratings in the race tend to go best in the Derby. I've been keen on Werther ever since his slashing win on his HK debut and his past two starts haven't changed my mind, despite him being defeated both times by Sun Jewellery. The difference is, the 2000m will suit Werther better and we know for sure he will run the trip out strongly. He's drawn perfectly and I'm pretty keen on his chances here.
Sun Jewellery is trying to become the first horse to win the four-year-old triple header. There are some doubts over his ability to run 2000m but given he has won two Group 1's over 1600m and 1800m at his past two starts it's hard to think he'll struggle. He's drawn to get a great run with Ryan Moore on board and with a record of 8 wins from 11 starts he is definitely a huge chance to win this.
Giovanni Canaletto is just about equal favourite for the race after a great run last start in the Classic Cup. That was only his second start in Hong Kong and he will be much better suited up to 2000m. Moreira has chosen to ride him over Helene Paragon so that is a hint in itself. He should go well.
Perhaps the most interesting runner in the race is Consort who has struggled at all three starts in Hong Kong. However, he's received a stack of gear changes and his efforts at the trials with the blinkers on have been significantly better. With blinkers on for the first time in a race here it will be interesting to see how he goes, but I am expecting him to run a big race at 25/1.
Others to include are Blizzard, Victory Magic and Eastern Express.
2nd SUN JEWELLERY
4th VICTORY MAGIC
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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