Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Sha Tin on Sunday, December 8th.
It's 2019 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races this afternoon, featuring four huge international Group 1s: the HK Sprint, HK Mile, HK Cup and HK Vase!
@Tim_Tips' has previewed all of the key races below.
The first Group 1 on the day is the Hong Kong Vase over 2400m, which sees some of the best stayers from Europe, Japan and Hong Kong clash. (1) Exultant is the best of the locals. He won this race last year and has a terrific overall record at this track and distance, with three wins and a 2nd from four starts. He comes into this on the back of a really strong performance in the Jockey Club Cup over 2000m, and that should have him spot on for today. He's drawn wide in barrier 14, which isn't ideal, but five of the last six winners have started from barriers 9-12 , so it's not the worst. He's the horse to beat but there's some strong international opposition this year. The Japanese have a very strong contingent. (10) Diedre is a dual Group 1 winner, once in Japan and once in Britain. She's done all of her recent racing in the UK, but she has been here twice before. She ran 2nd in the Hong Kong Cup this time last year, before a midfield finish in the QEII Cup in April. The big query with Deidre is the fact she's never run over this distance and when she's stepped up beyond 2000m she's so far failed to produce anything. I have to oppose her today based on that. (11) Lucky Lilac has improved this prep and comes into this off her first Group 1 win in Japan, which was over 2200m. On that, you'd suggest the 2400m wouldn't be a problem. She did run 3rd in the Japanese Oaks last year which was over this distance and I think she's going better this time around. Drawn the inside and Christophe Soumillon is in the saddle. (13) Anthony Van Dyck is a bit like Highland Reel, who won this race twice. He won the Epsom Derby (G1) back in June and has since raced in Ireland and the US. The form behind Enable, Magical and Bricks Of Mortar is obviously some of the strongest in the world and if he runs to his best today, he'll be very hard to beat. (2) Glory Vase might be a bit of value in the race at $21. Moreira rides him and he should be better suited second up. Anthony Van Dyck on top, Exultant and Lucky Lilac to fill the placings.
THe Hong Kong Sprint sees an up-and-coming superstar start a very short-priced favourite. (14) Aethero has won five of his six career starts and there's little doubt he should be undefeated. He beat most of these in the Jockey Club Sprint last start and basically meets them at the same weights. The barrier draw in 10 isn't ideal as his main rivals have all drawn well inside him, but really the key is just him jumping clean from the gates. If he does that, he should be able to get across and lead, but if he steps slowly he's going to be in trouble. We saw him jump slowly first up and that was all she wrote, so against this quality line up, he'll need to do everything right. But if he does, he should win again. Zac Purton has wasted down to 53kg, the lightest he's ridden in years, and he doesn't do that without good reason! (4) Hot King Prawn was terrific in defeat to Aethero last start. That was his first run after nearly a year off the track due to colic issues. It showed he was back to his best and he will surely only improve off that run. He's undefeated from four starts second up from a spell, so if you're not keen to take the odds-on about the favourite, the $2.00 for Hot King Prawn to place ($7.00 to win) is a little bit juicier. He's drawn the inside gate too, which is a big plus for him as he'll sit box seat behind Aethero. (1) Beat The Clock also ran well for 3rd behind Aethero and like Hot King Prawn, that was his first start back from a spell. He at least gets a little weight swing in his favour today. He's yet to win from four starts when second up but he's also yet to miss a place. I think he'll run well but I don't think he'll win. (3) Mr Stunning is a little bit of the forgotten horse. He's won this race the last two years and he normally improves significantly from his first up run to his second up run, so expect him to finish much closer than he did first up. He's a big price at $21. (11) Full Of Beauty next best.
Another fascinating race! (1) Beauty Generation - what do we do? On his best form, he'd be $1.20 in this, but I personally think he's cooked. He's been well below par his past two starts. Two starts back you could possibly understand as he was slightly flat in the same race last year and was weighted terribly, but last start he was in much better at the weights and still offered little. It's hard for me to see him turning it around. That means I'll be in the camp of the Japanese and Damian Lane with (2) Indy Champ. This is a dual Group 1 winner and he comes here after winning the G1 Mile Championship at Tokyo last start. He's won six from nine overall at the mile and from barrier 3 he should get a perfect run. If Beauty Generation turns up at his best, he will win, but if he shows up like he has in his past two, I think Indy Car's got him. (4) Waikuku was the winner of the Jockey Club Mile last start, where he defeated the likes of Beauty Generation. He's no hack and his two runs prior to that were both very good as well. I just think Indy Champ has the better of the HK horses. (10) Normcore is a Japanese mare who won a G3 first up leading into today's race. At the end of last prep she won the G1 Victoria Mile. She's undefeated from three starts at the distance so she's not hopeless at all, but in terms of the Japanese form I'd suggest Indy Champ's is stronger. (9) Admire Mars was 4.3L off Normcore first up but he's a dual Group 1 winner at this distance and has won five of his six starts at 1600m overall. Might be worth including him at $21.
I'm quite keen on the Japanese again here with (1) Win Bright. He's had two runs back from a spell which both appear to be poor, but he did similar in his first two starts last prep before coming good. Last prep he ran 10th and 9th first and second up from his spell, before coming out and winning a G3 third up over 2000m in Japan. He then dropped to 1800m and won a G2, before coming to Hong Kong and winning the G1 QEII Cup in April over this track and distance. Overall he's had two wins and a 2nd from three starts when third up and although his win in the QEII Cup was his only Group 1 win from six attempts, I really think that race was probably harder than what he faces today, so if he brings a similar performance, he'll win again. (6) Furore bounced back to form with a 2nd placing behind Exultant in the Jockey Club Cup last start. He's drawn barrier 1 for a sweet run today and he'd only have to repeat his performance last start to be very competitive. (2) Rise High surprised everyone with an upset victory first up over Waikuku and Beauty Generation. He failed to reproduce that last start and that makes me a bit suspect over him at 2000m. He's had two starts third up from a spell and is yet to place in either so I have some question marks over him today and therefore won't be touching $5.00. (7) Magic Wand poses the biggest threat to Win Bright. She's been racing in high quality Group 1 races all year and has been very competitive. Her form behind the likes of Magical, Bricks Of Mortar and Lys Gracieux looks very good. Her 2000m record is also outstanding and her last-start victory in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington was deserved. From barrier 2 she should be highly competitive. Backing Win Bright and saving on Magic Wand.
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