Today sees the running of two International Group 1 races at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, including the Chairman's Sprint featuring Chautauqua and Buffering! In the Group 1 Champions Mile, Godolphin's Bow Creek will take on the likes of Japanese superstar Maurice.
We have comments on every runner and betting tips for both Group 1 races frm Hong Kong!
CHAUTAUQUA: $2.50 favourite which looks reasonable based on his win in the TJ Smith. The Sha Tin straight will give him every chance to wind up and charge home. This is a very good field but if he performs to his best he will win.
AEROVELOCITY: Major concern is that he is not 100% following a colic attack whilst in Japan, which forced him to be scratched ahead of the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen. If he was at his best, he'd be my top pick, but I know he isn't 100%. Would still love to see him win.
GOLD FUN: Has the ability to win this. Never finished outside the top 2 over 1200m at Sha Tin from 6 attempts and he draws to get the run of the race in midfield. Comes into this fresh from a little break and I expect him to go very well.
PENIAPHOBIA: Won the G1 HK Spring over this track and distance back in December. Ran 3rd to Buffering last start in Dubai. The gate means he will probably come across to sit outside Buffering, but I doubt they will lead him. Place chance.
BUFFERING: One of Australia's favourite horses! Huge win in Dubai last start where he ran his best ever time over 1000m. Barrier 3 is ideal for him - he will lead and be there for a long way but I think he'll find a few too good today. Place chance at best.
NOT LISTENIN'TOME: Good win two starts back with a big weight in Class 1 over 1000m but failed to fire in Dubai last start. Hard to see him being good enough to win this on the back of that performance and the gate makes it even harder.
LUCKY BUBBLES: New kid on the block and this is the toughest race of his career. On the back of his latest win in Group 2 company he deserves his shot and might just measure up here. Never finished outside the top 2 over this course and distance from 7 attempts, and 5 of those have been wins! Perfectly drawn, can win.
MONGOLIAN SATURDAY: Group 1 sprint winner in the USA but failed at his last start which was in the HK Sprint in December. Comes into this first up where he's never finished outside the top 2, draws well and could run better than last time. Probably not quite good enough though.
CHARLES THE GREAT: Not good enough at this level and doesn't have much improvement in his 7 year old legs after 50 starts.
SUPER JOCKEY: Another one that's not good enough at this level and barrier 13 makes his task even tougher. Beaten nearly 7 lengths in Dubai last start and deserves his 200/1 quote.
AMAZING KIDS: Talented horse that is another of the new kids coming through the ranks. Ran well to finish 2nd behind Lucky Bubbles last start, despite being beaten 2 lengths. Maybe not quite up to this level just yet but will be in the future.
THEWIZARDOFOZ: Moreira chooses to ride this horse instead of Peniaphobia who is already a Group 1 winner so that is interesting. Drops back to 1200m where he is undefeated. Draw is slightly awkward and I don't think he's quite ready or good enough for this kind of race just yet. $7.50 looks awfully short.
STRATHMORE: Handy sprinter on his day but not good enough at this level.
DIVINE BOY: Another one that is handy but nowhere near good enough to win this.
Tremendous race. If Aerovelocity was at his best I'd have him winning this but there are big concerns over his health following a colic attack and he's not 100% so I can't back him here. That leaves Chautauqua very hard to beat and he should get every chance with the long straight at Sha Tin. Everyone loves Buffering but I don't see him running a place here - this is much harder than what he faced in Dubai. Gold Fun back to 1200m and first up from a short break appeals at a nice price, while Lucky Bubbles is the new kid on the block and might just beat them all.
2nd GOLD FUN
3rd LUCKY BUBBLES
MAURICE: This horse is a superstar. Winner of the Hong Kong Mile back in December where he defeated subsequent Group 1 winner Giant Treasure and HK superstar Able Friend. Undefeated first up, draws perfectly, hard to see anything beating him here.
CONTENTMENT: Won his first Group 1 two starts back over 1400m and that's probably his best distance, not 1600m. Still, he will get a great run from the barrier and can run a place.
GIANT TREASURE: Winner of the Group 1 Stewards Cup over this distance two starts back but failed over 2000m last start. Has since won two trials leading into this and he can run a good race back to his best distance. Draw makes it a bit tricky.
BEAUTY FLAME: A horse that is good in Group 2 company but can't quite crack it in Group 1 company. Ran a great race last start though in a G1 over 1400m, but he got the race run to suit him that day. Draws well, has won a trial coming into this but 1600m might test him out and hard to see him beating Maurice.
BEAUTY ONLY: Much like his stablemate - he's a good Group 2 horse but not quite good enough to win at Group 1 level. He has run well in Group 1 company though and his win over 1600m in a Group 2 last start makes him competitive here.
BOW CREEK: Won a Group 2 over 1800m in quite dominant fashion three starts back but subsequently failed over 2000m at his next start. Finished 5th in the Doncaster behind Winx last start but was beaten 7.5 lengths. Draw makes it tricky for him, interesting to see how he measures up.
GUN PIT: Not good enough at this level on turf.
SAFETY CHECK: Godolphin horse that has won his last two races, both in Dubai and both at Group 2 level. Draws very nicely in barrier 4 here. Tough to line up his form as the formline is completely foreign, but he's in very good form and could run very well. Keen to see how he goes.
REWARDING HERO: Not quite good enough at this level but did run well in Group 2 company last start, though it was in a small field. Looking elsewhere.
DUNDONNELL: Another one that's not quite up to Group 1 standard and I'm not sure 1600m is his best distance either. I think he's better over 1200m so hard to see him having an impact here.
SECRET WEAPON: Nice horse that might progress into a genuine Group 1 horse next prep but he showed two starts back that he's not quite there yet. Beaten 2.5L by Beauty Only last start over 1600m in a Group 2 so hard to see him winning this. $10 with Bet365 but $34 available elsewhere!
PACKING PINS: Nice progressive horse who still has improvement to come. Think his best distance is probably 1400m but can still go well over 1600m. Sure to strip fitter today 2nd up from a spell and from the good barrier he will get a great run. Could go very well at 20/1.
Maurice is incredibly hard to beat here and deserves to be odds on. I still think the price is quite good because I genuinely don't see any of these beating him if he performs to his best. Contentment, Giant Treasure and Safety Check all have strong place claims, while Packing Pins is the most inexperienced horse in the race but might give a bold showing. Beauty Flame and Beauty Only can be thereabouts, while it will be interesting to see how Bow Creek measures up.
2nd SAFETY CHECK
3rd GIANT TREASURE
4th PACKING PINS
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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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