Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Sha Tin on Sunday, March 29th.
We're set for a 10-race card on the "A+3" course, with the first race set to get underway at 3.45pm AEDT.
Check out our race-by-race preview and betting tips below!
Best Bet: Race 7 - (13) War Of Courage
Best Value Bet: Race 4 - (1) Dream Warriors
We start the day with an odds-on favourite here in the form of (1) Hurricane Hunter but you can leave me out at that price. He ran the fastest final 400m in defeat last start and Moreira jumps back on today so he deserves favouritism, but I don't like the drop back from 1600m to 1400m. His two career wins have been when stepping up from 1200m to 1400m, as opposed to dropping back in distance. One at each way odds I'd rather be on (more so to place) is (8) Kwai Chung Elite. He completely missed the start last start and was never a factor. Forgive him for that and look at his form prior, when he was right around the mark of the minor placings. Grant van Niekerk jumps on tonight and he's in terrific form. One to include at huge odds is (13) Soccer Master. He's done zilch so far in his career but he wasn't beaten all that far first up last prep when caught three-wide the trip, and hsi only minor placing was over this track and distance. Light weight, very good draw, he is a blowout chance.
Tricky sort of race. (3) Above ran 2nd to London Hall last start and London Hall then came out and won again in better class than this, so the form line is strong. He matched the closing splits of the winner on that occasion and a repeat of that performance would see him hard to beat today. He gets a nice draw with Moreira back aboard too. The interesting runner is (4) Defining Moment. He ran over this track and distance two starts ago when given less than no chance by Dylan Mo, it was a horror show. He then dropped from 2000m to 1400m, and now steps straight back up to 2000m with Purton taking over. He's got a tough draw and doesn't win out of turn, but it's a scary set up. (5) Gala Night has found form and is looking for his third win in a row. He gets a plum draw to do so.
(9) Fantasy is the one to beat, no doubt, but again at $1.80 I'll be taking him on. He's had four top-two finishes from five career starts, but only one has been a win and that was back on debut. Since then, he's been defeated at odds of $2.10, $5.10, $2.40 and $2.50. Gets his chance again today with Moreira aboard from a good draw, but it's not like he's not had his chances to win. I loved the trial of (3) Handsome Bo Bo with Purton aboard and he takes the ride on race day. He's a horse that's raced in better class than this and has been more than competitive in similar races last season. He's fresh today with three trials under the belt and he moved very nicely in his most recent one. He draws one inside of Fantasy so he'll get a good run, the query is that he's only won three times from 25 starts. Purton would have had the choice to ride (2) Good Beauty who he won on two starts ago but he elects to stick with Bo Bo.
(1) Dream Warriors draws horribly here but the way he finished off the race last start was absolutely enormous. He ran a 22.08 800m-400m split and then ran his final 400m in 22.30sec. He'll be a long way back but if he finishes off like last start, he'll be flashing home late. (6) Natural Storm is at huge odds but he wasn't terrible on debut. He should naturally improve and with the good draw might run better than a $34 shot. (13) Iron King draws wide but I think he's a very strong winning chance on the back of his 2nd placing last start. I can't say the same about (12) City Legend who is a criminal price at $5.00. He draws barrier 1 but this horse is the Tom Melbourne of Hong Kong racing and hasn't won a single race in 25 starts. How he's $5.00 I'll never know. (8) Incanto Prepared a deserved favourite.
Another odds-on favourite for Moreira here and he probably wins but again he's very short. (5) Jade Phoenix is the horse I refer to and he's knocking on the door for a win after three placings to open his career. He was beaten a neck last start and he's another horse that's had his chances to date, but he does still have improvement to come with racing. He gets a gun draw in barrier 4. With that said, we get one of the all-time Hong Kong racing pearls in action here with Purton going straight onto a class-dropper in (2) Grade One. We see this time and time again, horses drop in class, Purton goes straight on and they win. He's been racing fairly well in Class 3 but lines up in Class 4 today for the first time since May 2018, where he won. The draw hurts a lot but I'll stick to the pearl that's made me plenty of money over time.
The theme of the day continues with Moreira and Purton dominating the market. This will be an interesting tactical battle with Moreira drawn 1 and Purton in 4. (1) Juneau Park sat right behind the leaders last start from a similar draw and got the run of the race before prevailing narrowly in a two-horse battle down the straight. From the inside gate, he'll do exactly the same today, but don't be surprised to see Zac try and pocket him from barier 4. He's on (2) Sam's Love. He rode him to victory three starts ago, then jumped off when the horse lost by a length, and got back on last start where he was unlucky not to win, ultimately ging down by a short-half-head. We can tie these two horses in together through the likes of Casmiro and there really isn't much splitting them at all. I'll go with Purton again here and have Sam's Love on top.
Keen on (13) War Of Courage here. He's yet to miss the placings from four career starts. He won two starts ago where he drew barrier 1 (not easy to win from over 1000m straight course) and beat Fantasy (good form line). Last start he was beaten a half length by (4) Allied Agility and he gets a 4.5kg weight swing on that horse today. Perhaps more importantly, he draws barrier 12 which is a fantastic draw in the 1000m straight races. He's a clear top pick. (8) Larson ran 3rd behind Allied Agility and War Of Courage in that race and then ran 2nd to the hugely talented Wellington last start. He's drawn 1 here which isn't ideal but $6.00 looks a decent price for him. (6) Valiant Dream not hopeless. Backing War Of Courage and saving on Larson.
Tricky race and not too confident here but once again the Hong Kong pearl arises with Purton jumping straight onto a class-dropper in (1) Superich, who he also rode in a recent trial win. He's a horse that showed huge promise early but has failed to go on with it. If he doesn't go close today he might really struggle to win again any time soon. Gets his chance. (4) Toycoon looks set to peak third up here. He was a winner over 1500m and 1600m in Australia and has been building to this race with his first two runs in Hong Kong. I wouldn't leave out (3) Horsesain Bolt who was good on his Hong Kong debut before a poor performance last start. Forgive him for that.
Add in (4) Band Of Brothers to the list of Purton class-droppers for the day. The last time he raced in Class 3, he sat three-wide the trip and went down by less than a length. He's since raced three times in Class 2 company and has been beaten less than 1.5L in two of them. Back in class today, Puton on, good draw and should be very hard to beat. Moreira goes on (13) Enzemble for Douglas Whyte. He's placed in his past four starts an drops to 52kg today. There's no reason he can't win this but he's running out of chances. With any other rider (10) Smart Patch wuld be a bet but Alex Lai fills me with zero confidence. I think the value is (9) Cot Campbell. I have a theory that he just races best at Sha Tin and just doesn't go at all at Happy Valley. His past three runs at Sha Tin have all been good. (7) Monica is racing well and has to be respected.
The draw is horrible but (3) Perfect Match goes on top. He's won his past two starts over 1400m and drops back to 1200m today. His most recent victory was actually in Class 1 so the drop back to Class 2 today is a plus. Purton jumps off a last-start winner to take the ride here and he rode him in a recent trial too. He's a smart horse and $6.00 is a great price regardless of the poor gate. (5) Duke Wai is the horse to beat. He's just bombproof with five wins and four placings from 11 career starts. He was narrowly beaten last start when dropping back to 1000m but he's back up to 1200m today and gets a gun draw. He's never missed the top two at this track and distance. (10) Transcendant was the horse Purton rode to victory last start, which was his Hong Kong debut. He draws the inside gate here which is a big plus, but he goes straight up in class to a strong class 2, so that might just come too soon.
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