By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

This is the first piece in English on my thoughts for the races in Hong Kong starting with the meeting at Sha Tin this afternoon. Thanks to those who have given me this opportunity. I can’t guarantee that you will win, but maybe these thoughts and selections can be added to what you like.

My selections are based on what I have seen during track work and trials plus jockey bookings, previous form over a similar distance, ratings and the more interesting information heard from stables and the owners I know.

I’ll try not to give you the obvious favourites though sometimes these odds blow out in the betting as money comes in for other horses.

Wednesday night’s race results were not totally surprising except in r7 where Eddy Lai won on Young Empire at almost 60 to 1 for the HKJC Racing Club. The results for the first four in this race are extremely difficult to grasp other than the more fancied runners being “unlucky” in the running. Maybe the heat and humidity of the night melted them? Maybe Kat wailing in the Beer Garden had rocked and rolled them over?

To me, the most interesting money of the night went on the Caspar Fownes-trained Premium Champion. Of its four runners on the night, this was apparently not considered a winning chance by some close to the stable despite the horse being ridden two pounds overweight by Zac Purton. Chance or no chance, stable or unstable, the money had to come from somewhere. Despite coming second, the QP with the two race favourites- winner Super Form and third placed Enormous Honour- paid a very good return of $53 and $57, respectively.

Zac Purton, meanwhile, was supposed to have a very good day and was sent out the $1.80-$2 favourite in the Jockey Challenge. His best chances? His rides in the last three races. But despite all being favourites, none even placed. Perhaps they should be followed when the weather becomes a bit cooler while looking closely at the work between now and then and any surprising jockey bookings.

Today’s races are quite ordinary with there being three 1000 metre sprints and a couple of all-weather races. I am not going to get involved in the meeting as I am currently in Sydney. There are some very good horses running in Australia today which interest me including of course Winx. One must congratulate everyone associated with the marketing of the mighty mare.

If only there were now more people actually attending the races in New South Wales and Victoria. To many, it’s too inconvenient and takes too much time traveling to and from even by Uber with nothing much in the way of on-course entertainment to entice them to attend. And those in Hong Kong find travelling from Hong Kong side to Sha Tin- 25 minutes by taxi- a hassle.

In Hong Kong, the Jockey Challenge looks very open and I don’t think that Joao Moreira has rides that could be considered standouts. Gran Master (3), the favourite in R5 was considered a “roarer” after its last start whereas Top Beautiful (11) in R9 is racing up a class and drawn an unfavourable barrier 3 over the 1000m scamper where there are some very fast horses and drawn favourably.

Matthew Poon has some decent rides, but today might be the day to again follow Karis Teetan and also Umberto Rispoli, Brett Prebble and, ten pound claiming apprentice Dylan Mo.

Saturday racing in Hong Kong, once the only racing in town in the Sixties and early Seventies when there was only Happy Valley racecourse, just doesn’t seem “right” in this day and age with Hong Kong racing having come so far.

Most people have a half day’s work and with races in the unpredictable lower classes, something for the city’s “racing uncles” and the full-time and professional punters betting online.

RACE 1

Hopefully you miss this weak Class 4 race. It’s not worth even watching. Something will win and it won’t mean anything. You’re not going to be a millionaire bothering with this.

RACE 2

BEEKELY (5)
MANFUL STAR (8)
PEACEFUL COMBINATION (7)

RACE 3

AMRITSARIA (5)

Could be Brett Prebble’s first winner of the season at reasonable odds. He’s bred for this surface and work has been good. Hardest to beat are RHODE ASSASSIN (4) with Neil Callan aboard and especially HAPPY BEAUTY (3), the mount of Dylan Mo. FAITHFUL BOY with the blinkers off for the first time and the ride of the in-form Karis Teetan should be included in Quartet bets.

RACE 4

GOOD METHOD (2)

Very unlucky not to have won his last start. Surprisingly, Joao Moreira jumps off to ride Laughing Lord, which I cannot see winning leaving Zac Purton with a great chance to ride another winner.

FOXBAY (4)

AMBITIOUS SPEEDY (2)

RACE 5

GRAN MASTER (5)

QUINELLA AND QP LEGS: HINYUEN SWIFTNESS (3) SURE PEACE (8)

RACE 6

VALUE CHANCE: AUTOPAY (11)

Drawn barrier 4 over 1400 metres and carrying a featherweight with Dylan Mo’s claim.

RACE 7

ADVENTURER (3)
PREMIERE (13)
FLYING TOURBILLON (9)
BULLISH SMART (11)

RACE 8

TRAVEL EMPEROR (11) will be the short priced favourite, but drawn barrier 11 and racing up a class over 1200 metres won’t make things easy. I prefer TURF SPRINT (1), FANTASTIC EIGHT (4) and MARVEL TRIBE (2).

Former Perth stayer WHO DAT SINGA (6), and purchased for a ridiculous price with last year’s Hong Kong Derby in mind, now tackles this 1200 metre race in Class 3 after two poor efforts last season over 1400 metres on the all-weather track. Of course they were poor: the horse was a stayer in Perth and supposedly going places. Who knows? Who are you going to trust in this game?

Even the booking of the in-form Karis Teetan for Who Dat Sing and a decent trial cannot persuade me into looking at this is a galloper that should never have been purchased for such a stupid price.

Add to this, the horse has had a most unusual preparation since being pretty quickly switched from the stable of Richard Gibson to that of Manfred Man. Word is that the connections are still miffed with trainer J Size for not having any room at his inn for a galloper who, one hears might be returning to Perth to resume his singing career and return to some form of sanity.

RACE 9

MONEY BOY (7)
ACE KING (6)
TOP BEAUTIFUL (11)
BIG TIME BABY (1)

RACE 10

Trainer Peter Ho has made a number of gear changes to HAY RUN (8) so bear this in mind. Keith Yeung rides who’s still to get off the mark this season and doesn’t do that much riding for this stable.

The very honest WINSTON’S LAD (6) with Neil Callan up should at least place. I have never been a fan of Green Card which again is sure to be under the odds.

I don’t remember the last time Nash Rawiller has ridden for Caspar Fownes but he rides GONNA RUN 4) here, his second ride for the stable this afternoon, and definitely in with a chance in what looks an extremely open race where KINGFIELD (1), the ride of Matthew Poon is sure to start a short-priced favourite.

The Richard Gibson-trained galloper and going for his third straight win can be toppled without surprising. Remember the Ides Of March and favourite Litterateur for the same stable on Wednesday which plodded to the line in fifth place in what was a rubbish run.

In case you need it, take some good joss stone for company to Sha Tin.

#ShaTin #EddyLai #YoungEmpire #BeerGarden #CasparFownes #PremiumChampion #ZacPurton #JockeyChallenge #JoaoMoreira #KarisTeetan #UmbertoRispoli #BrettPrebble #DylanMo