With a monthly Saturday card going off in Sha Tin, we’ll choose an early Race of the Day to accommodate the East Coast of the US, where the local post time is 1 AM.
Race 1 is a 1200M Class 4. The field looks top heavy, but may have a vulnerable favorite and perhaps some live longshots to spice up the exotics.
#1 Mordicus brings a lot of speed to the table, and earned the top speed figure in the field in the Sha Tin finale over the same class and distance. He was overhauled in that one, finishing 6th, but was only beaten less than 3 lengths, in a race in which the winner was 2 lengths clear. Throw out the race 2 back, when he was taken out of his game with a slow break. As the high weight once again, he has a positive “bet-on” angle, switching from Kei Chiong to Zac Purton, who is overdue to get going. Solid today, and could be tough to catch in the opener as the 2nd choice.
#2 None Other has some similar form to Mordicus. While Mordicus probably is faster from the gate, None Other also has a the speed to be competitive early, and from the 1 hole is liable to gun for it early. He was 2nd last out, but earned a much slower speed figure than Mordicus (72 vs. 88), and the last several figures of last season were all below par for the level. That said, he gets the biggest jockey change in the business, going from the low percentage Jack Wong to the dominant Joao Moreira. Dangerous, but overbet as the chalk.
#3 My Honey, #4 The Legend, and #5 Lightning Missile have all been non-competitive while ice cold on the board in their 1st/2nd starts, and none look competitive today.
#6 Money Winner is worth a look underneath at a big price in this spot. While the form isn’t much on the surface, he earned respectable speed figures in his first two starts (77 and 79), before encountering significant trouble last out. The trainer Tsui is off to a blistering start, although Douglas Whyte, a former champion rider in Hong Kong is still seeking his first winner. He’ll be flying late, and shouldn’t be written off.
#7 Indigenous Star is another long one in here who is at least a little bit interesting underneath. He figures to picking up some pieces late, and the relatively lightly raced 4 year old had improving form at the end of last season, finishing up with a sub 23 second final quarter to finish 4th last out. Gets in at 116 pounds with Leung up, and is a tad interesting.
#8 Joyful Forever would be a surprise in here, as he hasn’t made much of an impression in 4 lifetime starts. Appears destined for Class 5.
#9 Rewarding Flyer is a contender for Moore and Berry. A 2-time winner last season, he took a Class 5 wire-to-wire 3 back, and then had a nice finish on opening day at Sha Tin this season to finish 2nd. If he is able to build on that performance at all (and avoid a wide trip), he may be well positioned to run down the #1 and #2 in the lane. Value at 3rd choice.
# 10 Victor Emperor is at least a little interesting here, as he makes his 2nd start off the long layoff. In the spring he ran a few races that would be good enough to take this, including a Class 5 score. He was injured in April after taking a ton of money, and then jogged behind the field in the comebacker on opening day. He’ll be a big price, and if he can regain his fitness, isn’t impossible.
Who do you like?