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Sha Tin Feature Race - 10th Sept

Horses at the start of a race

Race 4 – The HKSAR Chief Executives Cup (Handicap) Class 1

1200m (6F) – A Course

$3.72m Prize Money for Horses rated 90+

Sundays feature race includes the superstar sprinter Lucky Sweynesse and with 5 considerably lower rated rivals going to post, it will be a huge shock if he doesn’t make a winning return to extend his unbeaten run to 7-races. He won this race last season under Silvestre de Sousa when he was rated just 98 and the fact that he has now improved to a mark of 131 would suggest that this should be a much easier task 12-months on. He won the 2022 renewal at a starting price of 2.1, which in hindsight looks like one of the best value bets of the entire season and he is unlikely to be anywhere near that kind of price on Sunday, but even at a likely SP of around 1.2, he is hard to oppose.

He has already been seen on the Turf at Sha Tin when he returned in a Barrier Trial last week (see related articles) and there may be some who will look at that form and think Victor the Winner has a chance here. He raced alongside Lucky Sweynesse in that trial and got the better of him in the closing stages, with the pair producing a speed rating of 90.4 and 90.2 in the process. However, he was awash with sweat on the way to the start of that trial and he appeared to be ridden to go with Lucky Sweynesse, presumably with a view to see how he would fare against the star sprinter. Victor the Winner was ridden out in the closing stages, whereas Zac Purton was entirely motionless on Lucky Sweynesse and there looked to be far more in the locker if it was needed. I don’t want to entirely discount Danny Shum’s horse, he has won 5 of his 8 starts in Hong Kong, including a handicap on this card last year, but I don’t believe he is in quite the same league as Lucky Sweynesse. He is the obvious forecast bet, as he has won 2 Barrier trials in the pre-season build up and he looks likely to be the pace angle into this contest, but he won’t win if Lucky Sweynesse runs his race.

It is difficult to try and read into the Barrier Trial form. I have included the speed ratings that I have recorded for each of the 6 runners in the trials they have run in the last couple of weeks, but all this form needs to be treated with caution as there is no obligation for a horse to be fully tuned up or ridden out in these races. Andrea Atzeni’s mount, Youthful Deal, is a good example as he recorded the lowest figure in a trial of the 6 runners, but watching the replay it was clear this was a piece of work, and he was never asked for any serious effort. I think he is likely to be outclassed at this level anyway and even a more encouraging figure and performance in that Barrier Trial would not have changed my mind, but it works as an example to show why this form needs a lot of caution.

Data for the 6 horses going to post

There weren’t too many obvious betting angles into this race. It was tempting to simply get behind Lucky Sweynesse at cramped odds and take a small profit to start the season, but that would be a waste of a blog post. Instead, I have approached this race from the viewpoint of betting without the favourite and that has created a small angle in the exacta market. Victor the Winner is likely to lead but given how he has performed in those Barrier Trials I just wonder if he will be ridden hard to try and burn off the others and that may leave him vulnerable if Karis Teetan gets the fractions wrong. Lucky Sweynesse is likely to stalk the pace, but I wanted to find a horse who will be ridden to pick up the pieces if there is a pace collapse and that led me to Rewarding Together. He is closely matched with Adios when the pair finish 1,2 in a Class 1 handicap at the end of last season, but I think he raced too close to the pace that day and based on their recent trackwork I would be confident he can at least reverse that form. He is normally ridden in mid-division and Matthew Chadwick will surely choose to drop behind the principles from stall 1 rather than rushing forward to get into a pace battle. He produced the highest speed figure when he finished 2nd in a Conghua Barrier Trial in August, when he was given a similar ride to the one I have envisaged here, and I think that makes him interesting in the exacta markets. Although all 5 of his wins in Hong Kong have come at Happy Valley, he has run perfectly well at Sha Tin in the past and I have no concerns about him running a decent race with this setup.

I have put a link to the Barrier Trials records that are supplied by the Hong Kong Jockey Club below so that you can assess the form for yourself (this is something the HKJC should be applauded for).

Advised bet - Exacta: Lucky Sweynesse/Rewarding Together – 1pt.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Barrier Trials Page


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