The new season in Hong Kong is now underway. Despite the record rainfall, the meeting went ahead on Good to Yielding ground on Sunday and the times do seem to align with that going description. The time comparisons and speed figures for all 10-races (the first 5 home) can be found below. I do not intend to go through each race with thoughts on the form, but I think that Race 4 is worthy of closer attention.
This was the feature race, the Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup featuring last seasons star sprinter, Lucky Sweynesse. A lot has been made of this race and the performance of the favorite and his conqueror, Victor the Winner. As I discussed in my preview of the race, the pair had met in a Barrier trial before the season got underway. After watching that Barrier Trial, I was convinced that Victor the Winner was not in the same league as Lucky Sweynesse and despite the result of that trial and this race, I still hold that opinion. As the ratings show, Lucky Sweynesse produced a significantly better performance than the winner on Sunday, but ultimately racing is about the horse who crosses the line in front so we should still give so credit to Danny Shums horse. However, this was a combination of a superb piece of race riding in front from Karis Teetan and a rare mis-judgement of pace by Zac Purton. Victor the Winner broke well but he ran the opening 400m in 25.01s, the slowest of any race over this course and distance on the card, he followed that with a 23.40s mid-section before sprinting home in 10.27 and 11.13s for the final 2-furlongs, finishing speed of 108.9%. Given this setup, Lucky Sweynesse had an impossible task from mid-division, especially as he raced wider round the turn and in truth he did well to even get close to the winner. The 20lbs of weight he was conceding would not have helped his cause and all in all I think it is best to put a line through this run. If the pair meet again, I would still make Lucky Sweynesse a 1.2 favorite to get his head in front.