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Hong Kong International Races – my thoughts on the great card from Sha Tin

December 11, 2011

One of the world’s premier turf meetings is here!

The Hong Kong International Races are a tremendous day, even if we don’t have Australian representation this year.

I wrote an article for TheShark.com.au about this year’s Hong Kong races. Click here to read.

However, I thought I would give my tips for the big four international contests – the Hong Kong Vase (2400m), Hong Kong Sprint (1000m), Hong Kong Mile (1600m) and Hong Kong Cup (2000m).

Here are my thoughts:

HONG KONG VASE

A rather intriguing race for Australian punters with Melbourne Cup quinella Dunaden and Red Cadeaux set to take part in this staying affair. Both are probably suited over further, but I think of the two horses Dunaden is much better suited. Still, I think he’ll need luck to go close. I’m actually rather keen on a horse at fairly big odds here, that being REDWOOD. Why he is at 20-1, I can’t understand. Fair enough, his last two runs haven’t been up to his usual standard but I’m not sure he needs to be at his peak to win this. He’s well suited at the trip and he did run second last year to Mastery. He also finished second to Prince of Wales Stakes winner Rewilding in the Sheema Classic in Dubai earlier this year. He’s a ridiculous price and one of the few who is best suited at 2400m. His biggest danger looks to be Vadamar, who is a quality European three year old. Has top form and comes from a great stable. Will be going close. If you forget Sarah Lynx’s 12th in the Japan Cup, she’d be near the head of the market. She may have come to the end of her preparation but if she runs up to her Canadian International run she’ll be in the firing line. Dunaden definitely has to be in the mix somewhere, while Trailblazer has come up nicely this preparation. Silver Pond is probably the only other winning chance. I don’t think the Italian form is strong enough to include Jakkalberry, I think Campanologist is too enigmatic to be a betting proposition and I don’t know how he’ll handle the huge crowd, the locals look outclassed and I just don’t think Red Cadeaux is a weight for age horse at the moment.

8 – REDWOOD
13 – VADAMAR
5 – DUNADEN
12 – SARAH LYNX

HONG KONG SPRINT

What are we going to do when Rocket Man and Sacred Kingdom are retired? Between them they have provided some incredible victories. Those who are saying Rocket Man is beyond his best, I think they are wrong. Sure, the only unplaced run of his career came two starts ago in Japan, but there were genuine excuses that day. I think he will win here. Sacred Kingdom is looking to do something rather extraordinary – if he wins, it will be his third victory in this race – and all of them will be in non-consecutive years!!! Not sure that many treble winners of annual events can boast that achievement. He is a horse who may be past his best but he was fantastic fresh and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take it out. Entrapment looks the up and coming sprint star in Hong Kong, but his last start defeat raises some queries. However, he is trained by John Size and so I fully expect to see the best of him here. Whether that is good enough to win here at this stage, only time will tell. The Japanese mare Curren Chan has won eight from twelve and must be considered in this field, while I think Bated Breath will be somewhere around the mark. I reckon, if there’s one at big odds that might find himself in the money, it will be the old timer Joy and Fun. He’s not the classiest horse but he is game and genuine. Could run a place at big odds.

1 – ROCKET MAN
2 – SACRED KINGDOM
7 – ENTRAPMENT
14 – CURREN CHAN

HONG KONG MILE

I love this race every year. It is always a fascinating contest and the winner is always a damn good horse. I am going to be semi-parochial here – I do think Jimmy Choux has the class and the scope to win this. I think he is best suited at a mile and his form this preparation has been very good. Has a perfect draw and has thrived since his last start run in the Emirates Stakes. Go Jimmy!!! I think the main danger is Cityscape. He’s drawn awkwardly but aside from one poor run he’s been very good this season. Has form around some of Europe’s best milers including Canford Cliffs and Dick Turpin. I think he’ll run a bold race. Beauty Flash has been a marvel for his connections, and he always seems to peak at the right time. He won this race last year and I reckon he’ll be around the mark, while Xtension must be respected. Dubawi Gold will be an intriguing runner as he’ll give us a guide to how good Frankel is. He’s been beaten three times by the champion – two of them have been by about 6 lengths. I hope to see him finish within six lengths of the winner! Sahpresa next best.

2 – JIMMY CHOUX
1 – CITYSCAPE
4 – BEAUTY FLASH
5 – XTENSION

HONG KONG CUP

What a great field for this race. It’s going to be an incredible contest. Cirrus des Aigles has been the most improved horse in training, anywhere in the world this year. He defeated So You Think and Snow Fairy in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last start, and earlier this year he beat Vase contender Silver Pond by ten lengths. He’s a deserved favourite, but I reckon this year might be the year of the local. Hong Kong Derby winner Ambitious Dragon has been a model of consistency this year. His run last start was huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge (yes, huge) and with the local advantage I think he can defeat Cirrus Des Aigles. It does look a race in two. California Memory has an incredible turn of foot on his day and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fly home from nowhere, while at odds, I reckon Durban Thunder could surprise a few. Irian and Byword are probably the next best, while I struggle to see anything else really figuring.

2 – AMBITIOUS DRAGON
1 – CIRRUS DES AIGLES
6 – CALIFORNIA MEMORY
4 – DURBAN THUNDEr

All the best if you are having a punt today!

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