Saturday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) race analysis

Stay with Zac's pick number one

Last month's Longines International Jockeys' Championship-winning jockey Zac Purton will be aboard Pick Number One in Race 9.
Last month's Longines International Jockeys' Championship-winning jockey Zac Purton will be aboard Pick Number One in Race 9.PHOTO: HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB

RACE 1 (1,400M)

1 Kwaichung Brothers returns to Class 5 after two lacklustre runs up in Class 4. His form over this course and distance last preparation was good enough to make him competitive in what isn't the strongest Class 5 race assembled.

5 Great Toplight has been a disappointment after looking on the cusp of a win early in the season. He has to be taken on trust.

13 Laughing Lord has shown glimpses of talent and can bob up.

11 Wonderful Chaser will have support after a good effort last start.

RACE 2 (1,400M)

1 Primero drops down to Class 4 for the first time. With seven-pound (3.18kg) claimer Matthew Poon astride from the inside gate, he should prove hard to beat.

6 Ever Laugh has raced well in three starts this season and a return to Sha Tin should be a plus.

8 Presidentparamount has spent almost two years out of the winner's circle but he is back on par with his lowest-ever mark.

10 Royale Elegance remains a contender.

RACE 3 (1,000M)

4 Ace King appears to have found his mark after rising from Class 5 to Class 3 last season. However, he has found a race that lacks any real depth and, if he can speed across towards the lead, he might still have one more win in him.

3 Beauty Energy debuts here, having won two from four in the UK where he was named Son Of The Stars for Richard Hannon. He has trialled well and can show up first time out.

1 Dragon Master is always a chance in this grade. 7 Roman Odyssey is quirky but clearly has talent.

RACE 4 (2,200M)

2 Ensuring has finished in the top four 13 times since his last win two-and-a-half years ago, including all four starts for new trainer Frankie Lor this season. He has been getting closer at each start and it's time for him to step up now.

1 Super Chic has not won in Hong Kong, but he was a winner of the Group 2 Derby Italiano over this trip at Rome's Capannelle racecourse in 2016. He doesn't need to improve too much to figure.

6 Mambo Rock should relish this trip and can improve vastly.

9 Rule Thee deserves consideration once more.

RACE 5 (1,200M)

3 Nice Kick proved that the 1,200m was ideal for him when he scored his first win last start. With a perfect draw, he should be hard to beat again.

2 Super Eighteen ran a much-improved race second-up, getting within a length and a quarter of 1 Lean Perfection. He now meets that horse six pounds better and can turn the tables.

4 Dr Proactive might be able to figure on his Sha Tin debut.

RACE 6 (1,200M)

1 Pakistan Baby gets back down to Class 4. This is his go, and he should be hard to beat in this field, especially over the dirt 1,200m, where he has done most of his best racing.

4 Bond Elegance has run a number of nice recent races over this course and distance and can get into the finish from a nice draw.

2 Hearts Keeper is a stalwart who always deserves to be included in this sorts of races.

10 Fish N' Chips has never won over 1,200m but he should be in front for a fair way.

RACE 7 (1,650M)

1 Classic Emperor won like a superstar two runs back at his first dirt attempt - no surprise, really, given he had one of the best dirt pedigrees in Hong Kong. While he also sprinted well over an unsuitable 1,200m last time out, he can potentially lock in an overseas bid with a win.

3 California Whip had some handy form last season but he has failed to take a step forward this time in, racing well but never looking a threat. Perhaps the dirt mile can spark him to life.

6 People's Knight always deserves respect over this course and distance.

5 Prawn Baba has trialled well on dirt and can figure.

RACE 8 (1,600M)

10 Strathspey has found the line nicely in both starts. The step-up to 1,600m looks right up his alley.

13 Godspeed is proving somewhat frustrating to follow but there's no doubt that he's a major player.

12 Enjoy Life won nicely last time out and appears capable of winning again if everything falls into place.

7 Ambitious Pins will be somewhere around the mark.

RACE 9 (1,200M)

7 Pick Number One has emerged as a nice dirt prospect with two course-and-distance wins from three starts. He looks to be improving with every start and he should be hard to topple again.

3 Super Man disappointed last start but had been racing well before that. He deserves attention.

5 Golden Sun must be respected back on dirt, where he has a good record.

11 Lucky Master may be dropping in grade but he could find the frame at his dirt debut.

RACE 10 (1,400M)

6 Turin Redstar made up nice ground to finish fifth on his Hong Kong debut. The Kyllachy galloper, who won three from seven in the UK when named Munro with Ralph Beckett, should appreciate the step-up to 1,400m. With Zac Purton aboard from the inside gate, he should be hard to beat.

13 Sam's Love was poor first-up but ran on well last time out, both times at Happy Valley. The return to the Sha Tin 1,400m looks a positive move.

4 Bullish Smart can get into the money if he is rated well on the speed.

11 General Dino looks near a win but has to overcome gate 14.

• Comments by Andrew Hawkins, courtesy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'Stay with Zac's pick number one'. Print Edition | Subscribe