Sunday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) form analysis

Dark Dream on Derby trail

Dark Dream (in blue) finishing a nice third in his Hong Kong debut on Hong Kong International Races Day on Dec 9. A win tomorrow will propel him into Hong Kong Derby contention.
Dark Dream (in blue) finishing a nice third in his Hong Kong debut on Hong Kong International Races Day on Dec 9. A win tomorrow will propel him into Hong Kong Derby contention.PHOTO: HKJC

RACE 1 (1,000M)

It is rare to see the Class 5 gallopers tackle the straight 1,000m, with only five races at the course and distance for the cellar-dwellers dating back to the start of 2015.

4 Happy Sound won the most recent of these events in September. His rating still remains quite high but, if he can get out somewhere near the lead, he'll be there at the finish.

1 Manful Star has run well over the course and distance in the past. He faces his easiest test in quite some time and is a leading player, even from the inside gate. 11 First Beaut is sure to have plenty of support and shapes as a contender.

7 Trendiful has never produced his best here but that was quite some time ago. He could perform well with the right run.

RACE 2 (2,000M)

7 Happy Rocky steps out for his 69th start, a rare mark of longevity that few Hong Kong gallopers ever reach. He ran a bold race last time out and gave every reason to suggest that he can score another win.

2 Good Days needs everything to go his way, but he's a chance again in an open race.

4 Bring It On is honest and, although he doesn't win out of turn, he's deserving of inclusion in his first attempt at the Sha Tin 2,000m.

6 Garlic Yeah can improve drastically stepping out to this trip.

RACE 3 (1,400M)

1 Perfect Match produced a solid win first-up, while his effort last time out over this course and distance was good - even if he was flattered by the 41/2-length winning margin. At set weights, he's going to be hard to beat.

2 Witness Hunter has won his last two starts over the course and distance. Unlike Perfect Match, he has done it against the older horses. Perfect Match is likely to have first run on Witness Hunter which gives him the nod, but Witness Hunter will be running at him late.

4 Shinealot and 3 Nordic Warrior are capable of filling the placings.

RACE 4 (1,400M)

2 Right Choice sprinted nicely to win on debut on the Sha Tin all-weather track. This is a different race entirely but his opposition doesn't appear overly strong and he can make it two from two.

1 Good For You is racing well now that he is back in Class 4. The booking of a stronger rider in Alexis Badel may prove a good move too after he was wayward under Javier Castellano last start.

8 Happy Force still looks to have improvement in him and he can't be dismissed.

12 Swot Windicator could get into the placings at odds.

RACE 5 (1,400M)

14 Care Free Prince doesn't win out of turn, but he's always a chance of winning when he can get out and roll on the lead with no weight on his back. He looks well-placed.

1 Green Card hasn't lived up to expectations during his Hong Kong career, but perhaps dropping to Class 4 for the first time might allow him to gain another victory, especially with the blinkers back on again.

11 Fun Times has run well enough in four starts. He can be expected to take another step forward.

4 Flame Lily can place again.

RACE 6 (1,200M)

6 What A Legend showed promise with a debut second to Multimillion about a month ago. He strikes an easier race and it won't take much for him to figure at start No. 2.

10 Tornado Twist can be expected to improve into his second outing, just as all John Size horses tend to do. He has another awkward draw but should be there somewhere.

2 Guy Dragon steps out for the first time for Chris So, who has already had two unraced debutants win in the last month. He can't be overlooked.

3 Super Model was disappointing first-up, but there is talent there. He bears close watching.

RACE 7 (2,000M)

5 Dark Dream ran fine in a race in which no runner really covered themselves in glory fresh. He needs to take a step forward here stepping up to 2,000m second-up, but expect to see a good run as he takes another stride towards March's Hong Kong Derby.

6 Harmony Victory stamped himself as a legitimate Derby contender last time out with a strong win over 1,800m. The 2,000m should suit him down to the ground. If they save him for one late run, he'll fly home over the top.

4 Super Chic is finally living up to his Italian form, winning his last two starts in nice style, even despite the narrow margin. His best has come at Happy Valley, but this race appears suitable now.

3 Prawn Baba can get into the placings.

RACE 8 (1,200M)

8 Waikuku was a winner of a maiden at Leopardstown from two starts in Ireland. He has trialled well for a winning debut.

9 Kasi Farasi has run well in both starts, particularly relishing a quieter ride last time out.

4 Eptimum has, for the most part, disappointed in his time in Hong Kong. He gets a few things in his favour though, including a good draw and the claim of Matthew Poon, that could help him.

1 California Turbo will improve over further but bears watching at his first Hong Kong start.

RACE 9 (1,000M)

4 Bravo Watchman rarely runs a bad race over this course and distance, with three wins and two placings from six outings over the Sha Tin 1,000m. He should get every opportunity to add another victory.

3 Baltic Whisper is coming off two poor efforts, but he is drawn to take advantage and he can easily get into the finish again with the right run.

8 Mr Lumieres ran poorly last time out when pulling up with blood in his trachea. If he pulls up with no health issues, he's a player.

6 Styling City takes his first crack at Class 2. He will win in this grade in time but it might be a case of a bit too much, too soon. He's worth opposing on a win line.

RACE 10 (1,400M)

10 High Volatility has put together a string of runner-up finishes in his last four starts. He continues to race well, getting out on the speed and proving tough to get past, and from the wide gate, Derek Leung should adopt similar tactics.

9 Ping Hai Treasure was a nice winner in his only start on the Lyon fibresand in October last year when named Learning To Fly and trained by Andre Fabre. He was the sale-topper at the Arqana mixed sale in February and arrives with big wraps. He's trialled well enough to show up in his Hong Kong debut.

6 Good Beauty returns to Sha Tin for the first time since October. He's racing well and must be included.

1 Winning Endeavour can progress from a good first Hong Kong outing.

•Comments courtesy of The Hong Kong Jockey Club

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2018, with the headline 'Dark Dream on Derby trail'. Print Edition | Subscribe