Sunday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) form analysis

Elusive State stands out on preferred dirt track

RACE 1 (1,400M)

2 Rich And Lucky turned his form around last start to grab second. Champion jockey Zac Purton now takes over, which suits. From the soft gate, he should get every chance. 3 Lucky Quality snatched third on debut. He should be suited by the added distance at Sha Tin. 7 King Dragon has done enough across two outings to warrant respect in a small field. 8 Kelmimi Wins has race experience on his side.

RACE 2 (1,650M)

10 Master Bernini is racing well. He's placed on several occasions this season and this contest appears more than suitable for him. 6 Dragon Warrior has to overcome the wide gate but, with four runs under his belt, he should be race-fit and ready. 7 Sky Gem has narrowly missed a few times this season. He's in excellent form and this race looks well within his grasp. 12 Winning Circle is next best.

RACE 3 (1,200M)

3 Destine Jewellery caught the eye on debut when finishing third over this course and distance. He can progress further with that run under his belt. 7 Sparkling Star also finished third on debut. He'll need a race run to suit if he is to finish strongly but he's shown enough talent to warrant respect. 2 Daily Beauty gets Purton in the plate for his debut. He'll need to overcome the wide draw but the services of the three-time champion command respect. 1 Mr Wiseguy is next best.

RACE 4 (1,650M)

1 Clear Choice steps back to Class 4 where he was a winner previously. He's drawn to get the gun run for Purton and he should have a class edge on these. 3 Best Alliance is racing well. He was trapped way too far back last start with too much work to do. 4 Dragon Commander grabbed second last start. He can progress from that with the right run throughout. 7 Good Fit has drawn well for bang-in-form jockey Karis Teetan. He commands respect.

RACE 5 (1,200M)

8 Kung Fu Fighter steps out on debut for trainer David Hall and Purton. He has shown plenty of promise in the trials and this race isn't too deep for his first Hong Kong outing. 3 First Responder is unlucky not to have won already. He has the wide gate to contend with, but again, this race isn't overly strong on paper. 2 Be Ready has progressed nicely since his debut. Leading rider Joao Moreira takes over and he's a leading player. 10 Diamond Brilliant rarely runs a bad race. He can figure with the right run.

RACE 6 (1,400M)

6 Breeze Of Spring has been racing well this season. With Purton taking over, he appears ready to win, especially from the ideal barrier draw. 10 Gala Night has shown he is capable. He turned his form around last start to grab third and further progression is expected. 12 Fantastic Show has placed in his last two starts. Jockey Grant van Niekerk is in-form and his booking commands respect. 4 Mighty Giant is honest. He can figure with the right run.

RACE 7 (1,000M)

3 Jolly Banner surprised in this race last year when winning as an 89-to-1 chance. He won't be anywhere near that price this time around but he's racing well this season, narrowly missing in his latest outing. 4 Thanks Forever returns to his preferred distance where he is a three-time winner. This race appears suitable and he might have found it at the right time. 7 Big Party rocketed away to win last time out at Happy Valley. That win was dominant and, if he finds that level of form here, he'll go close. 1 Regency Legend is next best back to his preferred distance.

RACE 8 (1,400M)

13 Falcon Turbo is racing well for in-form trainer Douglas Whyte. He's found himself a very winnable race and, with only 118lb (53.6kg) on his back, he shapes as the one to beat. 14 Such A Happiness is looking to go back to back. He's up to Class 3 now but he appears to have a few more ratings points in hand. 5 Seerite Dragon flashed home two starts ago. Purton takes the reins, which commands respect. 3 Mr Wealth shouldn't be too far away.

RACE 9 (1,650M)

1 Elusive State is a dirt specialist. He stepped out on the turf last start and finished an admirable seventh. He'll appreciate the return to his preferred surface. With even luck, he'll take plenty of running down. 6 Glorious Artist wasn't too far away at the Valley last time out. He'll relish the return to Sha Tin, especially on the dirt. 11 Buddies has proven he's up to Class 2. He has the wide draw but this is well within his reach. 3 Ugly Warrior is another who prefers the dirt. He'll need to recapture his best though, if he wants to be in the finish.

RACE 10 (1,650M)

5 Holy Heart flashed home to narrowly miss at his latest start. He's racing well. With Moreira taking the reins, he'll surely prove tough to catch. 2 Endearing has the wide gate to contend with, but he has the class edge on a number of these. 6 Volpino gets the services of Purton. He's drawn to get the gun run and his best form commands respect. 7 Last Kingdom can roll forward for jockey Lyle Hewitson. He could give them something to run down here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2019, with the headline 'Elusive State stands out on preferred dirt track'. Print Edition | Subscribe