Sunday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) race analysis

Helene Paragon back on song

Helene Paragon winning last year's Group 1 Stewards' Cup in style and is back in form to defend his title at Sha Tin tomorrow.
Helene Paragon winning last year's Group 1 Stewards' Cup in style and is back in form to defend his title at Sha Tin tomorrow.PHOTO: HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB

RACE 1 (1400M)

1 G-One Union won over this trip two weeks ago and looks capable of making it a second course-and-distance win.

3 The Legend improved on his first Class 5 run. He gets Zac Purton aboard from a good gate and is right in contention.

4 Winner St Paul's has found his best form for trainer Frankie Lor this season and is going for three in a row. He's in the mix.

12 Carry To Win deserves respect off a slashing last run at Happy Valley.

RACE 2 (2000M)

7 Happy Rocky hasn't won in two years but been racing well this season. This race shapes as his best opportunity despite the wide gate.

5 Top Act is a long way from the Group 3 winner he was in November 2015. But his last run showed signs of promise. Joao Moreira jumps aboard and he deserves plenty of respect.

4 Premium Champion has been consistent this term and has drawn well.

12 My Blessing has never raced over this trip but he is bred to handle it. He can figure.

RACE 3 (1200M)

4 Eighty Eighty has disappointed as a heavy odds-on favourite at both starts. He's shown no real acceleration but he also hasn't done much wrong, so a win is sure to come quickly.

13 Lucky Lucky has stepped forward at his last two starts. He's still learning but, with a good gate, he could break through.

7 Glittering Armour has looked good enough in the mornings and should be ready to run a good race.

2 Nice Kick has done well to get a win but he needs to take another step forward if he's to make it two wins from five starts.

RACE 4 (1600M)

1 Such A Happiness hasn't performed up in Class 3 this season, although he hasn't been beaten too far either. Back down in grade with a good draw, he must be given plenty of respect.

3 Electric Lightning should be nearing his peak now and he can win his way up into Class 3.

8 Horse Prosperous ran well enough at his first start and the step-up to a mile is ideal.

4 Everest, with blinkers on, can be expected to run better.

RACE 5 (1200M)

6 Storm Signal ran an improved race last time out after striking two unsuitable races to begin his Hong Kong career. With three runs under his belt, now he's ready to strike.

8 Affluence Start is heading in the right direction and looks very hard to beat with Moreira astride.

4 Super Lifeline returns to Class 3 for the first time in more than four years. He's on a downward spiral but is capable of a placing.

2 Lucky Dollar has a strong record down in Class 3 and can add to that.

RACE 6 (1000M)

9 Ace King may still be on too high a mark, although he did win off a rating just two points below his current 71 earlier in the season. He has gate 14 and, if he can muster speed, he will be in the firing line.

6 Money Boy finally broke through for a second win last start. He rarely runs a bad race, so he must be included.

11 California Elite has trialled well. He can run a race on his Hong Kong debut.

2 Fortune Bo Bo is suited by the race conditions and can finish around the mark.

RACE 7 (1200M)

3 Lucky Bubbles was unlucky at his last two outings, but he has drawn away from the inside - most likely a plus - and he gets the addition of blinkers, in which he trialled well. Expect a better performance.

2 D B Pin stepped up to the plate with a game second in the Hong Kong Sprint behind Mr Stunning. He can progress despite an awkward draw.

1 Mr Stunning is clearly the one they all have to beat, but he is likely to be odds-on and he is worth opposing at that quote.

8 Beat The Clock is emerging as a sprinter to watch. Trained purely as a 1,200m horse now, he may be able to measure up.

RACE 8 (1600M) GROUP 1 STEWARDS' CUP

2 Helene Paragon hasn't been suited in recent starts but has still been running well, including a nice third last time out when conceding 20 pounds (9kg) to Fifty Fifty. He looks right on song as he attempts to defend his crown.

3 Time Warp came of age with his win in the Hong Kong Cup. He steps back to 1,600m here, but he has proven that he can sustain a solid tempo out in front and he appears a threat.

6 Seasons Bloom should enjoy an ideal trail from the inside gate.

5 Beauty Only is racing better than his form suggests and he can figure with just an ounce of luck.

RACE 9 (1800M)

7 Rattan has not raced since a closing second to Time To Celebrate on Hong Kong International Races Day. He tackles 1,800m for the first time but the trip should be perfect and he shapes as a legitimate contender before he tackles the Classic Cup.

8 Consort has had all sorts of problems throughout his Hong Kong career but his last run was a massive improvement. If he can find that form, he is a chance again.

4 Cheerful Giggles ran well enough on debut over 1,400m on New Year's Day. The Queensland Derby runner-up gets blinkers now and should be competitive.

2 Rocketeer can improve.

RACE 10 (1600M)

12 Sacred Ibis was good in two Class 4 wins to begin his term. His flying last-start third was admirable, too. If there's any sort of pace on, he will be charging home.

1 Green Energy bounced back to form with a good last-start second. He looks ready to peak.

7 Daring Fit will be near the speed and can hold on for a minor placing.

3 New Elegance won with something in hand last time out and cannot be dismissed.


•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 27, 2018, with the headline 'Helene Paragon back on song'. Subscribe