Saturday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) form analysis

Last kingdom can lead all the way again

Jockey Alberto Sanna celebrates after winning on Last Kingdom on Sept 11 last year. The horse gave jockey Lyle Hewitson his first Hong Kong victory on Dec 29 and the new combination can score another all-the-way victory in Race 8 at Sha Tin today.
Jockey Alberto Sanna celebrates after winning on Last Kingdom on Sept 11 last year. The horse gave jockey Lyle Hewitson his first Hong Kong victory on Dec 29 and the new combination can score another all-the-way victory in Race 8 at Sha Tin today.PHOTO: HKJC

RACE 1 (1,200M)

9 Wayfoong Star did nothing but impress in his latest trial. If he can replicate that on race day, he's going to prove tough to beat. Trainer Douglas Whyte and jockey Karis Teetan have succeeded on five occasions from 15 pairings and another win would not surprise.

6 Juneau Park comes out of the same trial. He has also shown talent and warrants plenty of respect on debut for trainer John Size.

10 Eight Trigrams has race experience. He's drawn well for the in-form jockey Grant van Niekerk.

2 Colorado High is racing well and only has to overcome the wide gate to be competitive in this race.


RACE 2 (1,600M)

9 Money Winner, whose Me Tsui stable appears to be hitting its straps, rates as the one to beat. He's drawn a touch awkwardly, but he'll more than likely settle worse than midfield for jockey Neil Callan before rattling home.

7 Big Bully is in-form. He's drawn well and, if he's held his condition from last start, he's going to test these.

2 Gold Velvet snatched second place last start. He can progress further, although the gate makes things tricky.

10 Sky Gem is racing well. From the draw, he rates as a place chance for jockey Alexis Badel.

RACE 3 (1,200M)

1 Inner Flame couldn't have been more impressive when winning on debut last start. He appears capable of repeating that effort, especially against what appears to be a relatively mediocre Class 4 field.

4 Brave Baby rarely runs a bad race. He returns first-up and his trials have been encouraging.

7 Wonder Brahma snared third on debut behind Inner Flame. He can progress further, although that margin is unlikely to be bridged.

6 Ping Hai Bravo steps out on debut. He warrants respect.

RACE 4 (1,650M)

5 Lasting Friendship sat on the speed and won well over this course and distance last campaign. That's more than likely not going to be the plan again with the booking of Alfred Chan, who takes 10lb (4.54kg) off his back.

1 Best Alliance is doing everything right except win. He's been ultra consistent all term and another bold run is expected, especially as he remains in Class 4.

12 Foodie Princess steps out for trainer Chris So who hasn't struck a winner since early last month. Though, this galloper is racing well and shouldn't be too far away for jockey Joao Moreira.

2 Roman Impero is next best.

RACE 5 (1,200M)

3 Take What You Need has hit the ground running this season, tallying two placings from three outings. Blake Shinn retains the ride and, from the draw, he's the one to beat.

7 Farhh Above was a winner against Griffin company last season. He'll need to step up if he wants to be competitive but he has trialled well and warrants respect as he heads toward a possible Four-Year-Old Classic Series tilt.

11 Glenealy Generals is consistent and his best should see him feature in this race.

5 Baltic Success finished second last start. He turned his form around that day and further progress is expected.

RACE 6 (1,400M)

2 King's Race's trainer Jimmy Ting bagged a treble on Wednesday at Happy Valley and his rich vein of form can continue today. King's Race was a winner two starts ago. He's drawn a touch awkwardly but he has been racing well this season. If he can cross the field, he could take running down.

11 Adonis steps out again for Whyte. He's a two-time winner already this season and looks poised to snatch a third.

14 Casimiro makes the stable switch from Dennis Yip to Paul O'Sullivan. He's unlucky to already not be a winner. With 114lb on his back, he's going to find himself in the finish.

5 My Winner has drawn well, so it all depends on whether he gets a race to suit or not.

RACE 7 (1,400M)

5 Xponential got off the mark on debut for Whyte. He was super impressive that day, displaying an electrifying turn of foot under jockey Chad Schofield that saw him get the job done by a head. He remains in Class 4, that suits, and another win is on the cards.

4 Triple Triple has shown plenty of talent since his debut and got the job done nicely last start, digging deep for Moreira. The pair remain together and, from the good gate, they're expected to be in the finish.

6 Shadow Break steps out for the in-form Ting. He's racing well and this looks well within his grasp.

3 Splendid Timing is next best.

RACE 8 (1,650M)

5 Last Kingdom led all the way last start to give jockey Lyle Hewitson his first Hong Kong win. The pair look poised to make all the running again. From the inside gate, they shouldn't be doing too much work early if they plan to find the front.

6 Holy Heart was caught far too back in the field last start. Before that, he tallied two minor placings. He's expected to bounce back to that level of form with a positive ride.

3 Coby Oppa is by proven dirt sire The Factor. He's a three-time dirt winner who is more than likely not nearing a bounce back to form, which could easily come.

2 Bear Slam is next best following his last-start victory.

RACE 9 (1,400M)

4 Be Ready has shown steady improvement across his three-start career, enough to suggest that a win is nearing. Moreira takes over, which warrants respect and this race looks well within his grasp.

5 Craig's Star has the wide gate to contend with. He's been consistent all season, including a second-up win earlier on. Frenchman Tony Piccone takes the reins and this looks an excellent chance for him to double his win tally.

6 Horsesain Bolt steps out on debut for Whyte. He's trialled very well. From the good gate with Teetan aboard, he's going to be in the finish.

1 Super Star has finished outside the top three just once from nine attempts, including four wins. He commands respect.

RACE 10 (1,600M)

5 Nicconi Express has done nothing but impress this season, including his win two starts ago. He's in-form and has shown that he can progress further in the ratings. He remains the one to beat for jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

2 Private Secretary made all impressively on debut last start at the Valley, which not many horse can do. The Listed Stakes winner at Goodwood was bought for a Derby campaign. Although his debut Hong Kong victory at the Valley was impressive, it's going to be more difficult at Sha Tin and chances are he'll have some value. Moreira hops aboard.

13 Columbus County finished fourth on debut behind Golden Sixty. That was an encouraging debut and he commands respect, especially with that key jockey switch.

8 Butterfield turned his form around last start. He can make his presence felt.

• Comments courtesy of The Hong Kong Jockey Club

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2020, with the headline 'Last kingdom can lead all the way again'. Subscribe