Sunday's Hong Kong (Sha Tin) preview

Time Warp looks a standout

The Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp beating his younger brother Glorious Forever in a thrilling Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse on Nov 4. The pair will be battling it out again in tomorrow’s Race 8, The Longines Hong Kong Cup.
The Tony Cruz-trained Time Warp beating his younger brother Glorious Forever in a thrilling Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse on Nov 4. The pair will be battling it out again in tomorrow’s Race 8, The Longines Hong Kong Cup. PHOTO: HKJC

RACE 1 (1,400M)

2 Charizard came from near last to win last time out over 1,200m. The 1,400m should suit him more and he can run another bold race in a fairly thin race.

4 City Legend is becoming a habitual bridesmaid but he is still yet to gain a first victory. He's should enjoy every chance in the run.

9 Picken still does little things wrong in his races, but he's got more talent than he's shown in his races.

5 Smart Charade will have to defy the outside gate under Yasunari Iwata.He's a place hope.

RACE 2 (1,200M)

5 Jing Jing Win has been largely disappointing. That said, he's at a mark where he's capable of scoring a victory at any time. This race appears suitable.

6 Regency Legend was a winner of two of his three starts in New Zealand when named Espumoso, finishing second in his most recent start a year ago to the day on Sunday. He's trialled well and he can be expected to perform strongly fresh.

3 Ka Ying Legend is a rare South American import who looks capable of scoring a win near the top of Class 3. His last run was good enough and this looks no stronger - if anything, it appears weaker.

11 Master Albert mixes his form but he can figure if he puts his best foot forward.

RACE 3 (1,800M)

1 Bigwood swept up nicely to win two back before just missing out last time at Happy Valley when not having the clearest of runs mid-stretch. He still has points in hand and he can win again from another good gate.

4 Famous Warrior's time is coming. He will likely be posted deep under Gerald Mosse from gate 13 but he will be finding the line late.

7 Tianchi Monster is striking form and can't be dismissed in this spot.

8 Happy Dragon should relish getting up to 1,800m and is next best.

RACE 4 (2,400M) THE LONGINES HONG KONG VASE

2 Pakistan Star was a dominant winner of the G1 QEII Cup (2,000m) and the G1 Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) earlier this year, Pakistan Star is arguably the most talented galloper in town. He can improve sharply and he's capable of being the third Hong Kong winner of this race.

3 Salouen is a rung below the best in Europe, although he did run Cracksman to a head in the G1 Coronation Cup (2,400m) in June. He hasn't won in quite some time, but he ran well for sixth behind Enable in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (2,400m) last time out - that's good enough to figure.

8 Prince Of Arran has looked well in the mornings. He went to another level in Australia and he only needs to hold that form to finish around the mark.

14 Rostropovich is likely to go off at silly odds and is worth an each-way bet.

RACE 5 (1,200M) THE LONGINES HONG KONG SPRINT

5 Hot King Prawn is the pick in a wide open race. What has been impressive this campaign has been his ability to work efficiently at both ends of a race. He will give a kick at the top of the straight, it's just about whether he can hold them all off to hand trainer John Size a second straight Sprint.

2 Mr Stunning won this race last year. Now with Size's one-time assistant Frankie Lor, he's progressing well this term, finishing second last time out to Hot King Prawn in the Jockey Club Sprint. He meets the grey five pounds better and, with even luck, he's the one to beat. Outside the top two, it is a lottery.

12 Little Giant is untapped and is worth including in all exotics.

10 Lim's Cruiser appears the best sprinter to emerge from Singapore since the great Rocket Man. It's unlikely he can win but he could hit the board at odds.

RACE 6 (1,600M)

10 Helene Leadingstar, winner of the South Australian Derby, is fancied to run well. Tony Cruz will be looking to have this gelding more forward. He has been pushed out in his trials, winning handsomely enough, and should run a big race.

3 Dark Dream is the first of three high-profile Derby contenders purchased out of Australia by sophomore trainer Frankie Lor - he still has Queensland Derby runner-up Heavenly Thought and Rosehill Guineas third Furore to come.

5 Good Standing disappointed last time out. He's got the ability to get into the finish on his day, but it's just a matter of whether the right Good Standing shows up.

2 Joyful Trinity finished third to Beauty Only and Helene Paragon in the 2016 Hong Kong Mile, before running ninth last year. He can get into the placings.

RACE 7 (1,600M) THE LONGINES HONG KONG MILE

1 Beauty Generation's win in the Hong Kong Mile last year came as something of a surprise - especially given that he'd looked just another run-of-the-mill import in his first season in Hong Kong. He did score shock wins in the G3 Celebration Cup (1,400m) and the G2 Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m), but they were under handicap conditions with a light weight and it still looked unlikely that he'd develop into a top-class contender. To stamp himself as a true great of the Hong Kong turf, though, he must complete his coronation with a second victory in this event, which would see him join three-time winner Good Ba Ba as the only multiple victors in this race since the Bowl became the Mile in 1999. After his record-breaking romp in the G2 Jockey Club Mile (1,600m) last time out, it's hard to see anything beating him.

9 Southern Legend was second that day. He looked to have plenty of improvement in him and the Kranji Mile winner can fill second spot again.

2 Persian Knight looks the best of the raiders, although the outside gate means he will go back to near the tail and his problem has always been catching the leaders in time. He has made a habit of placing in the big events without winning, including three G1 seconds to go with his G1 Mile Championship (1,600m) win last year. Still, he will be flying late and can't be knocked completely.

RACE 8 (2,000M) THE LONGINES HONG KONG CUP

2 Time Warp is looking to join California Memory as a back-to-back winner of the 2,000m contest. Trainer Tony Cruz, who prepared California Memory, now has Time Warp in his midst and he is oozing confidence about the chances of his free-wheeling charge. What looks crucial is that Glorious Forever's trainer Frankie Lor has said that his pupil is likely to try and stalk the speed from gate one. If that's the case, Time Warp should be able to control the tempo and win this.

8 Glorious Forever is unlikely to try to contest the lead. He's not quite at the same level as his brother yet, but it's only a matter of time for him.

1 Sungrazer could be the real danger. The Japanese raider is coming off a second to Rey De Oro in the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn (2,000m) last time out, which followed a win over Makahiki in the G2 Sapporo Kinen (2,000m). Perhaps this trip is what he needs these days, having been pegged as a sprinter-miler early. He's a contender.

7 Staphanos is worth throwing into all exotics. He has finished third and fourth in this race the last two years, flowing on from a second in the 2015 QEII Cup behind Blazing Speed. The grand Japanese galloper is retiring after this outing and, while a win appears unlikely, it would be a popular result if he ended up in the placings.

RACE 9 (1,200M)

3 New Asia Sunrise ran well enough second-up when finding a fair bit of trouble early - he was carted back through the field to a beyond midfield position, against his usual handy tactics. His effort to finish fifth was creditable and, if he can settle handier, he's right in the mix.

2 Limitless relished the incredible touch of Gerald Mosse last time out, only throwing his head about once - remarkable given his previous unruly nature - and sprinting away to look the winner for much of the straight. Unfortunately, he was just reeled in by Raging Storm late, but he's capable of getting into the mix.

1 Fortune Booth steps out for John Moore for the first time. He's not without claims.

8 Kings Shield is the first son of the late Scat Daddy - the sire of American Triple Crown winner Justify and sprinting sensation Lady Aurelia among others - to race in Hong Kong. The gelding last raced when fifth to Without Parole in the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has an awkward gate, but he's trialled well enough.

RACE 10 (1,400M)

7 Nicconi Express looked desperately in need of the run at his first run in Hong Kong and he produced a strong effort in finishing second to Noble Steed. He has to deal with a wider gate, but if he can get into a nice spot near the speed, he's going to be tough to hold out.

8 Noble Steed had always promised to win like he did last time out. He's still fairly well off at the weights and back-to-back wins wouldn't shock.

2 Invincible Fresh has finally put together two wins at his last two starts, having only won one of his first 23 Hong Kong outings. Coming in fresh looks a positive move and he's a player.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Time Warp looks a standout'. Print Edition | Subscribe