2020 Cheung Sha Handicap Preview & Free Picks

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HKJC Press Release - DECLAN SCHUSTER | OTB Writer
Updated: May 25, 2020

SHA TIN FREE PICKS - April 1 (DECLAN SCHUSTER)

Race 1: #11 Exponents, #4 Aurora Steed, #7 Great Son, #3 General Trump

Race 2:: #4 Good Luck Money, #9 Little Thunder, #10 Golden Mission, #2 Gracious Ryder

Race 3: #14 Master Bernini, #4 Curling Luxury, #7 Hidden Spirit, #12 Winners Brother

Race 4: #7 Excel Delight, #6 Daily Beauty, #11 Sky Treasure, #2 Goldie Flanker

Race 5: #1 Jade Fortune, #14 Super Red Dragon, #11 All For St Paul's, #3 King's Race

Race 6: #11 Utopia Life, #4 Wind N Grass, #8 Flying Genius, #3 Mega Heart

Race 7: #6 Red Elysees, #4 Righteous Doctrine, #11 Owners' Star, #8 Acclaimed Light

Race 8: #3 Buddies, #13 Elite Patch, #1 Glorious Artist, #2 Dances With Dragon

Race 1: Silvermine Bay Handicap

#11 Exponents' last win came off a mark of 28 on a Wednesday night at Sha Tin and having now returned to that mark, it appears as though lightning is preparing to strike twice, especially with that jockey, Grant van Niekerk getting the leg up again. His best is up to this and with even luck he's going to take a power of beating.

#4 Aurora Steed has steadily improved with each outing this term. His recent dirt trial caught the eye and if he handles the surface on race day, then he's in with a leading chance, especially with Joao Moreira up. The Brazilian ace is fresh off a Sunday five-timer at Sha Tin.

#7 Great Son joined the Paul O'Sullivan stable at the start of this season and since then has looked good. Zac Purton rode a double for O'Sullivan on Sunday and their good fortune can continue here.

#3 General Trump is consistent, and he warrants respect.

Race 2: Kiu Tsui Handicap (2nd Section)

#4 Good Luck Money steps out on debut for championship leading trainer Ricky Yiu. He caught the eye in a recent trial on the dirt at Conghua, cruising up to cross the line with stablemate Team Power who has subsequently finished second last Sunday at Sha Tin. He's worth taking a chance on in a very open Class 4 contest.

#9 Little Thunder is another who has caught the eye at the trials. He led that day and is a chance to employ those tactics here on race day as he looks to offset the wide draw.

#10 Golden Mission is winless. He has mixed his form but has shown his capabilities on his day and a recent trial on the dirt suggested he handles the surface.

#2 Gracious Ryder is next best.

Race 3: Tung Wan Handicap

Tony Millard has an exceptional record with stable transfers and #14 Master Bernini looks ready to join that list. Although he's winless across 25 starts, he has shown steady improvement, especially on the dirt and with only 116 on his back, he can take this contest out.

#4 Curling Luxury is the likely leader of this. He gets the services of Zac Purton here which is a good push and as a winner on the surface previously, he rates as a leading chance.

#7 Hidden Spirit is looking for back-to-back course and distance wins. He remains in Class 5 off that win which is suitable, and he maps to get the right run from gate two.

#12 Winners Brother is winless, but he turned his form around last start when missing by a short head at 94/1. He's next best if he can reproduce that effort here.

Race 4: Kiu Tsui Handicap (1st Section)

#7 Excel Delight is a course and distance winner already this season. He narrowly missed last start and he gets an excellent chance here to atone for that performance. Joao Moreira takes the reins again and he's drawn to get the gun run from gate two.

#6 Daily Beauty has shown steady improvement across his short three-start career. He's another who has been favored by the draw and at his second start on the dirt, he's expected to improve sharply.

#11 Sky Treasure is a three-time course and distance winner. He has won off this mark before and if he finds the front early, he could take plenty of running down.

#2 Goldie Flanker is next best.

Race 5: Pui O Handicap

#1 Jade Fortune steps back to Class 4 now which suits and with Zac Purton taking over he appears ready to win. He's a Class 2 winner previously so the step back now to this grade should prove fruitful, especially off a number of solid Class 3 performances this term.

#14 Super Red Dragon gets in light with only 114 lbs to carry from gate two. He has drawn to get the gun run and with no weight on his back he remains a leading player.

#11 All For St Paul's is lightly raced but he has displayed plenty of ability across his short three-start career. With further improvement he can figure and he's one who is more than likely not going to relish the added distance.

#3 King's Race has already recorded one all-the-way win this term and he's expected to try similar here. He'll run them along and is capable of holding on for prize money.

Race 6: Clear Water Bay Handicap

#11 Utopia Life is unlucky not to have already won across his career but still, he gets an excellent chance to finally go on with it here. He has drawn to get a nice run and with luck in the straight, he can deliver for Chad Schofield and Manfred Man.

#4 Wind N Grass has shown steady improvement across his career and he tackles the dirt for the first time here. Suspect he handles the surface as he's on the seven day back-up here in order to shed his maiden tag.

#8 Flying Genius rarely runs a bad race and his forward style of running can ensure he's in with a chance here. He has drawn beautifully for Zac Purton who should be able to control the tempo and give him every chance.

#3 Mega Heart has placed four times over this course and distance this season. He's consistent and is not out of his depth against this bunch.

Race 7: Hap Mun Bay Handicap

#6 Red Elysees narrowly missed over this course and distance two starts ago, before stepping out over 1650m to finish a close-up fifth. He'll relish the return in trip to 1800m here and with even luck this is his to lose.

#4 Righteous Doctrine is looking for back-to-back wins after ending his streak of 15 runs without a win. He's found his groove and with Joao Moreira retaining the ride he warrants plenty of respect.

#11 Owners' Star is consistent and he hasn't been too far away over this course and distance previously. This is suitable although still, more difficult.

#8 Acclaimed Light is next best.

Race 8: Cheung Sha Handicap

#3 Buddies ran a blinder last start on the turf and he returns to his preferred course and distance here. Joao Moreira hops up and has a three-time course and distance winner previously he rates as the one to beat, especially breaking gate three.

#13 Elite Patch is a two-time dirt winner previously. He steps up in trip here which is the unknown but his last few runs have given the impression that he is ready for it and his latest trial caught the eye.

Three out of #1 Glorious Artist's four wins have come over this course and distance, each time with Zac Purton up and again this galloper warrants respect, especially in Class 2 which he is proven in.

#2 Dances With Dragon bagged his first win for Caspar Fownes last start and lines up again here. He's next best.

2020 Cheung Sha Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 8 at Sha Tin Aw on Wednesday, April 01 - Post 10:50 AM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
7 Glorious Artist 60-1 Zac Purton
133 Lbs
Frankie Lor
8 Dances With Dragon 4-1 Blake Shinn
128 Lbs
Caspar Fownes
3 Buddies 10-1 Joao Moreira
126 Lbs
John Moore
13 Raging Blitzkrieg 7-1 Chad Schofield
126 Lbs
John Size
12 Kings Shield 80-1 Derek Leung
125 Lbs
Frankie Lor
4 Red Desert 66-1 Alex Lai
125 Lbs
John Size
14 Turin Redstar 50-1 V Borges
125 Lbs
Peter Ho
6 Uncle Steve 40-1 Matthew Chadwick
123 Lbs
Douglas Whyte
11 Easy Go Easy Win 33-1 Jack Wong
121 Lbs
Douglas Whyte
1 Circuit Glory 33-1 Victor Wong
120 Lbs
A S Cruz
2 Bear Slam 5-1 Grant Van Niekerk
119 Lbs
David Ferraris
9 Rickfield 40-1 Matthew Poon
119 Lbs
A T Millard
10 Elite Patch 40-1 Vincent Ho
118 Lbs
K W Lui
5 Mongolian King 7-2 Karis Teetan
118 Lbs
Y S Tsui

Hong Kong: Rain no concern for Buddies and Moore

The John Moore-trained Buddies returns to the Sha Tin dirt as he looks to build on an impressive record on his favorite surface in Wednesday morning's finale, the Class 2 Cheung Sha Handicap (1650m).

A three-time course and distance winner, the 4-year-old gelding is yet to finish outside of the top three from six attempts on the dirt track, but with showers forecast to continue through the week in Hong Kong, there is the likelihood of a wet surface this time.

Moore, though, was quick to quash any concern that the track condition would be a hindrance to the gelding's chances.

"The conditions are perfect, he's by So You Think and they love the cut in the ground, I've had a few of them and I not only think they are good in the wet but they're good on the dirt too," the handler said.

Moore also takes confidence from his 4-year-old's second to the improving Seattle Choice in a Class 2 on turf last time.

"His last run was very good - in fact it was above expectations when he finished second to Seattle Choice and he's done everything right since then, so with that run under his belt, he's going into the race a very fit horse," Moore said.

Joao Moreira was aboard Seattle Choice on that occasion but will take the reins for the first time aboard Buddies. The pair will break from gate three with 126lb allotted as the equal third-highest rated horse in the field of 14.

"Buddies got beaten by a very good horse the other day and he made it very tough for the winner (Seattle Choice); he just needs to produce the same form he produced the other day and we know the surface is not a concern," Moreira said.

Moore added: "He's actually a versatile horse, I thought he'd be a little underdone the other day but the way he hit the line was impressive.

"We have a very fit horse going into this contest, so I'm hoping he can take that run from the other day into Wednesday and improve on that and he's got to be a hard horse to beat, especially if it's sloppy," he added.

Moreira leads the current jockeys' standings with 94 wins following a five-timer at Sha Tin last weekend, with 14 of his season's total coming on the Sha Tin dirt from a total of 53 rides. Hong Kong's last all-dirt meeting in February saw the Brazilian secure a running treble.

"Buddies seems a very good ride--he's been proven on the surface and he's a horse that has plenty of gate speed, so he should be up there on the pace," Moreira said.

"The gate also helps us out a little bit, so let's hope he brings his best and I'm quite confident that he is a winning chance."

Artist tops the weights

Glorious Artist (133 lbs) was fourth in the 2019 KOR Group 1 Korea Cup (1800m) and returns to his preferred surface with trainer Frankie Lor pleased with his gelding ahead of Wednesday's test.

"His form's good, everything is good--this time though he carries a big weight so we'll see how he goes. I think the 1650 (meters) is OK but I feel the 1800 (meters) is better, but still this should be OK as there aren't too many suitable races for him," Lor said.

Three-time champion jockey Zac Purton again hops in the plate and will be looking to secure his fourth course and distance score atop the Zoffany gelding.

Also in the race is Dances With Dragon (128 lbs) who Purton partnered to victory last start, though this time it will be Blake Shinn aboard for trainer Caspar Fownes.

"He's been very good, I've given him two trials on the surface and he's indicated that he probably will handle it but obviously trial conditions are very different to race conditions and the key now is the track. The weather looks like it's settling in for this week so it's expected to be a slow boggy track," Fownes said.

Raging Blitzkrieg (126 lbs), Red Desert (125 lbs), Elite Patch (118 lbs) and two-time dirt winner this term Bear Slam (119 lbs) also feature among the competitors.

Wednesday morning's eight-race all-dirt card at Sha Tin commences at 7:15 a.m. ET / 4:15 a.m. PT with the Class 5 Silvermine Bay Handicap (1200m).

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