2020 Sprint Cup Preview & Free Picks at Sha Tin

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

SHA TIN FREE PICKS - April 4 (DECLAN SCHUSTER)

Race 1: #4 Decisive Twelve, #5 Dream Team, #1 Trust Me, #11 Regency Poet

Race 2:: #11 Unique Treasure, #2 Take What You Need, #3 Victoriam, #9 Little Wise Man

Race 3: #2 Waikuku, #1 Beauty Generation, #7 Flying Thunder, #3 Ka Ying Star

Race 4: #5 Ka Ying Excellent, #2 Chairman Lo, #8 Casimiro, #4 Loriz

Race 5: #1 Dark Dream, #6 Chefano, #10 Butterfield, #2 Eagle Way

Race 6: #6 King Dragon, #13 Plikclone, #5 Defining Moment, #9 Party Everday

Race 7: #8 Aethero, #2 Thanks Forever, #1 Hot King Prawn, #6 Big Party

Race 8: #4 Dublin Star, #5 So We Joy, #3 El Jefe, #8 This Is Charisma

Race 9: #4 Ping Hai Bravo, #6 Big Fortune, #8 Star Luck, #11 Magic Supreme

Race 10: #3 Glorious Lover, #8 Ultimate Glory, #1 Farhh Above, #13 Emerald Spur

Race 1: Peel Handicap

#4 Decisive Twelve was well supported on debut and ran well for a close-up third. He returns here with that performance under his belt and if his condition's improved from that run, he's going to prove difficult to catch.

#5 Dream Team tried to make all on debut but faded to finish fourth. He can challenge with further improvement from that performance.

#1 Trust Me is searching for his third win from his last four starts. He's getting up in the ratings now but does get Zac Purton aboard and he might have another win left under his belt in Class 4.

#11 Regency Poet is next best for the in-form Manfred Man who has nabbed two doubles at the last two meetings.

Race 2: Homestead Handicap (2nd Section)

#11 Unique Treasure is nearing a win, especially off his narrow defeat last start and with no weight on his back here, it could well come. He has drawn to get a soft run in transit and this appears to be his race to lose.

#2 Take What You Need is unlucky not to have already won in Hong Kong having finished runner-up on three occasions from eight appearances. Zac Purton takes the reins for this and he commands plenty of respect.

#3 Victoriam mixes his form but his best is up to this. Whether he finds it here is a query but on natural ability he remains a leading player.

#9 Little Wise Man looked ordinary first-up but from the gate with Victor Wong's claim, he's going to get his chance to improve off that performance.

Race 3: G2 Chairman's Trophy

Small but competitive Group 2 field assembled here. #2 Waikuku slots in for first off his last-start Group 1 Stewards' Cup victory ahead of Beauty Generation. Suspect Waikuku can continue on an upward trajectory and take out this contest, especially off the back of an impressive trial. His best is still yet to come.

#1 Beauty Generation comes into this following success in the Group 1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup. Though that was an excellent win, he didn't exactly beat a top notch group which primarily consisted of sprinters who were stretching out to 1400m. Suspect he's vulnerable here and Waikuku is the one who can defeat him.

#7 Flying Thunder has been racing out of his skin this season and with the right run he ha a chance. He's likely to settle at the tail of the field which isn't a concern in this field and if he gets a race run to suit, he's capable of finishing inside the top three.

#3 Ka Ying Star mixes his form but was second two starts ago to Beauty Generation. He'll be thereabouts.

Race 4: Pollock Handicap

#5 Ka Ying Excellent caught the eye last start finishing a narrow second over this course, beaten by only a nose. He appears ready to finally go on with it here and from the good gate with Zac Purton up, he's going to take plenty of beating.

#2 Chairman Lo is unlucky not to already be a winner having finished runner-up on five occasions from 13 starts. He has trialed well leading into this and although he's become a costly conveyance for supporters, he still has the raw ability to get the job done and he commands plenty of respect here.

#8 Casimiro got off the mark impressively two start ago. This is well within his reach especially from the good gate.

#4 Loriz is next best.

Race 5: Harlech Handicap

Scattered showers throughout the week leading into Sunday suggest that the ground might be rain affected and the one who will benefit from this is #1 Dark Dream. His second Hong Kong win came on the softer surface with Zac Purton up, who hasn't ridden him since that score last season. He's proven over this course and distance as a two-time winner and with even luck, against this bunch, he can get another win.

#6 Chefano has proven himself as a solid 10-furlong galloper. Grant van Niekerk takes the reins from gate three and with only 117 lbs on his back, he comes into this contest nicely.

Brazilian import #10 Butterfield finished sixth in the BMW Hong Kong Derby last time out. Joao Moreira takes over and the inside draw will afford him every opportunity, also, in his favor is that he has been sparingly raced since his arrival to Hong Kong.

#2 Eagle Way steps out again over his preferred distance. He's next best.

Race 6: Severn Handicap

#6 King Dragon has been consistent across his short career albeit without a win. He has placed in three of his last four and the inside gate should afford him every opportunity to finally go on with it here.

#13 Plikclone is another who is winless. He has shown glimpses of ability and he now appears down to a competitive mark for Matthew Poon and David Hall.

#5 Defining Moment is one of the veterans of the field with 26 starts under his belt. He'll settle at the rear but with a race run to suit he can make his presence felt.

#9 Party Everyday is somewhat of an enigma. He has the raw ability but he's running out of chances and his task isn't made easy from gate 13.

Race 7: Group 2 Sprint Cup

#8 Aethero returns from a lengthy stint on the sidelines after finishing third in the Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint. He had a few niggling issues since then but his recent trial suggests that he's put those behind him and with the right run, against this field he can bounce back to the winner's stall.

#2 Thanks Forever is by Duporth who will relish the prospect of a soft surface on Sunday thanks to the forecasted rain. Still, he's Group 1 placed and has the ability to test his stablemate.

#1 Hot King Prawn won a hot Class 1 contest last start. He has proven at this level and he should get a charmed run throughout from gate one.

#1 Big Party grabbed the Group 3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy two starts ago. He has had leg issues throughout his career so the prospect of a soft surface on Sunday brings him right into contention here.

2020 Sprint Cup Odds & Entries

Race 7 at Sha Tin on Saturday, April 04 - Post 4:10 AM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Hot King Prawn 7-2 Joao Moreira
123 Lbs
John Size
7 Thanks Forever 14-1 Blake Shinn
123 Lbs
John Moore
4 Mr Stunning 12-1 Karis Teetan
123 Lbs
Frankie Lor
6 Full Of Beauty 20-1 Chad Schofield
123 Lbs
John Size
8 D B Pin 40-1 Grant Van Niekerk
123 Lbs
John Size
2 Big Party 15-2 Derek Leung
123 Lbs
Frankie Lor
3 Voyage Warrior 16-1 Vincent Ho
123 Lbs
P Yiu
5 Aethero 15-8 Zac Purton
119 Lbs
John Moore

Race 8: Plantation Handicap

#4 Dublin Star comes into this off two third place efforts. He's becoming a costly conveyance especially as a short priced favorite each time, but still, he has shown plenty of ability and the inside gate will once again offer him every chance to deliver.

#5 So We Joy turned his form around last start to grab third. This contest looks suitable and he's worth keeping safe at only his third Hong Kong Start.

#3 El Jefe is looking for back-to-back wins. He flashed home from the tail of the field to score that day and he appears to still have a number of ratings points in hand.

#8 This Is Charisma narrowly missed last start. He switches to Sha Tin for the first time and if he can handle the track at his first attempt then he's going to be in the thick of it.

Race 9: Homestead Handicap (1st Section)

#4 Ping Hai Bravo is a serious talent on the rise who is looking for his third win from his last four starts. He can get that here, especially as he remains in Class 3 off his dominant score last start and this isn't an overly strong contest for him to go back-to-back.

#6 Big Fortune is the likely leader of this, especially with Alfred Chan's 7lb claim in effect. He'll run them along here and if he can dictate terms to suit himself, then he's going to give them something to run down.

#8 Star Luck has turned his form around his last two starts after failing to fire early on this season. Karis Teetan takes the reins here and this contest does appear suitable.

#11 Magic Supreme is next best.

Race 10: Lugard Handicap

#3 Glorious Lover was trapped at the rear of the field last start but to his credit still managed to make up ground to finish a competitive eighth. He has drawn a touch awkward but if he can sit closer in the run here he should be able showcase his budding best.

#8 Ultimate Glory is the veteran of the field with five wins 75 attempts. He's currently in-form and his last two runs with Zac Purton aboard have seen him go close, so it wouldn't shock to see him go on with it here.

#1 Farhh Above is a serious talent though his last-start failure came across as a slight concern. He has since trialed quietly and we know how good he is on his day, but if he comes up a short-priced favorite he might be worth opposing.

#13 Emerald Spur is a consistent customer.

Hot King Prawn ready to rise in Group 2 Spring Cup

The John Size-trained Hot King Prawn (123 lbs) is looking to stamp his authority on Hong Kong's sprint ranks in Saturday night's Group 2 Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin when he faces off against boom 3-year-old Aethero (119 lbs) among a competitive field of eight.

The Denman gelding finished second to stablemate Beat The Clock in last year's Group 1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) with Aethero close behind in third. But with Beat The Clock out for the rest of the season, the door has opened for Hot King Prawn to lay claim to the mantle of Hong Kong's premiere sprinter.

"He's in good shape and he's finally showing his maturity and his development--he's at the right age for these good sprint races and he's had no interruptions since he started at the beginning of the season," trainer John Size said, adding, "he's very strong."

The 5-year-old has come back to peak form this campaign having recovered from a colic surgery early last year. He quashed concerns quickly this season with a first-up second to Aethero in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) last November, and has since gone from strength-to-strength adding a further three consecutive Group 1 placings to his resume before a Class 1 success last start.

"It's always a concern--you have to think about their problems and the injuries they have had but he doesn't seem to have missed a beat this season--he's been strong all the way through," Size said.

If successful, the grey will join Mr Stunning (2017) and Beat The Clock (2018) as Size trainees to have won the Sprint Cup since 2012, and a win on Sunday would be Joao Moreira's third after pairing with both of those past winners. The Brazilian's mount will break from gate one in the HK$4.25 million sprint.

"He's more professional now, he's extremely mature and he's not a horse that you can expect will do things wrong--he's definitely one of the best sprinters in town," Moreira said of Hot King Prawn.

A win for the grey would signal a bright future that connections hope will include victory in the season's final Group 1 sprint contest, the Chairman's Sprint Prize (1200m) on FWD Champions Day at the end of this month, but Moreira is taking it one race at a time and is under no illusions that Saturday night's race is going to be anything but a tough test.

"We have to respect Aethero; he's young, promising and talented, so he deserves the respect but at the same time I'm quite confident about my bloke--he's a good horse and he deserves to add more great races to his resume," Moreira said.

Moreira has ridden both horses to victory previously, including a Group 2 score in last season's Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) for Hot King Prawn and a 1000m course record-setting run aboard Aethero in October, but Saturday night's contest could also bring an external threat to both gallopers as showers are predicted to continue till week's end.

"I'm not worried about the rain because he has run and won over a wet surface before, he might even benefit from it, so it's definitely not a concern to me but it might be to other connections," Moreira said.

Hot King Prawn blitzed his rivals in a recent barrier trial, making all impressively under the three-time champion jockey.

"The circumstances in this race shouldn't be too bad, he has a good gate and the horse himself seems very healthy--he was comfortable in his trial the other day and in a way that performance had us all very satisfied and we just have to look forward and see how he does it at the races," he added.

Hot King Prawn is one of three declared runners for Size in the race.

Veteran D B Pin (123 lbs) will break from gate eight with Grant van Niekerk aboard and the handler signaled that the veteran's career could come to a close at season's end.

"He's had a few interruptions in his career and he's 7-years-old so we just have two more races for him and then he'll retire, but he's sound, he's working well, he's healthy and he's enjoying his life so hopefully we get through these two races without any mishaps and he can enjoy a happy retirement," Size said.

D B Pin is a six-time winner across 20 starts since commencing his career in 2016, his peak being a Group 1 success in the 2018 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m), in which Size trained the first three across the line.

Size also has Full Of Beauty (123 lbs), who won his first five starts before he tasted defeat last season and returned this term with a Group 3 score in the National Day Cup (1000m).

"He's been in Group 1 races and there's no drop in class for him, there's nowhere else to go as he went up in grade pretty quickly and once he got there he sort of reached his mark, but he's racing well although he's just going to find these Group 1 races a bit difficult," Size said.

The 11-time champion trainer goes in with a three-pronged attack, nearly half the field but directed respect to Aethero - Hot King Prawn and the John Moore-trained 3-year-old are one-all against each other.

"Aethero's obviously the one to beat--he's remarkable for his age and he's an outstanding prospect, so he's going to be very hard to beat in the next two races," Size said.

The field of eight also consists of Thanks Forever, Mr Stunning, Big Party, and Voyage Warrior.

Saturday night's 10-race program at Sha Tin commences at 12:45 a.m. ET / 9:45 p.m. PT and also features the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1600m), in which Beauty Generation and Waikuku will do battle.

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