Sweet In Defeat

Sha Tin (M1) – Sunday, 2 September 2018

By Hutchi


My regular Sweet In Defeat column will review the racing at Sha Tin from a sectional and “race shape” perspective with a view to highlighting future winners. It’s another angle for those Hutchi’s Honkers followers who want to build a list of Hong Kong horses (a “black book”) that have run well and are close to winning at their next start or two.

The beauty of Hong Kong racing is the overall consistency of how the racing surfaces play compared to other jurisdictions and the keeping of “Standard Times” for each race class and distance. It forms the basis of how I analyse and rate each race and each runner in a race. The “Standard Times” I speak of can be found freely on the HKJC website, in printed form guides, and I will reference them in Sweet In Defeat reviews.

RACE 1: C4 - 1000m
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

A couple of things learned from this event. The track was in perfect condition and new trainer Jimmy Ting made his presence felt. The winner might find it a lot tougher up in class now, but Victory Power was solid considering he contested the early lead. He can be competitive over 1200m at Happy Valley or Sha Tin.

RACE 2: C5 - 1600m
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

One of the performances of the day, quite surprisingly, by Le Panache. He scored by 4 lengths and clocked a 22.88 final-400m off a solid tempo. The overall time was more than a second inside of standard and suggests the winner can be followed again, even if he takes a rise in grade. We made Sports Master one of the better bets of the day and he had every chance in the “one-one”, and ran well, so if he strikes a similar field over 1600m-1800m he can win.

RACE 3: C1 - 1200M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

This was a race where the on-pace runners simply went too hard, 5 lengths above standard for the first 800m. Consequently, the last three in the running were the first three past the post. Jumbo Luck had an excuse, returning with blood in the trachea.

RACE 4: C5 - 1200M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

I’m not sure there is a great deal to take from this race. We had a small spec on Natural Flare who did a little bit of early work but was maybe a touch anchored under the weight. However, he should find a race in this class. Both Richcity Fortune and Sea Pearl enjoyed good runs in transit and fought it out.

RACE 5: C4 - 1200M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

This race will not rate well, but there are a couple that ran well in defeat.The first 800m of this event was run 4.25 lengths slower than standard and with King Opie ($1.80f) sitting outside the leader he was very well-positioned to take advantage. Such was the nature of the tempo that every runner bar Romantic Bonanza broke 23 seconds for the final-400m. Smart Charade ran a final-400m in 21.91 and he is only going to be better over 1400m+. The Createthwas having his first start for John Moore and wasn’t suited by the tempo, but also ran on strongly (22.00) and he deserves another chance.

RACE 6: C4 - 1400M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

The tempo was a couple of lengths quicker than standard for the first-800m, but ultimately, they ran almost on standard overall in this event. Strathspey had clear excuses after missing the start so badly, but I am not keen to follow this race as a form reference going forward.

RACE 7: C3 - 1000M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

The winner has solid form over the course and distance and got the better of Golden Dash and Turf Sprint in the concluding stages. They ran a touch outside of the standard over the distance for this class and it looks a plain race at this stage.

RACE 8: C3 - 1400M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

The pace between the 1200m and 400m was 3 lengths faster than standard and that mid-race pressure took its toll on Noble Steed (best bet), who was a touch slowly away. However, he was still disappointing and maybe he needed the outing, although the market intelligence said otherwise with him being backed-in from $3 to $2. Villa Fionn was simply poor but maybe also needs to be ridden with patience. With General Sherman finishing second over this trip I am deeply concerned about the form out of the race, although given that early pressure, Green Card was quite good.

RACE 9: C3 - 1200M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

Another race basically run to standard. Definitely one to take from this though is Sun Touch. He was up nearly 60 lbs in bodyweight from last season and had no barrier trial leading in to the race. He fought gamely and will derive more benefit than most from the outing. Daring Fit was well backed having his first start for Paul O’Sullivan and although he might have had the “right” for the race, horses from this stable usually improve with their “fresh” run.

RACE 10: C2 - 1400M
Course: Turf "B"     Going: GOOD

The first impression is that the form will stack up strongly out of this race. It worked out to be an event dominated by those who settled in rearward positions even though the pace just seemed even and perhaps that is just because they are better stock. Rattan was very brave under the weight and with a lighter weight, up in class, he will be competitive. It was a great debut from the Brazilian, Harmony Victory, who has form over further, as not too many imports run that well on their first Hong Kong start at this level (C2). He could be top-notch and already would have good claims to perform well against fellow 4-year-olds in the races heading towards the 2019 HK Derby. 

Sweet In Defeat "Black Bookers"

  • Victory Power

  • Sports Master

  • Smart Charade

  • The Createth

  • Sun Touch

  • Rattan