It’s Hong Kong Derby Day at Sha Tin this Sunday, March 21st – one of the biggest days on the Hong Kong racing calendar.
The $24million HKD feature sees a very competitive field of four-year-olds lining up over the 2000m and it comes up as Race 8 on the card.
Tim Geers has previewed the main race and offered his other best bets for the card below!
Not a race I’m overly keen to get involved in early. (2) Summit Cheers won on debut over 1000m with Matthew Poon aboard, but Zac Purton jumps aboard today. He had been trialling the horse prior to its first start but was obviously committed to another horse in that debut race. He only won by a short-half-head and now rises 4.5kg in the weights, so I wouldn’t exactly say he gets in well. He also steps up to 1200m and draws out in barrier 10. Barrier draws on the A-course are fairly even so it’s not a huge negative being drawn wide. I think he’s the horse to beat, but he’s no good thing.
(13) Gallant Legacy is one that catches the eye at $41. He has a very similar preparation coming into today’s race than what he did last preparation, where he won third up. He’s had two runs back from a spell and has been beaten very similar margins to what he was in his first two runs last prep. He then came out third up and won, fairly easily too. The difference today is that he draws out in barrier 11 compared to barrier 2 last prep, but he could be ready to show something at the huge odds.
Betting strategy: 0.75 units WIN Summit Cheers, 0.25 units WIN Gallant Legacy
Going to give (1) Enchanting Star one more go here. His run first up was slightly disappointing but he really gets his chance today with that run under his belt and barrier 1. He should be able to box seat and if he gets the gap at the right time, he’ll be hard to hold out.
(7) Divine Era looks the one he needs t be wary of. He started favourite on debut and ran home soundly without ever looking likely. He ran 4th on that occasion and with natural improvement, he can go close.
(14) Voyage Star will lead and take some running down.
Betting strategy: 1.5 units WIN Enchanting Star, 0.5 units WIN Divine Era
Pretty confident (2) Leading Fortune goes very close here. He won over track and distance four starts ago and then rose to Class 3, where he’s been beaten 2.5L at the most. He now drops back into Class 4 and draws barrier 1, so given how well he’s been running in harder grade, we should see him right in the finish with any luck here.
Moreira doesn’t ride for Size here, instead going on the favourite (5) Ultra Express, who won two starts ago and then sat wide throughout when finishing 3rd last start. Draws well in barrier 5 and with the positive jockey change, looks beat.
(1) Decisive Action won well enough last start to suggest he can go well again at double figure odds. Happy to save on him, while I’ll be taking a set against (3) Maldives.
Betting strategy: 1 unit WIN Leading Fortune, 0.5 units WIN Ultra Express, 0.25 units WIN Decisive Action
RACE 8 – BMW Hong Kong Derby
One of the more open Hong Kong Derby’s in recent memory! There’s a handkerchief covering about half-a-dozen runners, and the Classic Cup didn’t exactly make the picture any clearer. It was run at a very slow speed (the leader was able to hang on to win) and it was bumper cars in behind with a number of hard luck stories.
(2) Excellent Proposal goes on top for me. He took out the Classic Mile two starts ago and was good again in defeat in the Classic Cup last start. He had to come widest on the turn from back in the field in a race that was run at a crawl, so his effort to get within a length of the winner was terrific. He potentially just peaked on his run late, but he had to do all his work from the 600m-200m so was entitled to get a bit tired. I like the draw for him and if they run this at a better tempo, he should be right there at the finish. My only small query is whether he’s just a bit too brilliant for 2000m.
(6) Lucky Express is the stablemate of Excellent Proposal and I think he’s the value at $10. He ran 2nd to Excellent Proposal in the Classic Mile and then endured a horrible run in the straight in the Classic Cup, held up badly for the majority and having to check and change direction multiple times. Again, I like the draw for him out in barrier 9.
(7) Russian Emperor hit the line strongly in the Classic Cup, particularly in the final 100m or so. He has a sense of timing about him for this race and gets a positive jockey switch with Karis Teetan booked today.
You could also make genuine cases for (1) Sky Darci, (4) Shadow Hero, (5) Tourbillon Diamond and even (10) Silver Express.
Dartboard job but I’ll be with Excellent Proposal and Lucky Express.
Betting strategy: 1 unit WIN Excellent Proposal, 0.5 units WIN Lucky Express