All you need to know when considering a bet at Hong Kong's impressive Sha Tin
Hong Kong expert Richard Young gives punters an edge at the area's top track
Racing in Hong Kong switches between the residential setting of Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island to the new territories and Sha Tin, home of the area’s premier racecourse.
Conformation-wise, the right-handed Sha Tin turf course, just under a mile and a quarter in circumference and with a slight uphill gradient in the home straight, is very different to its counterpart at Happy Valley.
Whereas the Valley is a sharp, flat, draw-biased track that suits those with tactical speed, Sha Tin is a galloping course with long, sweeping turns, a home straight of over a quarter of a mile and the best horse usually wins.
The 'A' course is on the track’s innermost configuration and the one used for all the big meetings, including the Hong Kong Derby card.
But while there is less of an edge for punters than at Happy Valley, a bit of local knowledge coupled with a grasp of the form book should enable punters to hold their own.
The ability to see out the trip is an important factor – especially in the truly run races – and on the draw front it’s preferable to be housed in the bottom half of the draw (to avoid being trapped four or five deep) in maximum fields from 6f to a mile.
Pace is important. A quick look through the in-running comments in the cards on racingpost.com can often highlight when a horse may get an uncontested lead or when a pace burn-up is likely.
Joao Moreira and Zac Purton are the dominant forces in the jockey ranks and, since the start of last season, the pair have won nearly half of all races on the turf track.
Karis Teetan, a rider who likes to make things happen, sits in third place in the Sha Tin standings and Vincent Ho has improved his strike-rate to 12 per cent here this season.
On the training front Tony Cruz and Ricky Yiu are are battling it out for the trainers' title. Hot on their heels are Francis Lui, trainer of Derby winner Golden Sixty, and first-season trainer and riding legend Doug Whyte.
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