Hong Kong racing tips: Jim McGrath with three fancies at Sha Tin
7.35 Sha Tin
8.05 Sha Tin
9.45 Sha Tin
Winning Dreamer can justify jockey Vincent Ho’s claim that he is the next Golden Sixty by landing the feature Group 3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup (8.05) on an excellent New Year’s Day card at Sha Tin.
The Frankie Lor-trained four-year-old is an impressive six from six in his career and has rocketed up the ratings ladder in just seven months, so it's no surprise that Ho is already comparing him to Hong Kong’s newest superstar.
Winning Dreameris from the Eight Carat family, one of New Zealand’s most famous which includes former champion Octagonal, so the 7f trip, which he tackles for the first time, should not be an issue.
But there is no doubt that this is the strongest opposition he has faced. Caspar Fownes has been adventurous in his campaigning of rival Sky Darci, another four-year-old with a highly progressive profile who recently made the successful leap from Class3 to Class 1 company.
To attempt it in one hop speaks volumes for the trainer’s confidence in the son of Darci Brahma and his determination to keep him on track for the Hong Kong Classic Mile on January 24. Others to consider in a fascinating race are the Tony Cruz-trained pair Buddies and Ka Ying Star.
There is a lot of depth to the 11-race card, with several imports again attracting attention, none more so than the David Hayes-trained Master Montaro, who must overcome a terrible draw (14) if he is to land division two of the Cotton Tree Handicap(7.35).
The Toronado gelding gave a glimpse of his potential when he finished strongly from back in the field to make a winning local debut over course and distance last month and the in-form Zac Purton will be alert to the challenge.
Silver Express, three from four in Australia before export, has shaped well in three local barrier trials and could run a big race for trainer John Size.
TheclosingChinese Banyan Handicap (9.45) is a cracker and General’s Delight is expected to reverse the form with rival Lucky Express in what looks a competitive contest.
They were both within striking distance of Sky Darci in the hotly-contested Chevalier Cup and the fact that Purton has been booked by trainer Douglas Whyte is a significant pointer.
Bets can be placed into Hong Kong pools with the Tote, Coral and Ladbrokes. The first race at Sha Tinon Friday is at 4.30am
Race 6 (1st leg):3 Super Dobbin, 10 Ares
Race 7 (2nd leg):1 Master Montaro, 4 Silver Express
Race 8 (3rd leg):7 Winning Dreamer, 8 Sky Darci
Race 9 (4th leg):2 Duke Wai, 3 California Rad
Race 10 (5th leg):5Mighty Valor, 13 Soaring Tower
Race 11 (6th leg):2 General's Delight, 3 Lucky Express
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