Hong Kong tips: JA McGrath with three bets for Sha Tin's Sunday card
9.05 Sha Tin
9.35 Sha Tin
10.10 Sha Tin
Frankie Lor has one of the brightest prospects uncovered this season in Master Eight, who is confidently tipped to make it two from two in the Class 3 6f sprint handicap (9.05), one of the highlights of Sunday's 11-race card at Sha Tin.
Rarely does a young newcomer win with the authority displayed by Master Eight when he beat useful Fire Ball and subsequent winner Packing Award over course and distance four weeks ago.
The three-year-old bounced straight into the bridle from a wide draw (nine), quickly took it up and was never headed, looking a thorough professional in every respect. He won by three and a quarter lengths, so a rise in grade was inevitable.
But with a light weight (8st 6lb), and Joao Moreira in the saddle again, the gelding should handle the step up with relative ease. Regency Bo Bo must give 15lb to his younger rival but is still seen as the logical danger.
Lor, who is sitting third in the trainers’ championship on 59, can also saddle another likely winner, Loyal Baby, in the Class 4 7f handicap (8.35), in which the Irish import can make the most of a welcome drop in grade and the first-time booking of Zac Purton.
Persistence is a must in Hong Kong, and six-year-old Gunnisonhas that in spades as he backs up for his 41st start locally, in the Class 3 6f sprint handicap (9.35) on dirt, attempting his first win in two and a half years.
In that time, he has dropped 31lb and two grades — he was twice placed in Class One for John Size — and current trainer Me Tsui now has the gelding back racing well, as indicated with a solid course-and-distance third on his last start.
The clincher is the booking of Matthew Poon, claiming 2lb. Expect the danger to be Harmony Spirit, with Jerry Chau’s 5lb allowance likely to be very useful.
The Caspar Fownes-trained Kurpany, who shaped with promise when third on his first run on the dirt, is selected to break through this time, in the Class 2 6f sprint handicap (10.10). The bigger track at Sha Tin suits the four-year-old, who has a lovely big stride, and he has most to fear from a true dirt specialist Red Desert.
7 Super Mission
1 Loyal Baby
2 Master Hero
1 Regency Bo Bo
9 Master Eight
7 Harmony Spirit
1 Red Desert
3 All For St Paul’s
4 Serious Liaison
Bets can be placed into Hong Kong pools with the Tote, Coral and Ladbrokes. The first race atSha Tin on Sundayis 5.30am
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