Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015-2016 Hong Kong Horses to Follow

We're just over a week from the start of the new racing season in Hong Kong and to help you prepare, we've got you covered with 10 horses I believe are worth following this season. The order is not by preference, but instead they are arranged according to their current ratings.


Renaissance Art (More Than Ready - Lady Siphonica, by Siphon); Current Rating: 93
Renaissance Art was never a factor at his first two starts, before reeling off two straight wins while rated near the top of Class 3. What's most encouraging about him, however, is his staying ability. His second place finish behind the front-running Derby fourth Helene Happy Star in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup was solid and showed signs of his ability to compete in a division which has little depth at the moment. Yes, both Helene Happy Star and Helene Super Star return to the fray, but Take To The Limit, Shamkiyr, and California Memory have all retired and Derby runner-up Got Fly appears to be out for an extended period of time due to injury. In a division that's ripe for the taking, Renaissance Art, who appears to have room for further improvement, has the potential to make a splash.


Precision King (Towkay - Quasi Stellar, by Catrail); Current Rating: 88
Unlike the more progressive types on this list, we're not looking for Precision King to get any better. At this stage of his career, he is what he is. That being said, after a season which included eight runner-up finishes, Precision King begins this season on the cusp of a win. He's one worth watching for trainer intent in his first few starts of the season as an apprentice rider on could be a sign that they're trying to get him to a rating of 90, which would allow him to get into Class 1 races off the minimum weight. Otherwise, he could be one who will be dropped from the get-go.Either way, he's an honest, front-running type, who’ll eventually be placed in a spot where he's capable of winning and being that he rarely gets hammered on the tote, he's one bettors should keep tabs on throughout the season.


Strathmore (Fastnet Rock - Our Egyptian Raine, by Desert Sun); Current Rating: 84
From day one, Strathmore made a splash in Hong Kong. His win in his lone griffin race was very comfortable and he's since backed that up with a seven run season which resulted in two wins and only one finish worse than third. The talent is there, not to mention he's been working for much longer than most of these, which gives me the impression he'll be primed for a fast start to the season.
Won C2 on 9/6/2015, now rated 92
Won C2 on 11/1/2015, now rated 98


Country Melody (Written Tycoon - Chimerique, by Choisir); Current Rating: 82
In his first two starts in Hong Kong, Country Melody looked every bit a star on the horizon. While he did catch a few tough draws on the quirky 1000m Sha Tin turf course that hampered him, it was his 14th place finish when sent off at odds of 3.8 which had me worried that perhaps he wasn't as good as advertised. Nevertheless, two starts later he'd go on to draw the favorable 12 gate and he didn’t look back. Yes, he only won by a nose, but he did so over E-Super, whom he spotted 17 lbs and despite the high weight he clocked what was far and away the fastest closing sectional of the top 10 finishers.
Won C2 on 11/11/2015, now rated 89


Blizzard (Starcraft - Stormy Choice, by Redoute's Choice); Current Rating: 75
It's not incredibly often horses win on debut in Hong Kong and although aided by a favorable draw, one thing was clear in Blizzard's first start -- he wasn't ever losing that race. It wasn't like that was an especially soft spot to debut in either as both Mellifluent and Hayhay won within their next few starts and, most notably, seventh place finisher Multimax has since won three times. Multimax has since got the better of him in a slowly run affair where Multimax made all. Nobody has finished closer than Blizzard to the highly regarded Thewizardofoz to date despite giving him three pounds. Two of his three wins have come over 1200m and he does appear better around a bend. A step up in trip should also certainly help with 1400m perhaps ultimately looking his best trip, although he'll likely get the chance over 1600m as well.
Won on 9/13/2015, now rated 83
Won on 10/1/2015, now rated 91
Won on 10/25/2015, now rated 98


So Fast (Commands - La Silva, by Octagonal); Current Rating 64
He's not the most straightforward type, but if anyone can get him figured out, it'd be top horseman John Size. After being withdrawn before his first planned start, So Fast blitzed them en route to a four length victory in the easiest of manners. He's only raced once since and although the fifth place finish on paper leaves much to be desired, he was fractious in the gate and he had to change course on two separate occasions when nearly clipping heels with a rival. Additionally, he reportedly scoped poorly following the race, so that run can be forgiven. He's another who will likely be stretched out en route to a possible Hong Kong Derby tilt in which his cruising speed figures to be a strong weapon.
Won on 9/19/2015, now rated 70


Eastern Express (Fastnet Rock - Mohican Princess, by Shirley Heights); Current Rating: 60
Northern Hemisphere three-year-old Eastern Express didn't win either of his two starts in Hong Kong, but he's another who made a big impression in races which were much too short for his liking. For a trainer who looks to have a stack of strong Hong Kong Derby contenders, Eastern Express could very well be one of his best once given the opportunity to step up in trip.
Won on 11/28/2015, now rated 66


Classic Emperor (Medaglia d'Oro - Worship The Moon, by Malibu Moon); Current Rating: 59
He's yet to win from three griffin races, but Classic Emperor has shown ability over distances which are clearly well short of his liking. His most recent run, in particular, was encouraging when he ran the well-regarded People's Knight to within a nose. Time to mature and the step up in trip to a mile should allow for further improvement.
Won on 11/28/2015, now rated 71


Happy Agility (Postponed - Ballyalla, by Encosta de Lago); Current Rating: 59
Another lightly raced four-year-old, Happy Agility was one who impressed on debut when bet like a sure thing -- he won like one too, scoring by a comfortable one and a quarter lengths. He also has formlines through the impressive Thewizardofoz, but was assigned the very difficult task of giving him seven pounds. How much we'll see of him is perhaps in question when taking into consideration how often swimming is involved in his works -- it could be indicative of minor issues. If healthy enough to race, though, he's one who should relish a step up in trip to at least a mile, if given the chance.
Won on 10/18/2015, now rated 64


Fishking Thunder (Jet Spur - Extra, by Prince Salieri); Current Rating: 39
I’m not exactly expecting Fishking Thunder to do anything magnificent, but he does look a bottom level horse with a chance of winning this season. Often slow out of the gate, this son of Jet Spur finally jumped with the rest of them in his most recent start en route to running a better-than-it-looks sixth (beaten three lengths) despite his jockey giving up position on several occasions. He'll start this season rated low enough to make his first foray in the Class 5 ranks, where he should be plenty competitive. He's never gone off at double digit odds or under, and yet we'll say Fishking Thunder gets his first win this year.
Sadly passed away on 10/1

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