One of the two features on the New Year's Day card at Sha Tin is The Chinese Club Challenge Cup run over 1400m. This is a race which on the outset doesn't appear to contain much early speed with Multivictory from barrier three appearing the most likely leader. The inclusion of Secret Sham, who led over this trip in the G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup last year, and Super Lifeline, who has twice in a row rolled forward from wider draws, however, will ensure this isn't a slow tempo throughout. Instead, this is a race which figures to be slowly run early while everyone jockeys for position, but there is every possibility the tempo will speed up significantly midway through, thus favoring those who will be held up early.

Rewarding Hero won this event last year in what was his sixth run of the season. Off a rating of 110, he won a HKG3 despite having not placed in four prior attempts in group level company, This year, he enters with inconsistent form, but with preferred jockey Douglas Whyte back aboard and trending upwards off his most recent run, he figures to run better than appears likely on paper at first glance.

While Rewarding Hero is his chief threat, we'll instead side with a different Moore trainee in Exciting Dream. While mostly tried over 1200m, he successfully handled the step up to 1400m when third in the HKG3 Prince Jewellery & Watch Premier Cup to end last season in June. His rating from the end of last season has been well preserved (104 now versus 106 to start season). He's had three attempts at this level off similar marks in which he's finished fourth, third and fourth with the latter two runs both being over 1400m. Derek Leung rode him in all three of those runs and he jumps back aboard here. He'll carry the same 115lbs which he had in the HKG3 Celebration Cup earlier this season, but the kicker here is that day's winner Contentment now carries 132lbs -- a 17 lb swing from that meeting in Exciting Dream's favor.

Should they not go as fast as predicted in the mid-race, Contentment will likely sit an ideal trip with Moreira aboard. A revelation this season, he brings talent to the table, but his big weight makes winning a tall task.

The progressive Packing Pins should be suited back to 1400m, but he's drawn poorly particularly considering his connections' propensity to push him forward, but just off the speed, in recent races regardless of draw.

While unremarkable this season, Super Lifeline has been his usual consistent self. His one-paced grinding style is suited in these sorts of 1400m affairs, especially when he's sent forward early from the gates as can be expected given his draw. While he's not a chief threat to win the race, he's been sent off at large odds every time this season. He's a logical place chance here once again and he's also the recipient of a massive weight swing with Contentment.

Picks and Plays:
1. #8 Exciting Dream
2. #4 Rewarding Hero
3. #2 Contentment
4. #10 Super Lifeline

Quinella: 4-8, 8-10, 4-10
Trifecta: 4,8 / 4,8,10 / 2,4,8,10

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