Breaking

2019/2020 Hong Kong Horses To Watch




AETHERO (Rating: 89)



We begin with one of the most hyped horses in Hong Kong. Aethero burst onto the local scene with three dominant victories last season. After demolishing two Griffin fields by a combined five and a quarter lengths, he stepped into Class 3 company and immediately found success once more. His rating was immediately boosted 14 points for that Class 3 win, so it remains to be seen whether he will find Class 2 foes as easy to overcome, but to date, his speed has been far too much for his rivals to handle. What’s even more impressive about Aethero is that he has done all of this at the age of two. Having only just turned three at the start of August, Aethero -- who has looked very similar to Group 1 winner Amber Sky at the same stage -- could be a forced to be reckoned with in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, should his rating climb high enough to sneak him into the field. 


GANESH TALAI (Rating: 73)



South African trainer David Ferraris has had some success in importing horses to Hong Kong from his homeland and, this season, he will produce another potentially exciting import by way of Ganesh Talai. The son of Philanthropist went by the same name while under the care of Johan Janse Van Vuuren. He debuted at Vaal for an eye-catching win before being upped in class for the Grade 3 Umkhomazi Stakes at Greyville. The Umkhomazi has brought useful form to the table in the past and the horse that beat Ganesh Talai last year was Chimichuri Run, who has since gone on to become a Grade 1 winner. 


UTOPIA LIFE (Rating: 67)
One angle that I love to monitor is for horses who appear to have potential for improvement over the Sha Tin dirt. Of course, there is a low ceiling there, given the lack of stakes-level contests in Hong Kong on the dirt. Still, it can sometimes offer value. Utopia Life has a few key factors that suggest dirt prowess could be in his wheelhouse. He’s by sire Wicked Style -- a precocious son of Macho Uno who won the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders’ Futurity over the synthetic at Keeneland in his juvenile season. Macho Uno was known for his dirt prowess and Wicked Style’s dam Devilette had three career victories, all on dirt. Even Utopia Life's dam side, predominantly featuring Australian bloodlines, traces back to Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch. Pedigree aside, in a recent dirt trial, Utopia Life showed flashy early speed, advantageous over the oft-leader favored dirt course at Sha Tin. 


EZRA (Rating: 53)
Four-year-old South African-bred Ezra has had six local starts to begin his career. While he has not yet been able to get a victory under his belt, he’s gone close twice now without luck on his side. A major key for the son of Oratorio heading into the new season, however, is that he's been gelded over the summer. Of course, a gelding operation can lead to any horse improving, but in Hong Kong, the effect can be even greater due to the tight confines in which the horses are stabled. Ezra has looked more professional in footage of his morning gallops, so optimism is in the air with regards to his potential improvement on race day. 


THIS ONE'S FOR YOU (Rating: 43)
We wrap things up with another horse for the “switch to dirt” black books in This One's For You. This is unsurprising when his pedigree is taken into account. The topside of his pedigree traces through Lethal Force, Dark Angel and Acclamation -- all of whom have had success with progeny over the all-weather in Europe. On the dam’s side, This One’s For You’s pedigree leads to all-time great American stallions Storm Cat and Mr. Prospector. This galloper has shown very little in his local career to date, but his two most recent trials (both of which were on the dirt) inspire confidence, as they were significantly better than anything he's shown on race day. 



Photo by Tom Page


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