Luke Middlebrook: Hong Kong racing returns to Sha Tin on Sunday for a quality 10-race turf and dirt card with a Class 3 1200m Handicap, the Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup the feature race of the day coming up in Race 8.
This race sees promising four-year-old DROPS OF GOD return to the races and he looks on song to pick up where he left off at the end of last season.
DROPS OF GOD burst onto the scene last season by winning easily on debut in Class 4, making all in running to score by 2.25 lengths.
Penalised 14 points for that effort, the John Size-trained gelding was unable to continue his winning ways as he catapulted his way into Class 3, going under at his next two starts as a short-priced favourite. However, he was far from disgraced as he checked home third place on each occasion.
DROPS OF GOD returned a winner in his final race for the season, again leading from pillar-to-post while putting 1.50 lengths on the runner-up.
Size has found a highly winnable race for DROPS OF GOD’S return, where he meets some below-par Class 3 gallopers. Trialling nicely on two occasions during the break should see him fit enough first-up and he’ll be favoured to make it back-to-back wins under Joao Moreira.
Sunday could be a big day for Moreira in the saddle after going winless on Wednesday night at Happy Valley.
Moreira looks to get all favours from barrier No 1 in the final race of the card when he partners four-year-old C P BRAVE who is out to get his first Hong Kong win when he resumes in the Class 2 1600m Handicap at Sha Tin.
Tony Millard-trained C P BRAVE had three starts last season an impressed in each despite not winning.
The Irish import checked home third and second place in his final two races of the season, retuning some impressive final sectional in the process.
During the off season, C P BRAVE has trialled smartly on two occasions and he appears primed to get his first Hong Kong win.
Race 1: Fairy Floss racing in career-best form and looks ready to continue winning ways first-up. Should be leading and giving them all something to chase down. Super Fast will be suited by the switch back to AWT track based on his win here two starts ago. Gameplayer Times down in class here and can surprise off the back of an improved barrier trial. Lady First old-timer who is always capable of surprising and he should map well from the draw. London Luckystar place chance at value in a race like this.
Race 2: Master Aqua newcomer from the David Hayes yard who looks talented and must be rated a good chance to score first-up with Zac Purton in the saddle. Glenealy Generals has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon and no surprises to see Moreira take the ride. Cordyceps Six caught the eye last start running home powerfully and can only improve more second-up. Smart Idea still a maiden galloper but gets his chance to win. Spartan Missile newcomer who trialled okay and can run well.
Race 3: El Valiente looks ready to run a big race in Class 5 after turning in some good runs at the bottom of Class 4. Ruby Stars has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon and should be getting an ideal run from barrier 4. Lucky Puzzle ran the second fastest sectional time last start for a better-than-it-reads 10th place. Can surprise. Apolar Warrior video replay showed last run was very good and he won a recent trial well. Crown Avenue old-timer who is always capable of surprising and who backs up from Wednesday night.
Race 4: King Of The Court has trialled well enough for debut on more than once occasion and should be rated a winning chance first-up. Touch Faith had excuses last start when racing wide without cover and comes into this second-up with match fitness on his side. My Ecstatic has shown ability and gets his chance to win here under Purton from gate 4. Happy Time good performance when storming home for third place last start. Courageous Knight has looked good in recent trials and is rated a chance at his second career start.
Race 5: Robot Warrior remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here after finishing in the placings on multiple occasions last season. Maps well from barrier 3 under Teetan and gets his chance. Free Foal racing ultra-consistently of late and expect another big run but needs some early luck from barrier 10. Speed Fay Fay backing up quickly from last week, can run well. Decisive Action will be suited by the rise in distance and Purton back in the saddle ticks boxes. Party Everyday drops in class here and should be performing better.
Race 6: Solar Power narrowly beaten at this track and distance last week and without much speed on paper, he should be able to go all the way if he gets across from the gate. Beauty Spirit good performance when storming home for second place last start and looks a chance if he’s able to repeat. Flying Victory has a chance based on past form in this class of race and he should be an improver with Purton taking the reins. President’s Choice last run was better than it reads and do not dismiss. Sunny Baby last run suggested a win was very near.
Race 7: Leap Of Faith scored a big win last start and it will pay to keep following as he finds a suitable first-up race to continue his winning ways. Should dictate terms from gate 2 and be hard to motor down. Entrusted is on the verge of a local win and keep him safe in the numbers here. California Ten remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here after placing on several occasions last season. Not out of it. Above looks a chance in a race like this from barrier 1. Enzemble go on the win two starts ago and give a chance here.
Race 8: Drops Of God nice, progressive four-year-old with a good chance here first-up. Looks to have plenty more wins to come and he should be taking care of this field. California Cible newcomer who has trialled well for debut and he will map well to be a chance from his low gate. Equaletta Blitz changed trainer and trialled very well recently, expect improvement. Star Of Yuen Long has early speed and can always surprise with the right run. Jade Phoenix showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight but he does not win out of turn.
Race 9: Hall Of Champ poorly judged ride last start and can improve coming into a much lower barrier this week. Star Performance blinkers made the difference last run and can go on with it. Charity Grace rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Looks a handy up-and-comer and a big showing won’t surprise. Dragon Fortune finished power- fully with fastest sectional time ranking last start but he rises to Class 3 here without winning. Horsesain Bolt looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form.
Race 10: C P Brave looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form after showing ability in three starts last season. Has trialled excellently during the off season and from barrier 1 on Sunday, this looks his race. Zebrowski turned in a very nice debut run and looks to have good ability and the extra distance, and further, is a big plus. The Rock will be suited by the rise in distance and can run well second-up. Super Football more than capable of winning again in this race – just needs some luck in running. Charity Go goes well first-up from a break and should be respected.