Luke Middlebroook: Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on Sunday for a 10-race fixture with the Class 2 1600m Handicap the highest-rated race on the card.
That race sees progressive four-year-old MASTER DELIGHT back to atone after a narrow last-start defeat.
MASTER DELIGHT has acquitted himself well in four starts for the John Size stable in Hong Kong, missing the frame on just one occasion when fourth place second-up in a slow run race and dictated to by a wide barrier.
MASTER DELIGHT shed his local maiden tag impressively two starts ago when rising to the mile, and was expected to repeat the dose next time out when an odds-on favourite, but he found himself on pace in a fast run race and was swamped late.
That day, MASTER DELIGHT’S first 800m of 47.14 seconds was 0.78 seconds faster than Japan galloper SALIOS’, who led them up in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Mile later on the card, so it was a solid effort to hold second place. Having trialled well in between runs, MASTER DELIGHT looks primed to land a second Hong Kong win.
Elsewhere, trainer Me Tsui’s four-year-old ARMOUR EAGLE is on song to land his first local win in the Class 3 1200m Handicap at Sha Tin on Sunday.
ARMOUR EAGLE, a two-time winner from three starts in Australia when known as Brandwood, has acclimatised to Hong Kong racing quickly after two promising runs so far. First-up, he was eased back early from barrier No 11 before closing off strongly late two lengths off the winner into sixth place.
Proving the eye-catching debut effort no fluke, ARMOUR EAGLE went on to finish runner-up to unbeaten four-year-old ROMANTIC WARRIOR second-up.
Coming into barrier 3 on Sunday while getting the services of Joao Moreira and with good speed engaged in the race can see ARMOUR EAGLE hard to hold out.
Race 1: Raging Blaze has been steadily improving and barrier 1 can see him map to be a winning chance. Golden Mission remains a long-term maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win after going close recently and this is a winnable race. Tronic Mighty dropping in class and will find this much easier than last start, start to follow. Telecom Missile good performance when storming home for a nice second last start, but a wide draw will make it tough. Ever Joy second start in this grade after dropping in class and could improve, outsider chance.
Race 2: Like That led too quick in a 1200m Happy Valley race last start and was entitled to fade late, but he wasn’t beaten far. He can give some cheek on pace returning to this track and distance. Alcari holding good form after winning at a big price two starts ago and backing it up with a third place last start. Metro Warrior well-placed and looks a chance in race like this on prior good form. Wild West Wing was an easy last start winner in Class 4, this is tougher but have to respect Size’s current form. Run Run Cool looks a longshot chance in a race like this.
Race 3: Armour Eagle good performance when storming home for a nice second last start and he now looks ready to breakthrough third-up in Hong Kong as he comes into a good draw and with Moreira in the saddle. California Sky newcomer who looks a winning chance in this race. Has plenty of early speed and will give a sight. Gallant Express runner-up in his last two starts to a smart one in Lucky With You. Double Six Pop has trialled well for debut and should be rated a chance. Racing Fighter can bounce back a winner anytime in this class, outsider chance here.
Race 4: Brave Power winner of last two starts and he won’t have many excuses jumping from barrier 4. Divine Era recent barrier trial was a big improvement, suggesting a good run can be expected. Barrier 1 should see him competitive. Destin looks ready to run a big race in Class 5. Dragon Pride was an easy last start winner, goes close again is he’s held form. Victorious Leader has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon, but barrier 10 is awkward.
Race 5: Whizz Kid a three-time runner-up from five starts so far and is overdue for a win. Stepping back in trip looks ideal and he’ll be trying to make all. Glenealy Generals good performance when storming home for third place last start and a good barrier for the straight course can see him in the finish. Noble Desire narrowly beaten last start and will go close again. Happy Forever newcomer who has trialled well but quietly for debut. He may be overlooked in the marker. Oriental Smoke newcomer from an astute yard (David Hayes) and watch betting support.
Race 6: Pins Prince solid effort last start over 1400m in a fast run race but back to 1200m looks the winning factor. Smart Wongchoy looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form, a win is near. Infinity Win remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here, but just needs some luck from the wide draw. Turbo Power racing well with excellent sectional time rankings. Captain Long had excuses last start when racing wide without cover, but from barrier 1 here he should be mapping far better.
Race 7: Master Delight solid effort last start when runner-up as the race was run much faster than the G1 HK Mile on the same day. He gets his chance to atone. Rocket Spade turned in a very nice debut run and looks to have good ability. Beluga racing consistently of late and expect another big run. The Irishman good performance when storming home for a nice second last start. Ima Single Man racing in great form and expect another good run if he handles the mile at his first try.
Race 8: Good Runner progressive four-year-old more than capable of winning again in this race as he has drawn well low. Maps to win. Running Glory improving type and getting close to a win after finishing third at his second start last time and trialling nicely since. Super Mission looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form. Vukan improving with racing and getting close to another win, especially as he has drawn stall No 1. Namjong Cortez video replay showed last run was very good, longshot chance in a race like this.
Race 9: Good Buddy drawn wide in his last two starts but comes into barrier 2 and can bounce back to winning ways. A good pickup ride for Luke Ferraris here. Wins All had no luck last start but keep following, just needs luck from the widest barrier. Happy Daily last start winner who retains good form and can run well again. Solar Partner holding form with recent good trial and looks well, improving all the time and a win is near. Salutation a John Size runner who showed improvement at a recent trial.
Race 10: Parterre looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form, Moreira jumps on and this is a weak Class 3 race. Ready to win. Beauty Champ did not disgrace at his last run, which was his first Hong Kong start, and must be rated a chance here second-up from a good draw. Yo Beauty video replay showed last run was very good and he can surprise in this race. Golden Link looks a place chance if holding form and has to be considered. Private Rocket has finished close up recently and can run well given the lack of depth here.