Gary Crispe's Timeform Preview – 2019 Hong Kong International Races

This afternoon’s 31st Hong Kong International Raceday boasts some great contests across the four major events - the Vase, Sprint, Mile and Cup.

The Longines Hong Kong Sprint is perhaps the most interesting race from a local viewpoint, where crack galloper Aethero is looking to cement his place as the most exciting young sprinter to emerge in Honk Kong since Silent Witness, Absolute Champion and Sacred Kingdom.

Aethero
Aethero Picture: HKJC

And that expectation is not without some foundation as the son of Sebring has notched up five impressive wins from only six race appearances.

Last start the youngster of the field spreadeagled the best sprinters Hong Kong could muster in the main lead up race for today's assignment, The Jockey Club Sprint defeating Hot King Prawn by two lengths in sizzling race time which was just outside the track record.

Jumping from a previous win in Class 2 company, the victory silenced critics and announced the arrival of a potential sprinting star for Hong Kong, the gelding running to a new career peak Timeform rating of 124+ which was underlined by a very quick Timefigure.

Under the weight for age scale of today's contest, Aethero gets into the race with 53kgs on his back, a rise of just a kilo and a half on the Jockey Club Sprint win.

So highly is the gelding regarded, that regular rider Zac Purton has shed several kilos in an effort to retain the mount.

But with even luck in the race, a return of his last start Timeform rating should see him comfortably home in a most competitive field.

The main dangers to Aethero look to be Australian mare In Her Time, Hot King Prawn and unknown Japanese sprinter Danon Smash.

Quality mare In Her Time comes into the race with excellent form lines from elite Australian sprinting races such as the VRC Classic, Everest and VRC Lightning Stakes.

In Her Time began the year by winning the Lightning Stakes defeating a Osborne Bulls and VRC Newmarket Handicap winner Sunlght then ran slightly below par when sixth in the VRC Newmarlet.

Spelled after that run with the Everest in mind, In Her Time was just over four lengths off Everest winner Yes Yes Yes before a gallant third behind Nature Strip in the VRC Sprint Classic.

A return to her peak Timeform rating of 118 sees In Her Time competitive and looms as a value chance in the race.

Hot King Prawn is the question mark runner. With a record of nine wins from twelve starts, he started favourite in this race last year finishing down the track but there were excuses.

After being off the racing scene for a long time following a colic attack, Hot King Prawn resumed against Aethero in the Jockey Club Sprint running a game second but looking open to more improvement.

If that improvement comes this afternoon, his best Timeform ratings are sufficient to put him right in the finish.

Japanese sprinter Danon Smash by the all-conquering Lord Kanaloa, himself a dual winner of thus race, brings solid sprinting form to the race. Last start he ran home strongly to grab third place behind Tower Of London in the G1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama but previous to that had beaten Tower Of London in the G3 Keeneland Cup.

Lucky Lilac
Lucky Lilac Picture: Japan Racing Association

Danon Smash is sure to be powering home late.

The Longines Hong Kong Vase is righty regarded as the pick of the four HKIR events with plenty of dept around local and international runners.

While local champ Exultant looks hard to beat, it is the lightly performed Japanese mare Lucky Lilac that has her nose just in front on adjusted Timeform ratings.

A slow maturing stayer, Lucky Lilac comes off a strong win in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2200m at Kyoto 29 days ago where she zoomed home along the rails to score handily by over a length from Crocosmia and last start Japanese Oaks winner Loves Only You.

That was just Lucky Lilac's second run this preparation but this afternoon's contest seems to have a sense of timing about it where she can be expected to make further headway.

It is also worth remembering that Lucky Lilac was runner up to Champion mare Almond Eye in the G1 Japanese Guineas of their year where she started at $1.80 favourite.

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Kyoto has also been a good guide for this meeting with previous winners Snow Fairy and Lys Gracieux racing well on HKIR day.

While there have been some fitness concerns over Lucky Lilac in the last couple of days, HKJC Stewards have passed her fit to race so expect her to be right in the finish.

That said, Exultant has the runs on the board and has been racing very consistently all year since winning the 2018 Vase renewal. Included amongst his wins have been the Hong Kong Gold Cup, Champions and Chater Cup and the Jockey Club Cup. He was also runner up to Win Bright in the QEII Cup.

Trainer Tony Cruz has given Exultant a similar preparation to last year and comes off a soft win in the Jockey Club Cup where he rated 121+ but with capacity to reach his usual peak performance level of 122.

It must be remembered that is last year's Vase, Exultant defeated Lys Gracieux which has subsequently turned out to be one of the best middle distance form lines in the last 12 months.

Fellow Japanese globetrotting mare Deidre and 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyke round out a solid staying line up.

As an aside, Anthony Van Dyke will be the first Epsom Derby winner to run at Sha Tin.

Beauty Generation
Beauty Generation Picture: HKJC

The remaining two features are the Hong Kong Mile and Hong Kong Cup.

In the Longines Hong Kong Mile, local galloper Beauty Generation who has won this race twice previously faces some stiff opposition from Japan raiders Indy Champ, Persian Knight and Normcore.

Beauty Generation's current form and ratings profile suggests there is something amiss right now and that opens the door for Indy Champ to snare the prize.

Beauty Generation was impressive winning first up under a big weight – a run that in retrospect now looks as if it has fattened him somewhat as he has been running below par in two subsequent runs.

A change in training regime by the Moore stable is expected to see him get back to somewhere near his best – a level he will need to be at to hold out Indy Champ.

Timeform rated 126 and a winner of seven of his twelve runs, Indy Champ comes here the winner of two G1 mile races in Japan from his last three starts – the Yasuda Kinen defeating Almond Eye at Tokyo and last start the Mile Championship at Kyoto (Persian Knight finished third).

That form is exceptional for this afternoon and only a fit Beauty Generation in top form will stand between him and victory.

While the Longines Hong Kong Cup sees QEII winner Win Bright return to Sha Tin for another big race win, however Aidan O'Brien's tough mare Magic Wand and local galloper Glorious Forever stand in his way.

Last start G1 MacKinnon Stakes winner Magic Wand has the recent form on the board and can add another victory to her CV today, while Win Bright looks ready to peak on his two below par runs since resuming.

Enjoy a great card of racing.


Racing and Sports



Sha Tin

Sunday, 08th December 2019

5
14:20
(local)

The Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1)

Age: 3yo and up Type: OPEN
HKD $20,000,000
1200m TURF GOOD
5
14:20
(local)
HKD $20,000,000
1200m GOOD

The Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1)

Age: 3yo and up Type: OPEN
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 1. BEAT THE CLOCK (AUS) 6yo G
Hinchinbrook (AUS) - FLION FENENA (AUS)
JOAO MOREIRA
JOHN SIZE
$6.50
57.0kg
Merrick Chung Wai Lik

Sales Information

2nd 4. HOT KING PRAWN (AUS) 5yo G
DENMAN (AUS) - DE CHORUS (AUS)
K TEETAN
JOHN SIZE
$5.50
57.0kg
Lau Sak Hong

Sales Information

3rd 14. AETHERO (AUS) 3yo G
SEBRING (AUS) - PINOCCHIO (AUS)
ZAC PURTON
JOHN MOORE
$1.50
53.0kg
Andrea Tien & Arthur Cheng

Sales Information

4th 3. MR STUNNING (AUS) 7yo G
EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) - With Fervour (USA)
HUGH BOWMAN
F C LOR
$26.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

5th 11. FULL OF BEAUTY (AUS) 5yo G
DARCI BRAHMA (NZ) - PENNACCHIO (NZ)
C Y HO
JOHN SIZE
$26.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

6th 9. WISHFUL THINKER (AUS) 6yo G
I AM INVINCIBLE (AUS) - ZEBITHEA (AUS)
C SOUMILLON
R GIBSON
$151.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

7th 2. D B PIN (NZ) 7yo G
Darci Brahma (NZ) - Pins 'N' Needles (NZ)
RYAN MOORE
JOHN SIZE
$51.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

8th 7. DANON SMASH (JPN) 4yo H
LORD KANALOA (JPN) - SPINNING WILDCAT (USA)
FRANKIE DETTORI
TAKEHIRO YASUDA
$31.00
57.0kg
9th 10. SEASONS BLOOM (AUS) 7yo G
CAPTAIN SONADOR (AUS) - PYRAMISA'S LASS (AUS)
GRANT VAN NIEKERK
C S SHUM
$26.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

10th 5. RATTAN (NZ) 6yo G
Savabeel (AUS) - GRAND PRINCESS (AUS)
CHAD SCHOFIELD
R GIBSON
$51.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

11th 8. IVICTORY (AUS) 6yo G
MOSSMAN (AUS) - INCA LAGOON (AUS)
ALBERTO SANNA
JOHN SIZE
$201.00
57.0kg

Sales Information

12th 12. REGENCY LEGEND (NZ) 4yo G
PINS (AUS) - SPARKLING (NZ)
SILVESTRE DE SOUSA
C S SHUM
$101.00
57.0kg

Sales Information