Four price horses worth using in tonight’s Hong Kong International Races

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

December 10th, 2017

As a supplement to my colleague Vance Hanson’s spot plays for the Hong Kong International Races, I’ll weigh in with an outsider eligible to outperform his odds in each of the four Group 1s.

The Hong Kong Vase, 4TH Race (1 a.m. EST): Highland Reel is eligible to show more here than he did on the quick turnaround at Del Mar, in this third start off his unplanned layoff, so I’m inclined to think that at his best he turns the tables on his Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) usurper, Talismanic. But if Talismanic could jump up last time, the horse who beat him twice in France, #3 Tiberian, logically should be involved too. He’ll be overlooked in light of his recent seventh in the Melbourne Cup (G1), where his chances were compromised by a bad post, and by the fact his trainer (Alain Couetil) is not a household name. For higher-profile connections, however, the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) winner would likely be getting a little more attention on the cutback to his usual trip.  Aside from Talismanic, he’s the only other French horse in a race that’s been a happy hunting ground for his countrymen – the Vase has been won 10 times by a French shipper. At the very least, Tiberian can add value to the exotics in an otherwise chalky-looking race. As I write, he’s trading at 16-1 (win odds) in Hong Kong.

My in-depth preview of the Hong Kong Vase is over on Brisnet.

The Hong Kong Sprint, 5TH Race (1:40 a.m. EST): Mr Stunning is favored to complete his ascendancy to Hong Kong stardom, but there’s not a great deal between him and Lucky Bubbles. Since the locals tend to dominate this race, it makes sense to look for a dark horse among them, and #4 Thewizardofoz (almost 10-1 in Hong Kong at the moment) strikes me as the most intriguing. Among the highest-rated horses in the line-up, he was fifth to stablemate Mr Stunning in the local prep, at a tempo that wouldn’t have suited him. Now the well-bred Australian import stands to get a rollicking pace set-up with Joao Moreira. Thewizardofoz can look top-drawer in the right circumstances, which might obtain here.

More is available in my Hong Kong Sprint preview.

The Hong Kong Mile, 7TH Race (2:50 a.m. EST): Ill-fated Horse of the Year Rapper Dragon’s form lies over the Hong Kong principals, exemplified most recently by prep winner Seasons Bloom. The bigger value may be Japan’s #4 Satono Aladdin (currently 12-1 in Hong Kong), who’s right up there with them in the ratings. He’s one of those feast-or-famine types, but his signature victory in the Yasuda Kinen (G1) illustrated his dazzling turn of foot on his day. He defeated reigning Hong Kong Mile winner Beauty Only in that Tokyo feature, proving he’s better than his seventh here last December. Ignore his past two (on account of rain-softened ground and wheeling back), and with the rider change to Hugh Bowman, the son of Deep Impact should be given his best shot to shine.

See the full Hong Kong Mile preview here.

The Hong Kong Cup, 8TH Race (3:30 a.m. EST): Werther is rightly all the rage in a race that tends to be pretty formful. The obvious alternative is Japan’s Neorealism, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) here in April. Yet Werther almost beat him that day despite pulling early and bleeding in his trachea. If you take that QEII Cup as a guide, a Werther at the top of his game ought to have the upper hand in the rematch. On European form, Poet’s Word is a clear danger, but post 12 puts a dent in the enthusiasm. Post 11 isn’t ideal for #6 Secret Weapon either, but last year’s Cup runner-up is proven over course and distance and could be ready to fire again on the HKIR stage. With a genuine pace on tap, Secret Weapon figures to do his best work late and possibly make the frame at a price (16-1 in Hong Kong now).

For more, check out my Hong Kong Cup preview.

Happy HKIR!

Thewizardofoz photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club