Hong Kong Preview: Chinese New Year Cup suits Lucky Express
#2 Lucky Express can gain compensation for a narrow defeat in Group 3 company by winning the Chinese New Year Cup at Sha Tin Feb. 3.
The son of Toronado just failed to catch Healthy Happy in the Chinese Challenge Club Handicap Jan. 1 over 1400m (about seven furlongs), the same distance as the Chinese New Year Cup.
Though his form looks inconsistent, his 11th placing at his previous start was at international Group 1 level Dec. 12 in the Hong Kong International Mile, a distance which form suggests is a little too far for him. In races up to 1400m he has had five starts for a win and three second-place finishes.
At this level, especially with a nice draw of six and the aid of Zac Purton riding, he looks to be very hard to beat.
The much-improved #9 Cheerful Days steps up to Class 1 company for the first time here. After one win from his first 13 Hong Kong starts, he’s now won four of his last five. He did well to come from behind to win his most recent start given the slow pace, and though his record is better at Happy Valley than Sha Tin, he has won at the top course in the past.
#1 Will Power and #4 Californiadeepshot come into the race after a stirring battle over 1600m on the Sha Tin All-Weather track Dec. 29, where Will Power came out on top by 1 1/2 lengths. Both have performed well on turf as well, though Californiadeepshot has won three times on turf whereas Will Power has yet to do so. Californiadeepshot is also six pounds better off at the weights and may also prefer 1400m more than his rival.
#5 Winning Dreamer produced a nice effort to finish third Jan. 16, though he is still unknown at 1400m. The resuming #8 Band of Brothers and #7 Master Montaro also have appeal for exotics.
Sha Tin, Thursday Feb. 3, Race 4
- $10 win/$30 show: #2 Lucky Express.
- $1.30 trifecta: 2 with 1, 4, 5, 9 with 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9.
BONUS PLAY – NEW ZEALAND
New Plymouth, Friday Feb. 4, Race 5
- $10 win/$30 show, #10 Our Hail Mary: Marton Cup winner racing on her home track for trainer Allan Sharrock. Hard to topple.