Hong Kong Preview: Kurpany to overcome top weight
The much-improved #1 Kurpany looks capable of overcoming a hefty weight impost in the Silvermine Bay Handicap on the Sha Tin dirt March 30.
Kurpany had a 68 rating beginning the 2020-21 season, but ended it rated 91 after three victories on the Happy Valley turf, and this season his rating has continued climbing to 110 after winning his last two starts.
The most recent of his victories came on the Sha Tin “All-Weather” track (which is actually dirt rather than synthetic) Jan. 30, where he sped away from #9 Czarson, #2 Duke Wai, and #7 Red Majesty.
All three horses reoppose him in this 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) Class 1 sprint on the same surface, and all are on better terms at the weights; Duke Wai in particular is 10 pounds better off.
However, Kurpany’s victory was so decisive that he looks well capable of getting to the front from the gates and settling the race with his speed. As with his last start, he will be helped by a five pound apprentice claim from Alfred Chan.
The biggest danger may well be #4 Majestic Star, who like Kurpany has won his last two. He won on the dirt two starts back and then led home #8 Keep You Warm and Duke Wai (the latter conceding 17 pounds) on the Happy Valley turf Feb. 23.
The formline at the weights through Duke Wai suggests Majestic Star still has a bit to find with Kurpany, but he too could well step up again. He has the benefit of the in-form Karis Teetan aboard.
Dirt specialist #3 Silver Fig, dirt debuter #5 Master Montaro, and the out-of-form #6 Highly Proactive complete the field.
The best chance to topple Kurpany may well be Duke Wai, given the difference at the weights. He hasn’t won for a year but is in decent form. Don’t be put off by his last-start ninth; that was against a black type-quality field of turf sprinters and he was just 3 1/4 lengths from the winner at the line.
- $30 win: #1 Kurpany
- $1.30 trifecta: 1 with 2, 4 with 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9
BONUS PLAY - NEW ZEALAND
Matamata, March 29, Race 9, Rating 65 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs)
- $10 win/$30 place: #7 Sicilian Dream: Very impressive winning on debut and looks capable of taking the next step.