Hong Kong Spot Plays: A day for dirt at Sha Tin
A rare Wednesday night card at Sha Tin in Hong Kong will place the focus squarely on dirt horses, with all eight of the evening races taking place on the all-weather track.
Bettors in North America can enjoy the competitive action starting at 6:15 p.m. EST. The middle of the card looks particularly enticing, with a pair of Class 4 handicaps offering the potential for fair payoffs on small wagers. Let's dig in and come up with a couple of spot plays:
Race 4: Po Lam Handicap (Class 4, 7:45 a.m. EST)
Only a handful of horses in this 1,200-meter dash have ever won on dirt, and none of them have come close to reaching the winner's circle during the 2019-20 season. With this in mind, the first-time starter #6 Party Genius could be poised to snatch victory on debut.
Trained by former champion jockey Douglas Whyte, who has performed some fine work with first-time starters, Party Genius has shown plenty of promise in barrier trials. Following a couple of encouraging efforts over the Sha Tin turf course, Party Genius transitioned to dirt and promptly won a pair of 1,200-meter trials in fine fashion. Hot jockey Alexis Badel has the mount, and it shouldn't require an overly remarkable effort for this Australian-bred 3-year-old to land in the winner's circle.
Let's bet Party Genius to win and key him in the quinella with #4 Zero Hedge, runner-up over this track, distance, and class level on Oct. 27, and #3 Undefeated, a gate-to-wire maiden winner on grass at Sha Tin last month:
$26 to Win on #6 Party Genius
$7.80 Quinella: 6 with 3,4 ($15.60)
Race 5: Tiu Keng Leng Handicap (Class 4, 8:15 a.m. EST)
#9 Foodie Princess and #12 Megatron were separated by a half-length when finishing one-two over this track, distance, and class level on Feb. 2, and all signs indicate they'll be dangerous again on Wednesday. Foodie Princess retains the services of leading jockey Joao Moreira and has never finished out of the superfecta in five starts on dirt. Megatron, a son of Hard Spun, has plenty of tactical speed and figures to set the pace for trainer Ricky Yiu, who is sending out 24% winners over the Sha Tin dirt this season.
But #6 This One's For You, hailing from the stable of leading trainer Ricky Yiu, can also challenge. Although This One's For You could only finished third behind Foodie Princess on Feb. 2, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, the son of Lethal Force produced a huge rally to win an identical race on Jan. 11, defeating both Foodie Princess and Megatron in the process.
Let's box these three tried-and-true dirt campaigners in the quinella and trifecta:
$6.50 Quinella Box: 6,9,12 ($19.50)
$2.60 Trifecta Box: 6,9,12 ($7.80)