Hong Kong Spot Plays: A double on dirt at Sha Tin

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 31st, 2020

On Wednesday, a rare midweek race card at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Racecourse will be held, with an early 7:15 a.m. (ET) first post for TwinSpires players.

All eight races will take place on dirt, providing a change of pace from the typical turf racing fare in Hong Kong.

Let’s follow the action with a couple of spot plays:

Race 4: Kiu Tsui Handicap (Class 4, 8:45 a.m. ET)

Reigning champion trainer John Size appears to have #7 Excel Delight poised for victory in this 1,200-meter dash. The 4-year-old son of Exceed and Excel has been a picture of consistency, finishing fourth or better in all four of his runs over the dirt track at Sha Tin.

Excel Delight has been particularly effective when partnering with leading jockey Joao Moreira, winning over this class level on Feb. 2 and missing by a less than a length in two other runs this season. Moreira will retain the mount on Wednesday, a sure sign Size is expecting another sharp effort from Excel Delight. The bay gelding has drawn post 2, which should set up a forwardly-placed and ground-saving trip.

We’ll bet Excel Delight to win and key him on top of a trifecta emphasizing #2 Goldie Flanker and #4 Viva Council underneath:

  • $26 to Win on #7 Excel Delight
  • $1.30 Trifecta: 7 with 2,4 with 2,3,4,5,6,11 ($13)
  • $1.30 Trifecta: 7 with 3,5,6,11 with 2,4 ($10.40)

Race 6: Clear Water Bay Handicap (Class 3, 9:45 a.m.)

Top jockeys Zac Purton and Joao Moreira, locked in a tight battle for supremacy of the Hong Kong circuit, will face off aboard #8 Flying Genius and #9 Just Not Listening in this 1,200-meter sprint. Flying Genius figures to start as the narrow favorite with Purton in the saddle; in his first run over the Sha Tin dirt on Mar. 8, the 3-year-old gelding set the pace before settling for second place in a game try.

But Moreira’s mount Just Not Listening wasn’t far behind at the finish, employing pace-tracking tactics to come up a neck short of catching Flying Genius. A veteran 5-year-old with three wins over the Sha Tin dirt to his credit, Just Not Listening appears cranked for a peak effort for legendary trainer John Moore and has drawn inside of Flying Genius, potentially allowing him to save more ground and turn the tables on his rival.

We’ll bet Flying Genius and Just Not Listening in a hefty quinella, then key them on top of a trifecta adding #10 Namjong Sings and #11 Utopia Life  underneath:

  • $20.80 Quinella: 8,9
  • $2.60 Trifecta: 8,9 with 8,9 with 10,11 ($10.40)
  • $2.60 Trifecta: 8,9 with 10,11 with 8,9 ($10.40)

Good luck!