Hong Kong Spot Plays: Betting on a Unicorn

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TwinSpires Staff

July 6th, 2019

by J. Keeler Johnson Set your alarm clock for 4:05 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 7! That’s when the most interesting racing action gets underway at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. Eleven races are scheduled for the Sunday card, which starts at 12:30 a.m., but arguably the best races are slated for the second half of the card. I’m particularly interested in the 8TH race (hence my proposed 4:05 a.m. alarm time), which features a young turf sprinter stepping up in class against a competitive field. Let’s come up with a couple of spot plays for the early morning action: Race 8: The Members Cup (Class 3) Multimillion (#2) is the established class horse in this 1,000-meter handicap. With three victories and a second from his last four starts over this course, distance and class level, Multimillion has emerged as a consistent and formidable sprinter. Last out, he sprinted the final two 400-meter sectionals of a 1,000-meter dash in :19.97 and :22.64, blazing fractions that led to a runner-up effort behind the talented Thanks Forever. But Multimillion will be saddled with top weight of 133 pounds on Sunday, which could give an advantage to lightweight Classic Unicorn (#13), who will carry just 116 pounds. Classic Unicorn debuted in a Class 4 handicap sprinting 1,000 meters at Sha Tin last month and delivered an eye-catching performance, setting the pace and sprinting the final two 400-meter sectionals in :20.20 and :21.78 to win with ease by 2 3/4 lengths. His final time of :55.12 established a Sha Tin course record for the class level. Classic Unicorn carried 126 pounds in his record-setting debut, so even though he’s rising in class on Sunday, he’s also dropping 10 pounds and might well run even faster under the lighter assignment. In my opinion, this stamps Classic Unicorn as the horse to beat. Let’s bet Classic Unicorn to win and play him in the quinella with Multimillion. Then let’s key Classic Unicorn for first and second in the trifecta. Underneath, we’ll emphasize Multimillion and Goko (#12), a capable 1,000-meter sprinter who has held his own against tough company this year. $13 to win on #13 Classic Unicorn $5.20 quinella: 2,13 $1.30 trifecta: 13 with 2,12 with 1,2,3,12 ($7.8) $1.30 trifecta: 2 with 13 with 1,3,12 ($3.9) Race 10: Levade 1200M Handicap (Class 3) Winner Supreme (#3) has shown a clear affinity for the all-weather dirt track at Sha Tin. He won his first two starts sprinting 1,200 meters over this surface in March and April, prevailing by five lengths in a Class 4 before stepping up to Class 3 company and winning by a nose. In both races, Winner Supreme went straight to the lead, threw down a :21.70 penultimate 400 meters, and just kept going. Winner Supreme failed to fire after dueling for the lead in another Class 3 handicap on April 22, weakening in the final 400 meters, but his jockey was actually easing him late and noted Winner Supreme seemed off in the homestretch. After taking a couple weeks off from galloping, Winner Supreme resumed serious training in May and has won two barrier trials since then, suggesting he’s back to his best and ready to score on Sunday. Let’s bet Winner Supreme to win and play him in the Omni/Swinger with Coby Oppa (#6), a son of The Factor who boasts two wins and a second over the all-weather course at Sha Tin. $10.40 to win on #3 Winner Supreme $5.20 Omni/Swinger: 3,6 Good luck! PHOTO: Classic Unicorn and jockey Zac Purton capture a Class 4 contest at Sha Tin on June 2, 2019 (c) Hong Kong Jockey Club