Hong Kong Spot Plays: Class drop key for Simply Brilliant

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TwinSpires Staff

June 1st, 2019

by J. Keeler Johnson The Sunday, June 2, race card at Sha Tin at Hong Kong is a bit bigger than usual, with 11 races on the agenda rather than the typical 10. That means bettors will have one extra chance to make a big score on the competitive card, which kicks off at 12:15 a.m. (ET). The highlight of the day is the 1,600-meter Lion Rock Trophy (G3), which has attracted a few capable milers looking to escape from the shadow of Hong Kong sensation Beauty Generation. Let’s go through the card and come up with a couple of spot plays. Race 7: HKU Faculties of Architecture and Engineering Handicap (Class 4) – 3:40 a.m. Little Wise Man (#2) will have to tote 132 pounds in this 1,400-meter Class 4 handicap, but he just might be up to the task. The lightly-raced three-year-old has finished second in three straight races sprinting 1,200 meters, unleashing big late rallies despite troubled starts, so having an extra 200 meters to work with should help his chances. Last time out at Sha Tin, Little Wise Man finished up the last two 400-meter sections in :22.78 and :22.30, an exceptional turn-of-foot that will be difficult for any of his Sunday rivals to match. As an added bonus, Hong Kong’s leading jockey Zac Purton will be in the saddle for high-percentage trainer Frankie Lor. $15.60 to win on Little Wise Man (#2) Race 9: Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (G3) – 4:40 a.m. Last time out, Simply Brilliant (#1) tackled superstar miler Beauty Generation in the Champions Mile (G1) at Sha Tin and endured a tough trip. He broke slowly and rushed up early on, but then got trapped behind horses and spent much of the race waiting for an opening. When he did get clear down the homestretch, the pace was picking up considerably. Despite this unfavorable setup, Simply Brilliant managed to sprint the final 400 meters in :22.17 to finish third, beaten only two lengths by Beauty Generation. The drop in class to Group 3 company should be ideal for Simply Brilliant, and while he’ll be carrying top weight of 133 pounds, a repeat of his effort in the Champions Mile should be enough to get the job done on Sunday. For good measure, Simply Brilliant will be racing for the same Frankie Lor/Zac Purton partnership as Little Wise Man. Let’s key Simply Brilliant in the quinella and trifecta with Dinozzo (#3), who drops in class after facing Group 1 winners Beauty Generation, Exultant, and Win Bright in his last few starts; Pingwu Spark (#4), a capable sprinter stretching out in distance after receiving poor setups in his last two runs; and Red Warrior (#10), who enters off a victory in a 1,600-meter Class 2 handicap at Sha Tin, in which he sprinted the final 400 meters in :22.13. $3.90 quinella: 1 with 3, 10 ($7.80) $2.60 trifecta: 1 with 3, 4, 10 with 3, 4, 10 ($15.60) $2.60 trifecta: 3, 10 with 1 with 3, 4, 10 ($10.40) Good luck! PHOTO: Simply Brilliant (c) Hong Kong Jockey Club