Hong Kong Spot Plays: Dirt Specialists Take the Spotlight

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TwinSpires Staff

June 11th, 2019

By J. Keeler Johnson Racing continues on Wednesday evening in Hong Kong with eight races over the all-weather track at Sha Tin. Contrary to how the term is used in North America, Sha Tin’s all-weather track features a dirt surface rather than a synthetic one, so the Wednesday card serves as a perfect opportunity for horses who prefer sand over sod to take a turn in the spotlight. The card kicks off at 7:15 a.m. EDT—that’s Wednesday morning in the U.S., take note—so why not play a few races while enjoying your morning coffee? If you need ideas, I’ve come up with a couple of spot plays emphasizing proven dirt runners…. Race 1: Tong Fuk Handicap (Class 4) We played #6 Remarkable over this 1,650-meter distance in a Class 4 on turf at Happy Valley last week, but after dropping back to trail the field, Remarkable had to spin extremely wide into the homestretch, losing ground in the process. He did produce a mild rally down the lane to finish just 2 ½ lengths out of third place while sprinting the final 400 meters in :24.08. Now Remarkable is returning to the all-weather track at Sha Tin, a big positive considering he’s scored three wins, two seconds, and two thirds from 16 starts over the all-weather track, compared to one runner-up effort from 11 starts on turf. Acclaimed jockey Joao Moreira retains the mount for Hong Kong’s leading trainer John Size, and Remarkable gets into Wednesday’s race carrying just 125 pounds, among the lighter assignments. This looks like the perfect spot to rebound. $13 to win on #6 Remarkable Race 7: Butterfly Bay Handicap (Class 2) #4 Fortune Booth looks like a perfect fit for this 1,200-meter Class 2 handicap. Fortune Booth’s turf form is decent, but he ran out of his skin at this distance and class level over the all-weather track on April 22, running the final two 400-meter sectionals in :21.78 and :21.90 to rally and win by half a length. His finishing fractions, and his final time of 1:08.14, were both faster than the standard times for the class level. A repeat of that performance could land Fortune Booth in the winner’s circle on Wednesday. Let’s bet Fortune Booth to win and play him in the quinella with Moreira’s mount #5 Raging Blitzkrieg, a pacesetting runner-up in his last two starts going longer over the all-weather track; and #9 Pick Number One, a five-time winner over this track and distance. Pick Number One came back lame in his last two starts of 2018, but has enjoyed six months off to recuperate and should be ready for a better effort today. $10.4 to win on #4 Fortune Booth $5.2 quinella: 4 with 5,9 ($10.4) Good luck!