Hong Kong Spot Plays: Thanks Forever goes for three in a row

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TwinSpires Staff

June 7th, 2019

by J. Keeler Johnson The racing action in Hong Kong will return to Sha Tin on June 8 for the first of four consecutive meetings at the world-class track before Happy Valley joins the rotation again at the end of June. I’ve gone through the 10-race card and picked out of a couple of lightly-raced, fast-finishing young runners with the potential to improve on Saturday: Race 3: Tuen Mun Public Riding School Handicap (Class 3) Thanks Forever (#2) has shown a ton of potential in his first two starts for accomplished trainer John Moore. The three-year-old son of Duporth won his debut sprinting 1,000 meters at Sha Tin last June in impressive fashion, overcoming a stumble at the start to press the pace and pull clear with authority late in the race. He sprinted the last two 400-meter sectionals in :20.70 and :22.71 to win by 3 1/2 lengths. A couple of setbacks delayed Thanks Forever’s next start – he suffered a stress fracture in his left hind leg in July 2018, then bled during a barrier trial in December. However, Thanks Forever finally returned in a 1,000-meter Class 3 handicap on May 26 at Sha Tin and picked up right where he left off, rocketing the final two 400-meter sectionals in :20.61 and :22.11 to again prevail by 3 1/4 lengths. Zac Purton, Hong Kong’s leading rider, was aboard that day and will be back in the saddle for Saturday’s race. Perhaps the main threat to Thanks Forever is Multimillion (#1), who has won his last three starts sprinting 1,000 meters at Sha Tin, though one victory came via disqualification. Like Thanks Forever, Multimillion has repeatedly shown the ability to post fast-finishing fractions, though he’ll be toting top weight of 132 pounds and conceding 11 pounds to Goko (#7), a capable sprinter who finished just half a length behind Multimillion in a Class 3 sprint at Sha Tin in March. Let’s bet Thanks Forever to win and key him in the top two spots of a trifecta: $20.80 to win on #2 Thanks Forever $2.60 trifecta: 2 with 1,7 with 1,7 ($5.20) $2.60 trifecta: 1,7 with 2 with 1,7 ($5.20) Race 10: Pok Fu Lam Country Park Handicap (Class 3) Mr Croissant (#10) could have a live chance to upset the field in this 1,200-meter sprint. Last out over this course, distance and class level, he was too far off the pace in a fast race that saw the final 400 meters elapse in just :21.53. Mr Croissant couldn’t gain ground into that fraction, but he didn’t lose ground either and stayed on admirably to finish third. Previously, he had won two straight 1,200-meter sprints at Sha Tin with sharp late rallies, including a Class 3. If he gets a better pace setup on Saturday, he can be in the mix at a price. A win bet on Mr Croissant is the obvious play, but we’ll also key him in the quinella with Golden Sixty (#8), Beauty Spark (#3) and Ping Hai Galaxy (#4). Golden Sixty is undefeated in two starts, the latter duo ship in from Australia and they’ll all race for high-profile connections. $7.80 to win on #10 Mr Croissant $3.90 quinella: 10 with 3,4,8 ($11.70) Good luck! PHOTO: Thanks Forever and jockey Zac Purton winning at Sha Tin on May 26, 2019 (c) Hong Kong Jockey Club