Hong Kong Spot Plays: Two improving runners offer appeal

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 5th, 2019

Racing in Hong Kong continues on Sunday, October 6 with a 10-race card at Sha Tin.

If you’re all wound up and excited following a fantastic Saturday of racing in North America, or if you can’t sleep wondering if Enable will prevail for the third straight year in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a little wagering action in Hong Kong should fill your schedule just fine! First post time is 1:00 p.m. ET.

A couple of improving runners, one on grass and one on dirt, strike me as appealing spot plays on this busy night of racing:

Race 5: Lung Fu Shan Handicap (Class 4)

The lightly-raced #9 Sprint Forward took a nice step forward in his first run of the 2019-20 season, rallying to finish second by 1 ¼ lengths in a Class 4 handicap over this course and 1,400-meter distance on September 15. That was a quick race—the winner clocked 1:21.15, a full second faster than the standard for the class level—and Sprint Forward recorded strong finishing fractions of :23.04 and :23.15 for the final two 400-meter sectionals.

Hong Kong’s reigning champion jockey Zac Purton was in the saddle and will retain the mount on Sunday for legendary trainer John Moore. Sprint Forward draws in with a light weight assignment (just 122 pounds) and should have every opportunity to reach the winner’s circle.

Let’s bet Sprint Forward to win and key him on top of a trifecta while emphasizing #3 Sunshine Warrior, #7 Lucky Guy and #8 My Winner underneath:

$10.4 to win on #9 Sprint Forward
$1.3 trifecta: 9 with 3,7,8 with 3,4,5,7,8 ($15.6)

Race 11: The JCI Hong Kong Senate Cup (Class 3)

#11 Deal Maker came back lame following a third-place finish going 1,650 meters over the dirt track on March 4, but after taking some time off, he’s come back in better form than ever. After decisively winning a 1,650-meter Class 4 handicap on July 7, he won an identical race on September 15 by 3 ½ lengths, leading all the way and rocketing the final 400 meters in :22.98 to win for fun.

This effort improved Deal Maker’s rating by ten pounds (and this after improving eight pounds in his previous run!) so he’ll be stepping up into Class 3 company on Sunday. The rise in class is an obvious challenge, but Deal Maker gets into the race carrying just 117 pounds and might be capable of taking another step forward. After all, he’s never finished out of the trifecta on dirt and looms as a formidable “horse for the course” specialist.

Underneath in the trifecta, we’ll emphasize a few other runners who have shown capable form on dirt, mainly #4 Bear Slam and #9 Clear Choice.

$20.8 to win on #11 Deal Maker
11 with 4,9 with 3,4,6,7,9,12 ($13)
11 with 3,6,7,12 with 4,9 ($10.4)

Good luck!

Find weekly Hong Kong spot plays with J. Keeler Johnson.