Hong Kong: Spot plays for Champions Day at Sha Tin
The 2020-21 racing season in Hong Kong reaches its second semiannual peak on Sunday, when Sha Tin Racecourse hosts a trio of Group 1 races comprising “Champions Day.”
International fields are on tap, with Japanese raiders squaring off against talented local runners in two of the three events. Want to play along? We’ve got you covered with spot plays for all of the championship races.
Before you begin, be sure to opt in to the TwinSpires Hong Kong Bet Back promotion and receive a refund on win bets (up to $10 per race) if your horse settles for second place.
Race 5: Chairman’s Sprint Prize (G1, 2:50 a.m. ET)
The Japanese raider #1 Danon Smash has developed into a beast of a sprinter in recent months. He’s already made one successful foray to Sha Tin, producing a powerful rally to win the Dec. 13 Hong Kong Sprint (G1) by a half-length. Even better, he showed no signs of rust in the March 28 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) back in Japan, dashing the final 600 meters in :34.30 over a yielding course to beat Group 1 winners Resistencia and Indy Champ in a three-horse photo finish.
A son of standout sprinter Lord Kanaloa (who won half a dozen Group 1 races in Japan and Hong Kong), Danon Smash will be ridden on Sunday by Hong Kong’s leading jockey, Joao Moreira. With a clean trip, he can win for fun.
$26 to win on #1 Danon Smash
Race 7: Champions Mile (G1, 3:55 a.m. ET)
The once-beaten Hong Kong Triple Crown winner #1 Golden Sixty brings 13 straight victories to the table. After dominating the Dec. 13 Hong Kong Mile (G1) by two lengths, Golden Sixty had a couple of close calls in the Stewards’ Cup (G1) and Hong Kong Gold Cup (G1), but nevertheless rallied in the nick of time to win both by narrow margins.
Although just six horses have been entered in the Champions Mile, there appears to be enough speed in the mix for Golden Sixty’s stretch kick to be effective. We’ll count on the favorite to get the job done at a short price, playing him over #2 Southern Legend and #3 Ka Ying Star in a cold trifecta.
$26 Trifecta: 1 with 2 with 3
Race 8: QEII Cup (G1, 4:35 a.m. ET)
#6 Daring Tact is the class of the field in this 2,000-meter test. Winner of the 2020 Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown, Daring Tact has held her own against elite competition. Arguably her best effort came when finishing third by just 1 1/2 lengths against fellow Triple Crown winners Almond Eye and Contrail in the 2020 Japan Cup (G1).
Daring Tact suffered an unexpected defeat when finishing second in the 2,000-meter Kinko Sho (G2) last month, but this wasn’t a bad effort by any means. Making her 2021 debut, Daring Tact was beaten just a neck while finishing ahead of QEII Cup rivals #1 Glory Vase and #4 Kiseki. If Daring Tact improves at all in her second run of the season, she’ll be tough to beat.
Let’s play Daring Tact on top of trifecta tickets keying 2019 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1) winner #7 Loves Only You underneath.
$6.50 Trifecta: 6 with 7 with 1,2 ($13)
$6.50 Trifecta: 6 with 1,2 with 7 ($13)