Will race caller Mark Shean, below, ever make it to Hong Kong -and, if so, for how long? Or will he stay in Sydney and be back calling the winners for his legion of fans?
Yes, he wants to get back to what he says he does best- riding winners- but does Danny Nikolic have a hope in hell of being granted a license anywhere in Australia?
Billionaire Hong Kong owner Pan Sutong has gone on a very expensive buying spree and purchased some excellent mares for his retired champion stallion Akeed Mofeed, pictured below with Daddy Warbucks.
FROM THE RACING TWITTERVERSE
THE FAST TRACKER IS DEPENDING ON HIS SAVVY NATURE AT SHATIN
(Courtesy of http://www.fasttrack.hk)
The less said about the results and some of the rides on Wednesday the better, but let’s just say, the Stewards were in a very generous mood by handing out onlyna few warnings along with that baffling term about how they found the runs of this and that horse to have been “unacceptable”.
Seriously now, isn’t that like closing the barnyard door after the horses have bolted with the punters money?
Why not throw the book at trainers who enter horses for them to only put in these “unacceptable runs”? And let’s keep a running book on when and where “unacceptable” becomes “acceptable” and how acceptable is “acceptable”.
And now, onto today and let the best rider win.
A Class 5 dirt race over 1650m that does my head in and where a huge Quartet payout is on the cards.
A very intriguing Class 4 event over 2000m where riding tactics will come into play. Telephatia won for many of us with a Wuthering Heights run down the outside at its last Kate Bush start- but that was in Happy Valley.
In-form Keith Heatcliffe Yeung retains the ride, and, who knows, it might even prefer the wide open spaces of Shatin and be running up the hill and over them all.
Navel Orange FINALLY won a race for trainer “Darth” Ferraris, one of Hong Kong racing’s “Olympian Gang Of Four”, after being tipped to win over ten times. This was at its last start when Karis Teetan went where others hadn’t been before: The winning enclosure.
Can it repeat this win, however? One doubts it- and blame it on those dastardly training facilities.
Personally, I’d rather take Zac Purton’s lead and go with Rouge Et Blanc. After being in the wars with his kidney stone problems, the new, improved Zac Attack would be choosing his rides very carefully, and not wasting his time on no-hopers. Him choosing to ride Rouge Et Blanc is a tip in itself.
The consistent place-getter, but, overall disappointing Glacier Blue is the logical banker in a race of weak conveyances, but finding the legs is a bloody nightmare.
Tony Cruz has called on Joao Moreira for the disappointing California Cherish, which takes a voluntary demotion. Expect improvement, as they say, and maybe there’ll be some California Dreaming on a summer’s day for connections who have the gallant California Memory racing later on in the day in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup. Please retire it.
Watching one-time champion horses being a shadow of their former selves and continuing to race, is not good viewing, and must also take its toll on the psyche of the animal. California Memory, below at his brilliant best, deserves better and a well-deserved retirement at Living Legends in Melbourne.
Lean Journey had a journey from hell at its last start when second favourite and involved in that horrific looking fall where Collagen broke down.
If its confidence hasn’t been shaken and stirred by that incident, and with Zac Purton staying with the galloper, it can be taken as a double banker with All My Gain, the winner in the race where Lean Journey came undone.
There is always a gamble when backing horses that have been involved in falls, especially when they return to the scene of the crime, so to speak.
I would tread warily and take more than a passing interest in One More World for the Moore/Moreira conga line which will enjoy the step up to 1400m more than the 1200m it’s been tackling.
Thunder Dash is the logical banker with Callan replacing ten-pound claimer Jack Wong- yes, Jack’s off- who seems to have hit a slow patch after a short winning burst. Maybe Jack blew his load too quickly?
Take Thunder Dash as a double banker with Yo-Yo Da with, hmmm, Howard Cheng replacing Brett Prebble on the Chris So-trained galloper which was beaten into an inglorious 13th place and over 8 lengths behind winner Diamond Mysterious when backed over course and distance at its last start.
It ran like a right yo yo, and the chorus of “diiiiiius” by its supporters was not music to anyone’s ears.
Those to include as legs: Bold Stitch, Fish ‘N Chips, and, especially, Top Bonus.
A 1650m race on the dirt and with Prebble on Rhumba King, my favourite horse on this surface, and which came third at its last start at 63 to 1 as my longshot over course and distance, must be given a solid place chance. I might even take it as a banker as there’s no other horse in this race to entice the turtle to even take a peep outta its shell. Being on heavy antibiotics results in embarrassing shrinkage.
On a win line, many would be looking at Macau owner Li Sau-hung’s Buddy Buddies, which is always a brave thing to do, perhaps Verdane and Great Sky. Good luck. Personally, and for a blowout, I’d take Terrific Master, which might be tackling this surface for the first time, Caterpillar, but has worked on it and gives the impression it will suit the galloper that’s returning after a good last third third, or as Neil Callan would say, “turd”, to Secret Weapon.
A Class 3 event over 1000m where the main chances appear to be Country Melody, which seems to race every time there’s one of these sprints, and E-Super to be ridden by Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan, respectively.
The John Moore-trained Helene Happy Star has been tipped by many astute judges as being the next Group 1 international galloper from Hong Kong with all systems ready to fire next season. Next season can wait. Today just might be the day when it gives us a soupçon of what it’s all about as it tackles the perfect 2400m of the Group 3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup.
Iron Man Neil “Balls Of Steel” Callan gets the call up for the ride, and with the in-form and competitive Irishman riding the crest of a wave, he should give Helene Happy Star one of his five-star Blazing Speed rides and go close on this one.
If he does, he’ll be hoping he retains the ride which he can add to his bulging portfolio. Behind that happy-go-lucky exterior is a savvy businessman/rider who is no one’s fool.
Helene Happy Star- it takes a class drop here- might start around 6s with the likely favourite looking like being stablemate and the lightly weighed Savvy Nature and Thunder Fantasy, which won its last start, thanks to a brilliant ride from the enigmatic Brett Prebble who is consistent in his consistency.
A brilliant ride one day followed by a few shockers the next, Prebble retains the ride for the no-nonsense John Size. Despite a class rise, it should go close with Prebble seeming to be at his savvy best when riding in these staying events.
If you are ready to forgive Dougie Whyte for some less than spectacular rides last Sunday and, again on Wednesday, where Pakistan Baby ran like it had wolfed down a fiery chicken vindaloo, he should be able to get the progressive Up And Coming over the line.
Lansbury, especially, Razor Quest and Dual Happy are the dangers with Damian Lane, the Clint Eastwood of the riding ranks, no doubt anxious to add to his current two-win “haul” before starting a short suspension.
A tough, competitive race to close proceedings and a number with winning chances and me banking on the consistent Travel First, the ride of Karis Teetan, the Mauritian Magician with the mighty cheekbones that makes women weak in their knees.
There are a host of other chances- Choice Treasure, Glorious Lad, Universal Union, Lang Tai Sing and last start winner at big odds, Quaternion Eagle, which, for some reason, I choose to call Quentin Tarantino. Below, Quentin dissects “Top Gun”, which, to him, is the most gay film ever made. Not there’s anything wrong with that.
Andy Suborics retains the ride for trainer Caspar Fownes. Drawn barrier 13 over 1400m and up in class, I very much doubt it can repeat that debut win.
BEST BET: RACE 7 E-SUPER (14)
NEXT BEST: RACE 8 SAVVY NATURE (9)
LONGSHOT: RACE 6 TERRIFIC MASTER (13)