Punters can look to Begg for value
VETERAN Australian trainer Neville Begg has trained at least one treble during his time in Hong Kong and I am tipping that he repeats the feat on Sha Tin Trophy day. It is probably a rather bold statement and if Begg does succeed, those following the advice will certainly be happy to face their bank manager. He will be even happier to see his customers. The name of the game is winning - and value.
Three of Begg's horses certainly can win on my ratings and all of them should represent excellent value not simply in the win pool, but in the all-important quinella and tierce pools where great value can be found. Let's begin with the main event, the Sha Tin Trophy, where I am selecting Deerfield to cause an upset. That Deerfield does have the credentials should not be in dispute. It is worth remembering that this is a domestic Group race and there are not that many horses in Hong Kong who can justly be termed group horses - domestic or otherwise.
Even the best Hong Kong races are dominated by handicappers, the horses are not Group material. But Deerfield has proved in the past that he belongs in the highest bracket and if Begg has him tuned up for today's clash - and that would seem to be the case - then Deerfield must come into solid contention.
I have Deerfield well clear on my ratings and stress that Bumper Star, despite his excellent winning sequence, still has it to prove at this level. This may seem staggering to some readers, but Deerfield is 30 points clear of Bumper Star. Viva Icta, too, still has it to prove and they will be two of the obvious public choices.
The decision not to run Mr Vitality is an interesting one, but do not be in the least surprised if All Thrills runs a top race for the Ivan Allan stable. I have him on a 106 personal rating and that puts him third in the list for me. There should be very good value around King Star in the seventh event where the betting will be dominated by Belarus. This horse will be much too short to make any betting sense and yet punters will be gambling on what he might be able to do. Belarus' first run was only creditable and he is tackling some horses proven in better company.
King Star is a case in point. I have him three points clear of Amazing Grace - he appears by reports to be much fitter and can run a strong race - and off this mark in Class Four and over 1,600 metres, King Star is extremely dangerous. He was impressive under Greg Childs over the longer sprint at his first start and must surely come on from that. Green Maple, too, has each way claims.
Possibly the weakest of the potential Begg treble is Fit For Royalty in the third event down the straight 1,000 metres. Ratings here are much closer together and Fit For Royalty has the disadvantage of not actually winning down the straight course. But he may account for Auto Focus and Holy Terror, two horses who do have 1,000-metre form.
The best bet on the card is Gold Capture who has come down to a mark where he will win. And he gets the jockey that matters in Basil Marcus today. He is a confident selection to win the 2,000-metre sixth event from Winged Foot and Fantastic Flyer. Both Gold Capture and Winged Foot will also appreciate any give in the ground.