Sumotori has time, value on his side
By TONY HARBIDGE (Topspeed)
THERE is an excellent chance of good value with the Ivan Allan-trained Sumotori (Nap) in the sixth event at Sha Tin today. With a number of his opponents having shown themselves to be specialists down the straight, it may be that Sumotori is more neglected in the betting than he should be. The five-year-old has actually acquitted himself well down the straight course in the past, but more attention is likely to be centred on horses like Hussar, Optic General and Kowloon Pride. However, on my speed ratings which are a useful guide at any time and probably of more significance at this trip, Sumotori comes out on top and that is against all these runners with proven form.
I have Sumotori rated on 90 with Hussar, for example, fully 11 points behind him and Optic General on 71. Interestingly, last-start winner Happy Runner comes closest to the selection and is rated on 96 just ahead of Fighting Strike who has good form to his credit. Sumotori has gained this speed rating on an accurate assessment of his efforts over the past two seasons and it is fair to say that he will give an account of himself today and probably at big odds, too. As the straight 1,000 metres can be considered something of a quirky distance, his clearcut advantage assumes even greater importance and followers are advised to have a good each-way bet on Sumotori. Happy Runner's winning effort was over 1,400 metres, but his speed figures for that and other runs suggest a very bold showing here and there is no doubt that he will go off at a backable price.
The best run put in by Dick Ching, an Irish import, was his last one over a mile at the Valley where he stayed on solidly for third. Prior to that he had been showing speed and knocking up in his efforts. Dick Ching is ready to run a bold race in the fifth where I have him tied for top rating with bottomweight Third Time Lucky but on their last start speed figures, Dick Ching comes out clearly on top. The drop back in distance to 1,200 metres should suit Dick Ching on what we have seen of him, but his effort at the Valley showed a certain resolution which may not have been evident in some of his previous runs.
Much of this can come down to a question of not only acclimatisation but the manner in which any race is run. Dick Ching has previously been ridden for sheer speed in shorter races and has found little at the finish. Given the experience last time over the longer Valley trip, if Dick Ching is ridden with some patience on the pace he will run on and win. The opening griffin race promises to be an intriguing encounter and I have assessed Classa Speed on top of the good debut winner, Shaxi Treasure. There can be some pitfalls in griffin races from time to time, but this one seems reasonably straightforward given the excellent form shown previously by the market leaders.