Kinane follows Instinct
Fresh from a double on Sunday, Irish ace Mick Kinane can start the New Year on the right note by taking the traditional Chinese Club Centenary Cup on smart performer, Basic Instinct. As a result of the gelding's slashing success at Sha Tin over 1,400 metres back on November 24, he has gone up significantly in the ratings and will be conceding weight all round in today's longer sprint. Giving away lumps of weight is not the best guarantee of success but Basic Instinct's last win was so convincing that it is difficult to oppose him. Following his brilliant win under Kinane, Basic Instinct received a very late call-up to the International Bowl on December 8 where he was ridden by apprentice Eddie W. M. Lai who could not claim his five-pound allowance. Basic Instinct was out of his depth, but the event was not one for a claimer and the gelding did well to show up for as long as he did.
It is going to be a different story against weaker opposition here and with Kinane back in the saddle. Basic Instinct drops back 200 metres but trainer Gary Ng Ting-keung, who has a fine record with this fellow, has freshened him up since his surprise International engagement and his trackwork has strongly hinted at Basic Instinct being in even better shape this time around. His overall record suggests that 1,200 metres is ideal and it is also worth noting - in the context of today's impost of 136 pounds - that he has carried just two pounds less for a victory over this trip in the past. So Basic Instinct is a proven weight carrier, admirably drawn and in perfect shape for the contest.
Adding Kinane as the secret ingredient and this is a recipe for betting success. Basic Instinct actually started third favourite behind Kenzig and Citiluck when winning last time out and he gave nothing else a chance in the final 150 metres. He quickened up like a really good horse for the 10-time Irish champion and went past the leaders as if they were stuck in a quagmire. Obviously Ng mapped out plans for his stable star to include today's prized event and connections will be confident that Basic Instinct is going to be right there at the finish. Kenzig, who reopposes today, has it all to do to reverse the form but he may also be better suited to the longer sprint here and is conceded a quinella chance - not least because of the decidedly in-form duo of trainer David Hayes and jockey Damien Oliver.
On his day Kenzig looks very good indeed, but he has also let the side down on a couple of occasions. And given the form of the stable at the moment, Kenzig is also likely to start fairly short.
Basic Instinct is a confident selection to be bang in the hunt, but it could pay to take careful note of the Brian Kan Ping-chee star, Cornwall Hero. Frankly, I do not like going against horses as game and genuine as Cornwall Hero who is, in my opinion, the pick of the one-off Select Sale. Cornwall Hero does not want to know about defeat and is a tremendous battler who sticks his neck right out and wants to hit that line first. He is also still an improver and with the huge weight swing in his favour, he could make life tricky for Basic Instinct. The feeling is that he may struggle this time because he is pitched in to quality company, but he is just the type of horse to prove pundits wrong.
Super Team looks the other outstanding chance as trainer Tony Cruz has freshly applied the polish here and his work has been really good. Super Team has the right credentials and is in tip-top form. Cruz turns to old adversary Basil Marcus and, if the champion can get a decent position from barrier 13, we could be in for a titanic finish to the first trophy race of the New Year. Not many others in the full field of 14 make a great deal of appeal although Polar Star would appreciate a fast pace which he could easily get as maximum girl claimer Carol W. S. Yu makes her racing debut on front-running Hong Kong Supreme.
Laser Star will be ridden by Richard K. M. So in a surprise engagement and could be found wanting while Hong Kong Legend is not really giving out the right signals.
Solid Gold disappointed last time and Chagall is probably at his mark while Wind Chaser should need the run. Turf Star is not the worst, but can be opposed while bottomweight Happy Hunting is another who should be better off with this one under his belt.