Able Eagle set to swoop
Gary Ng Ting-keung can celebrate the National Day Cup meeting with his first winner this season in Able Eagle, who looks a great winning chance in the seventh event. The son of 1994 AJC Galaxy (Gr 1) winner Jetball was desperately unlucky last time over the 1,200 metre journey at Happy Valley, when he struck interference on a number of occasions.
Nothing really went right for him, and there is little doubt he would have won under more equitable circumstances. And he only has to hold the form from that event to make up for the lost opportunity as he does appear to have struck a relatively weak Class 4 field.
Douglas Whyte should not encounter the same traffic problems at Sha Tin, particularly from gate four as he should get the run of the race over the 1,200 metres circuit. Although he will be a short price, he should win, but there is little doubt there will be more value in the quinella and it may be worth adding Northern Rose to those selections.
This giant son of Distinctly North weighs in at 1,196 pounds. He won a trial in good fashion recently and has generally picked up in his work this term. Connections seem to have a relatively high opinion of him, given the level of support he received on debut last season when heavily backed in the final minutes. He may not have handled the soft conditions on that occasion but, in any case, he is working better and may fulfil his true potential.
Winning Parade won over the course and distance on his seasonal reappearance and the form has held up reasonably well from that event with King Palm and Choice And Chance performing relatively well at their next outings. With the stable in such fine form it is hard to rule him out.
Bullish Kid should appreciate a return to Sha Tin after fading over the Valley mile last time when fifth to Olive Or Twist. In addition, the drop back in trip looks more suitable and from gate one, Anthony Delpech should have every chance to make a race of it.
Lucky King takes a drop back in grade after finishing sixth to Strongheart over 1,400 metres last time. His overall record over the course and distance is respectable enough to give him solid claims of hitting the frame.
Last-start winner Happy Winning beat a moderate Class 5 field last time in relatively convincing manner. This is not the usual giant leap in competition that can normally be related to the bottom two classes and, given his condition, he warrants serious attention.
Harvey Mudd displayed some improvement in a recent trial, but it was hardly enough to suggest he could be considered a threat. His griffin form was lacklustre and while improvement is expected here, it is difficult to envisage him troubling the top chances.
Eastkowloon Spirit clearly did not appreciate the application of blinkers last time when well beaten behind Salut Beaute over 1,200 metres. He can be forgiven that run, and as he strikes easier competition this time he is one to consider for the minor placings.
Debutant Envoy Of Light has shown little promise in his work and trials and it is still too early to fully assess his true potential, but he can be ignored this time round.
Tabbris (rated 52) is a winner over the course and distance on a yielding surface, on the similar rating (53) to his current mark. His effort when sixth to Engineering Wonder was moderate and a minor placing should be his best possible result.
There has been little to get excited about with King Of The Turf, who has shown little from two starts at Happy Valley this term and he may need further relief in the ratings.
A good value chance is Premier Burg, who was noted working home strongly in a recent trial. However, he did have the application of blinkers and given his light preparation there is room for improvement.
Sean Woods is also searching for his first winner this campaign and Best Luck may be able to do the trick. He was game in defeat behind Monards last time, and that horse has subsequently confirmed the formline when second to Acrobatic last Saturday.
The main quinella pick is Shanghai King, who is from the in-form John Moore yard and his work has been excellent. One to keep safe is STC Canterbury Guineas (Gr.1) winner Fine Society, who has shaped with some promise leading up to her Hong Kong debut. She is on the Elegant Fashion trail, chasing a start in the Hong Kong Derby, and an international Group One winner must obviously be kept very safe in Class 2.
David Ferraris can keep his momentum rolling with Chater Lane (race five), who can go one better this time round. He will relish the step up to 2,000 metres and with most runners from the yard improving considerably from their first starts, he looks ready to break through.