Top 10 to keep your eye on
3g (NZ), City On A Hill - A Lot Of Music
Trainer: Danny Shum
The Shum yard collectively looks in splendid order and we've found two of his stable to make members of the 10 to follow, but it could easily have been more.
Shum learned his craft from the retired training maestro, Ivan Allan, and he's been a runaway success in his first two seasons to date, especially last term when he finished third in the premiership, with 47 winners, behind Tony Cruz and John Size.
All's Well nearly did the 'impossible' late last season in finishing second to the excellent youngster Good Ba Ba in the Juvenile Championship in his racecourse debut. In fact, he should have won as an errant horse pushed him wide at a critical stage and probably cost him the race. He made no mistake winning in his next start and was then put aside for the summer
All's Well has thrived during the break and looked strong during a quiet trial behind classy sprinter Flashing Star on Tuesday. He's very well graded with a 57 rating.
4g (Aus), Last Tycoon - Fappiano's Girl
Trainer: Tony Millard
This big, strapping Australian-bred galloper looked ultra smart in winning at the May 29 meeting but was then all at sea on soft ground before spelling.
He's a free-running type and champion jockey Douglas Whyte had a hard time holding him down in a recent barrier trial. But he looked great and was eager to gallop.
When trained in Sydney, Brains Trust must have been showing Clarry Conners something special because he gave him his debut in a Group Three race and his second start in the Group One AJC Sires' Produce Stakes. And he has strong formlines alongside a proven Group One galloper in Outback Prince.
Brains Trust is by the veteran sire Last Tycoon, whose stock are renowned first-up performers, so don't let him under your guard.
5g (NZ), Anabaa - French Flute
Trainer: Caspar Fownes
Brilliant Flash has raced seven times in Hong Kong, for one placing, and consequently finds himself attractively rated on a mark of 66, just six pounds out of Class Four.
The bay gelding was a three-time winner from nine starts in New Zealand, with each his wins coming at 1,400 metres. He was slow to find his feet in his new country but started to switch on at the back end of last season when third to the progressive Regency Horse.
Fownes won three races on the opening meeting of the season last year and know what it takes to get his horses fit and ready for early competition. The way Brilliant Flash competed in the turf trials at Sha Tin on August 26 shows he's going to be close to the money when first produced.
4g (NZ), Danasinga - Frizzle
Trainer: John Size
Danacourt has had just the one start in Hong Kong, scoring a handsome first-up win at Sha Tin over the straight 1,000 metres course. He had looked a smart performer in New Zealand, had trialled nicely in Hong Kong before his debut and landed the money first-up with a minimum of fuss.
Danacourt showed his readiness for racing with an attractive fourth, after racing wide, behind Profit Hill over 1,050 metres on the all-weather track on Tuesday. When he races, he'll almost certainly have the services of champion jockey Douglas Whyte.
4g (NZ), Towkay - Make Up
Trainer: Tony Cruz
Happee Owner only raced six times in New Zealand - four of them in Group races - and covered himself with glory, running second in the Two Thousand Guineas (Group One) before winning the Bayer Classic (Group One, 1600m) at Otaki. The Bayer is the race in which Super Kid was placed as a three-year-old before becoming a dual Group One winner in Hong Kong.
Happee Owner was not fully acclimatised when he had two runs at the back end of last season under the care of David Hayes. He's a much-improved horse now and new trainer Tony Cruz has him ticking over nicely, as demonstrated with his pleasing barrier trial behind Profit Hill last week.
4g (Aus), Distorted Humor - Innocent Gypsy
Trainer: Danny Shum
This fellow may have won three of his past four starts and has crept over the 60-pound threshold that marks the border between Class Four and Three, but that doesn't mean his winning run is over.
In fact, the way he's working that would be the last thing you'd think possible. Master Spirit has a greater turn of foot than most horses in the lower grades and even the forcing tactics that Robbie Fradd used on him at his last start didn't faze him. Genuinely progressive galloper.
5g (S Af), London News - Kalc Bay
Trainer: Tony Millard
This quality galloper was a Group Two winner in South Africa as a juvenile and, significantly, was a first-up winner in Hong Kong last term. He eventually graduated to the top grade and went within a short head of winning the Group One Mercedes Classic Mile in February, after being posted wide throughout.
Sambuca is not a robust gelding and needs to have his races spaced.
That's why Millard allowed him to go around at the first set of trials this season on August 19 to ensure he'd be ready for tomorrow's Chief Executive's Cup.
4g (Aus), Danzero - Will Fly
Trainer: Derek Cruz
Sanziro was a quality juvenile in the stables of Lee Freedman in Melbourne, and won two Group races, the Maribyrnong Plate and Blue Diamond Preview. He originally came to Hong Kong under the care of Danny Shum but was transferred to Derek Cruz.
Cruz has wasted no time in getting the Danzero four-year-old mobile. The bay turned in a crackerjack gallop on the all-weather track on Tuesday, breaking a minute for the last 1,000 metres of a 1,200-metre workout and still hitting the line in a fast final split. He's well and truly up to winning at the bottom of Class Two.
4g (Aus), Dr Fong - Key Satellite
Trainer: Tony Cruz
This nifty grey galloper caught the eye late last season, winning two races up the straight track, even though 1,000 metres is probably too short for him. He was beaten at his third start, but was never really comfortable on the inside of horses on a track that was breaking up. Since resuming, Shiny Ribbon has continued to progress and his latest gallop, 400 metres in 22.1 seconds with noted trackworker Shining Day, was excellent. He looks all the better for his recent break.
4g (GB), Sillery - Corvalent
Trainer: David Ferraris
After two wins and a second from his last three starts at the end of last term, British-bred stayer Syllabus was an exciting addition to the stamina ranks.
He revelled in having his stamina stretched and hit the line with a pleasing turn of foot at the end of 2,000 metres and even 2,400 metres at Sha Tin.
His former trainer, Alex Wong Siu-tan, retired on health grounds at the end of the season and Syllabus has gone to the yard of David Ferraris, the man behind Hong Kong's champion stayer Vengeance Of Rain. Syllabus may take a run or two to strike top form, but he'll quickly show he's too good for Class Four company.