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Harmony Victory an unlikely winner until the final three strides. He was idling most of the way. Fourth from last and hemmed in. Boy, he’s desperate – @myles23thomas
Danny Shum Chap-shing looks to have a strong hand for the 2019 Hong Kong Derby if Sunday’s Class Two BOC Life Handicap (1,800m) is anything to go by.
Not only did Shum saddle up the winner Harmony Victory, he also came third with Charity Go, who was having his first start in Hong Kong.
Moreira and Purton have every chance aboard Insayshable and Victory Boys in R5 but @AlexisBadel trumps both as Danny Shum's well-backed dual Brazilian G1 winner Harmony Victory charges through on the outside. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/GabQG0JzyU— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 18, 2018
Their efforts – and ratings (now 92 and 85) – suggest they are shoe-ins for the March feature (touch wood), but what makes them so interesting is their backgrounds.
Harmony Victory won two Group One races in Brazil (by a combined 13.1 lengths) when known as Cash Do Jaguarete before making the move to Sha Tin, where he showed promise in his first two starts before breaking through over the weekend.
On the other hand, Charity Go had seven starts in Britain as Fortune’s Pearl for Andrew Balding, winning twice over 1,400m before a second to Mildenberger in a Listed race over 1,800m at Newmarket saw him sold to Hong Kong.
They also have different racing patterns, Harmony Victory was at the tail of the field in transit before unleashing a devastating finishing burst, while Charity Go took up the early running but fought on strongly to finish a length-and-a-half behind his stablemate.
Shum was particularly impressed with Harmony Victory’s performance.
“He’s a good horse. I thought he could win,” Shum said. “He has a turn of foot, so if they went at a good pace, he was going to finish off strongly.
“He should be one of the 14 horses in the Derby and hopefully Charity Go will be as well – he ran really well in his first start.”
The challenge now is placing them, but Shum believes Harmony Victory wants further than Charity Go at the moment, so it is unlikely they will clash until the four-year-old series.
“I want to separate these two horses at this stage,” he said. “Charity Go will go to the 1,600m race on December 9 while Harmony Victory will run over 2,000m on the 23rd of December.”
Styling City continued his upwards trajectory with another fine win down the straight under Douglas Whyte: that’s four from six for the three-year-old – @themorgangrind
Speaking of talented youngsters who made an impression on Sunday – John Moore’s Styling City also fits that bill.
The three-year-old carried 133 pounds to take out the Class Three BOCHK Cross-Border Financial Services Handicap (1,000m), which is no easy feat against the older horses.
Moore was full of confidence after Douglas Whyte declared “he will win” following their gallop on Thursday morning.
The precocious Styling City only turns three in September but has now won four of his five starts: @DJWhyteJockey partners him to another smooth success for John Moore in R4 to boost his chance of a LONGINES IJC place at Happy Valley on December 5. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/h78ma1c2gi— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 18, 2018
“[Whyte] wasn’t concerned about the weight over 1,000m because he’s a big boy and he can carry it,” Moore said.
“He was tested a little bit by that horse on his outside – he had to go along and get running. He’s talented, there’s no doubt about it.”
Styling City’s rating now jumps to 86 – lifting him into Class Two – but the trainer has no inclination to race him away from the Sha Tin straight at this point with his next race to be on December 23.
“Why experiment when you know what works?” Moore said.
That will work for now, but assuming Styling City’s rating keeps heading north, he will run out of options soon – because there are not many Class Twos down the straight and even less for horses above that.
But being forced to go around a bend because of a triple-figure rating is a high-quality problem, as it means you have a smart horse on your hands.