Chris So Wai-yin’s Tianchi Monster looks a handicapping certainty when he steps out at Sha Tin on Sunday.
For punters who use weights and measures as a fundamental part of their betting strategy, the Class One Harlech Handicap (2,000m) is one that will certainly pique your interest.
Five horses from the BMW Hong Kong Derby will clash again in this contest – going from a set weights event to a handicap, so it’s easy to line them up.
Let’s use Waikuku as a benchmark – he finished second in the Derby as an odds-on favourite and now carries the top weight of 133 pounds – and measure the others around him.
Dark Dream was a quarter of a length further back and meets Waikuku four pounds better. Helene Leadingstar came ninth, three and three-quarter lengths behind the runner-up and gets in with a 12-pound advantage. It’s the same weight edge for Ho Ho Khan, but he came fifth and was just a length and a quarter from John Size’s galloper.
And then there is Tianchi Monster. He finished sixth in the Derby, just a length and a half behind Waikuku and meets him an astonishing 23 pounds better (with a little help from Matthew Poon Ming-fai’s three-pound claim).
As a guide, the British Horseracing Authority calculates that 1.75 pounds equals a length in 2,000m races, so on that measure, Tianchi Monster should get 13.14 lengths on Waikuku.
Of course, races are not run in a vacuum – a host of other factors come into play – but on paper that looks like a significant advantage and the trainer is hoping that’s the case.
“He’s very well-weighted. He should run really well. It seems like he’s getting better and better,” So said.
“He ran very well in the Derby, he’s come through the race well, he’s eating well, everything is good – I’m very happy.
“I will just tell Matthew to relax early in the race and then hit the line.”
While Tianchi Monster has a big advantage at the weights, he is not eyeing off a spot in the Group One FWD QE II Cup later this month as some of the others like Waikuku and Dark Dream are.
“If [Waikuku] is good enough he has a nomination for the QE II, but we’ll see if he runs well on Sunday first and then if he is selected,” Size said.
“He’ll need to run well and maintain his rating [of 108] or else they’ll deem him not good enough.
“I think he’ll fare OK with the weight, his form has been solid and if keeps performing well under the circumstances presented to him, then I would expect the same from him again.”