Racing in Hong Kong is some of the most popular in the world, with many of the best thoroughbreds on the planet heading there to run at the famed Sha Tin and Happy Valley, and an appropriately large number of punters following all the action on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the season.
These international events can be bet on at all major and most minor horse racing betting sites, making them a popular event to tune into for many around the globe. On Saturday, July 16, the final event for the season took place at Sha Tin, seeing 11 races take place over the course of an action-packed day. This is how each race unfolded.
The Mr Award Handicap kicked off an 11-race card at Sha Tin on the 16th of July, a Class 5 raced over 1200 metres. It was a relatively wide-open affair from a betting perspective, though Vector – with Joao Moreira on board – did jump as a strong favourite at $4.85 on the TAB tote. The favourite, however, didn’t feature, failing to finish in the top four. Instead, it was six-year-old Melbourne Hall who was triumphant after jumping at around $17, with Takingufurther and The Jolly, paying $2.75 and $5.45 for a place respectively, finishing in second and third.
Race 2 was another Class 5, with the Miraculous Handicap running over 1400 metres and with 14 horses in the field. Winwin Thirtythree was another Joao Moreira runner to jump as favourite, this time at $3.30, but the gelding from New Zealand was third past the post. In second place was the second-favourite, Ruby Stars, while the horse who upset the two most fancied horses was the first big upset of the day. The winner was One Step Ahead, who jumped at $31.50 before winning the second race of his career.
The first Class 4 event of the day, the Big Profit Handicap was another disappointing one for favourite-backers, with the $3.30 Super Red Dragon and the $4.60 Happy Daily both failing to feature in the top three. Instead, it was Hk Dragon with Lyle Hewitson aboard who saluted after jumping at $9.45. Finishing in second place was Fire Ball, its first top three finish for an extended period after jumping at $9.05, while Over The Moon ran into third at $2.35 for a place.
Race 4 was the Victory Marvel Handicap, another Class 4, with the result very similar to that in Race 2. Beauty Tycoon at $3 and Youthful Deal at $3.70 jumped as comfortable favourites, but while they both ran well to finish in the top three, it was a horse at long odds that upset the status quo by beating them both. Ice Legend jumped at $29.20 under the ride of Derek Leung and was able to keep its far more fancied competitors at bay to record an impressive win ahead of Youthful Deal in second, and Beauty Tycoon in third.
Race 5 was the longest of the meet to this point, a Class 4 run over 1800 metres. And, for the first time for the day, it was the favourite who got the chocolates. Turquoise Alpha jumped at $4.20 coming into the race off a win and a third, and star jockey Zac Purton led the Irish gelding to another victory. On his heels was Bright Kid, who was paying $4.15 for a place, and Murray’s Partners at $6.65 for a place, making for a solid trifecta payout despite the fact that the favourite got up.
The Class 4 Medic Kingdom Handicap was the halfway point of the 11-race card, and in contrast to the race that preceded it, this 1400-metre event saw yet another long shot taking home the win. Singapore Spirit entered just the seventh race of its career without having ever won and not having placed since its first race, but broke its maiden after jumping at $35.85 on the TAB Tote. Second past the post was Star Contact, who was paying $3.70 for a place, and Amazing Victory at $2.25 for a place.
The Class Three All You Wish Handicap was the seventh race of the day, and saw the Joao Moreira-led Red Titan jump favourite at $3.45. In what had been a trend throughout much of the day, however, the favourite failed to fire, not finishing in the top three. Instead, it was Zac Purton and Never Too Soon first past the post at $7.05 for the first win of that horse’s career. Coming in second was Great Britain’s Decrypt, who jumped at $14.80, while Beauty Champ from France was third having jumped at $11.10.
Race 8 was the first Class 1 of the day, the H.K. Racehorse Owners Association, a race which included just 11 horses and which saw the shortest priced favourite of the day to this point in time. And for once, the odds were spot on. Turin Redsun was led to victory by Zac Purton after jumping at $2.50, while second-favourite Money Catcher and third-favourite Bourbonaire finished second and third respectively, both having jumped paying $1.65 for a place.
The Class Three Pingwu Spark Handicap was the ninth race of the day, and once again saw a short-priced favourite jump. This time it was Lucky Eight at $2.10, who won for the second time in the second start of its career. Power Koepp, searching for a fourth career victory, finished second after jumping at $10.10, while Joao Moreira and Adios slotted into third in that horse’s fifth place in just six starts. Adios was paying $2.05 for the place.
After a slow start to the day, the favourites had really begun to come into their own by this stage of the meet, and that continued in the penultimate race of the day – the Class 2 Joy and Fun Handicap. Lucky Sweynesse had won four times in six starts and come second and third in the other two, and that impressive string of performances saw the Zac Purton-led horse jump at $3.50. They promptly went on to win, heading Rewarding Together – an $8.65 chance – and Be Ready, who jumped at $16.70, to the post.
If it had become the favourites’ day by the final race of the day, that all changed in the Class 3 Slight Winner Handicap. Tuchel and Powerful Wings jumped as favourites at $3.30 and $3.60, and punters who had them in a quinella would have felt aggrieved by the result. Those favourites went on to finish third and second respectively, being beaten by one of the longest shots of the day. Encountered jumped at $199.70 on the TAB Tote and incredibly was first past the post, giving the select few punters who climbed aboard a spectacular finish to the day.
It was an entertaining day of racing to round out the season. Though the favourites struggled early, they bounced back in kind later on in the meet before the final race of the event saw a massive upset take place when Encountered won at nearly $200. Punters on board that horse would have ended the season on a seriously high note, but there would have been plenty of others who began to look away from the favourites after their indifferent start only to watch them win three races in a row towards the end of the day. Regardless, it was another day of high-quality racing at Sha Tin, finishing off yet another season.