Exultant, one of the best horses in Hong Kong, is set to make his 2019-20 debut on Sunday, November 3, at Sha Tin. The return of this acclaimed Group 1 star is the highlight of a 10-race card that gets underway at 12:15 a.m. (ET). But from start to finish the races are competitive, with lots of opportunities for cashing big payoffs.
Let’s take a look at the action and come up with a couple of spot plays:
Race 6: Revlon Handicap (Class 2)
#2 Fat Turtle defeated #1 California Whip by three lengths in a Class 2 sprint over this course and 1,200-meter distance on October 1, but the result could be reversed this time around. Last month, California Whip was conceding Fat Turtle 11 pounds and endured a troubled start, causing him to race much farther off the pace than usual before rallying gamely in the stretch.
On Sunday, California Whip will carry just three pounds more than Fat Turtle, and with a clean start, he can turn the tables on his recent conqueror.
Let’s bet these two in the quinella, then play them in the top two slots of a trifecta while using #3 Ugly Warrior, #8 Sunset Watch, and #10 Beauty Rush underneath. The latter runner finished seventh behind Fat Turtle and California Whip with a troubled trip, but that was his debut in Hong Kong, and this Australian Group 3 winner can improve second-time out for reigning champion trainer John Size.
$15.60 quinella: 1,2
$1.30 trifecta: 1,2 with 1,2 with 3,8,10 ($7.80)
$1.30 trifecta: 1,2 with 3,8,10 with 1,2 ($7.80)
Race 7: The Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (Group 3)
Three-time Group 1 winner #1 Exultant is clearly the best horse in this 1,800-meter Group 3, but is he the most likely winner on the day? His major victories have come running 2,000 meters or farther, including a triumph in the 2,400-meter Hong Kong Vase (G1) last December, which he won by a nose over future Cox Plate (G1) winner Lys Gracieux.
Exultant is prepping for another tilt at the Hong Kong Vase, with a run in Dubai next March on the horizon, so he’s unlikely to be fully cranked for a peak effort on Sunday. Furthermore, the distance of the Ladies’ Purse is shorter than his best.
#2 Southern Legend could have an upset chance. In February, he came charging from off the pace to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths against Exultant in the 2,000-meter Hong Kong Gold Cup (G1), after which Southern Legend embarked on an international campaign. A sixth-place finish against Japanese superstar Almond Eye in the 1,800-meter Dubai Turf (G1) was followed by a victory in the 1,600-meter Kranji Mile (G1) in Singapore.
Unlike Exultant, Southern Legend has already run a couple of times during the 2019-20 season, setting him up for a peak effort in the Ladies’ Purse. The distance should be ideal, and he’s receiving six pounds from Exultant after carrying even weight with the favorite in the Hong Kong Gold Cup.
Let’s bet Southern Legend to win and play him in the quinella with Exultant:
$10.40 to win on #2 Southern Legend
$10.40 quinella: 1,2