The Saturday, November 9 card at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong has come up strong with 10 competitive races, including a Class 1 handicap stacked with talented runners.
The card will kick off a bit earlier than usual for bettors in North America, with the first race heading to post at 11:15 p.m. ET on November 8.
Want to play along as the action unfolds? Here are a couple of spot plays to consider:
Race 7: The Panasonic Cup (Class 1)
Leading trainers John Size and John Moore will throw the kitchen sink at this 1,400-meter Class 1 handicap. Size will saddle five of the 13 starters, while Moore will send out a three-pronged attack of his own.
At first glance, Size might appear to hold the stronger hand. #1 Champion’s Way is 6-for-7and won the Lion Rock Trophy (G3) traveling 1,600 meters in June, while #3 Nothinglikemore has been knocking heads with some of Hong Kong’s best runners, including Beauty Generation and Rise High.
But the Size stars are returning from layoffs, whereas Moore’s minions have already run during the 2019-20 season. For example, #2 Good Standing is stretching out to his favorite distance after returning with a sixth-place effort in the 1,200-meter Premier Bowl (G3) on October 20. Meanwhile, #5 Encouraging – a four-time winner last season – looks poised for a big effort after finishing second behind rising star Golden Sixty in a 1,400-meter Class 2 handicap on the same day.
Encouraging in particular could be a threat. Even while losing to Golden Sixty, he ran faster than standard for the Class 1 level and sprinted his final two 400-meter sectionals in :22.75 and :22.36, excellent fractions.
A capable front-runner, Encouraging figures to set the pace while breaking from the rail under jockey Alfred Chan Ka Hei, who claims a 10-pound weight allowance. This means Encouraging will carry just 117 pounds, 15-16 pounds less than the highweights. With this feathery assignment, Encouraging might just sprint to the front and never look back.
Let’s bet Encouraging to win and play him in the quinella with Champion’s Way and Good Standing:
- $10.4 to win on #5 Encouraging
- $5.2 quinella: 5 with 1,2 ($10.4)
Race 9: Panasonic IH Cooker Handicap (Class 3)
The improving #8 I Do is worth a win bet in this competitive 2,000-meter handicap. In his lone run over this distance, he rallied to miss by just a neck in a Class 3 handicap on July 1 at Sha Tin. His final time was faster than standard for the class level, as were his strong finishing fractions of :23.16 and :22.93.
I Do has run twice over shorter distances to kick off the 2019-20 season, most recently rallying to finish third by less than a length in an 1,800-meter event on October 1. Reigning champion jockey Zac Purton was in the saddle that day and will retain the mount on Saturday. If I Do improves in his third start of the season, he can spring an upset victory.
- $10.4 to win on #8 I Do