Racing at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong back when the stands were jammed.
Racing at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong back when the stands were jammed.|

Garrity picks Champions Day at Sha Tin in Hong Kong after two stakes winners this afternoon in the U.S. – Can he stay hot?

Garrity's picks at Sha Tin go off at 2:50, 4:00 and 4:40 am EDT

Chris Garrity

At Sha Tin, the three races that highlight the Champions Day card are as follows:

Race 5: Hong Kong Sprint, 6 furlongs, 3 & Up, Post Time 2:50 am ET

Race 7: Hong Kong Champions Mile, 1 mile, 3 & Up, Post Time 4:00 am ET

Race 8: Hong Kong QEII Cup, 1 ¼ miles, 3 & Up, Post Time 4:40 am ET

All are Group 1, and all are on turf.

We will mention one pertinent idiosyncrasy about these races: Shippers are not an issue in any of them this year. Races of this caliber -- all are truly world-class -- normally attract horses from all over, from Japan, Europe, and in particular Australia, but because of the coronavirus quarantine in Hong Kong, only horses stabled at Sha Tin can run in them. This makes handicapping these races particularly interesting, at least to us, because all horses have been racing in the same place, and we are not required to compare races from different tracks.

In the Sprint, the top contenders are all speed horses, and that makes us look for a horse who can come from just off the pace. We like 9-Big Time Baby, an Irish-bred 6-year-old gelding. He’s been in excellent form recently, winning his last race in very fast time, and he should get a good stalking trip here. He’s 10-1, and may be even higher at post time; we will bet him to win. The bet: Sha Tin, Race 5, $25 to win on 9-Big Time Baby.

The Champions Mile drew a field of fourteen. But we didn’t have to go very far to find the pick: it’s 1-Beauty Generation, a New Zealand-bred 7-year-old gelding who is in the best form of his life. He won the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy on April 5, against many of the horses he will face today, and he did so with almost condescending ease: The margin may have only been a half length, but appeared to be in total command, seeming to run only as much as needed to hit the wire first. We expect a repeat today, and will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Sha Tin, Race 7, $30 to win on 1-Beauty Generation.

The QEII Cup is a great race, and this year’s edition drew only seven runners, but they make up in quality what they lack in quantity, with several highly accomplished older turf horses among them. We like 6-Playa del Puente, an Irish-bred 4-year-old gelding with a Spanish name, on top. He’s run against Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty in each of his last three races, finishing second last out, a half-length behind Golden Sixty, in the Group 1 Hong Kong Derby on March 22. He seems to be a horse on the improve, and with Golden Sixty not in the field today, we think he will win. We bet him to win at 17/2. The bet: Sha Tin, Race 8, $35 to win on 6-Playa del Puente.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the racing, be safe ,and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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