Garrity picks the Queen’s Silver Jubilee & Citi Hong Kong Gold Cups at Sha Tin, and Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse
There are a couple of major international races that will be run on Sunday, February 21, with post times during the wee hours in the U.S. Eastern time. They are two Group 1 races at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, and the Grade 1 February Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan. We like all three as betting races. Let’s go.
Sha Tin, Race 3, 1:00 am ET
Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, 7 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
A field of seven goes here, and the top contenders have one thing in common: they’ve all been getting drubbed by Golden Sixty, the Hong Kong superstar who runs in the Gold Cup later on the Sha Tin card. With the absence of the monster horse here, we think that 1-Southern Legend, who has finished second in his last two starts, behind Golden Sixty both times, will take this Group 1 prize. This 7 furlong distance is probably a bit shorter than his best, but he is in sharp form, and he should get a good trip just behind what figures to be a legitimate early pace. We will bet him to win at 11/4. The bet: Sha Tin, Race 3, $35 to win on 1-Southern Legend.
Tokyo Racecourse, Race 11, 1:40 am ET
Group 1 February Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, 4 & Up
A big field of sixteen will line up for the February Stakes, but all eyes, including ours, will be on favored 3-Cafe Pharoah, a Kentucky-bred son of American Pharoah who has won four of his six career starts. Both of his losses were in major races, the Japan Dirt Derby last July, and the Champions Cup at Chukyo Racecourse in December, and the one thing they have in common is that they are longer than the distance of the February Stakes.
A bettor could swing one of two ways with Cafe Pharoah: one is that he’s overrated, and likely to be an underlay; but the other is that he’s a very good horse with possible distance limitations. We favor the latter side, which means that he is going to be awfully difficult to beat at the eight furlong distance of this race. We would be out right now selling one of our kidneys if we thought we could get his 3-1 morning line price, but since we think he will be shorter at post time, we will play him a bit more prudently. But we will still bet him to win. The bet: Tokyo, Race 11, $50 to win on 3-Cafe Pharoah.
Sha Tin, Race 7, 3:05 am ET
Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The Gold Cup is one of the biggest races of the year in Hong Kong. While the 2021 edition drew a field of seven, there’s really only one handicapping question that matters: can any of the other six beat 1-Golden Sixty? The Sha Tin superstar, a 5-year-old gelding bred in Australia, has won his last twelve starts, and while he may make it a lucky 13 here, we’re inclined to play against him, because he’ll be a miserly price, and all horses eventually get beat. If he wins, we’ll tip our cap to Golden Sixty, but we can’t bet him at odds-on.
We like 2-Exultant. He ran a very good second in the Hong Kong Vase two back, behind Mogul, who’s a world-class Coolmore horse, and had another runner-up finish in the Group 3 Centenary Vase on January 31 in his prep for this spot. We think he’s rounding into form, and just may be able to spring an upset on the favorite. He’s 4-1 on the morning line, which we will take: we will bet Exultant to win. The bet: Sha Tin, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Exultant.
That’s all for now. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and good luck at the windows.