2016 Hong Kong Sprint runner-by-runner guide, odds and free tips

Hong Kong Sprint betting

THE Hong Kong Sprint has been won by some of the world’s quickest thoroughbreds and this year 14 runners will be hoping to make the history books on Sunday at 5.40pm.

Champions that have graced the Sha Tin track when winning the Hong Kong Sprint include the likes of Fairy King Prawn, Falvelon, Silent Witness and Lord Kanaloa.

That doesn’t even include 2014 champion Aerovelocity and 2015 champion Peniaphobia which will both be back this year to recapture the title.

We have a runner-by-runner betting guide for the 2016 Hong Kong Sprint which features all the information needed to pick the winner on Sunday.


2016 Hong Kong Sprint market

The Hong Kong Sprint has been a hotly-contested betting race throughout the week with Lucky Bubbles ultimately settling as the current favourite.

The market pressure has come from Japanese six-year-old Big Arthur and the Australian-trained Takedown which is coming off a win in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Perth.

There are plenty of each way chances in the market which should make for a great spectacle on Sunday.

1. Aerovelocity – $6.50
2. Lucky Bubbles – $3.50 at WilliamHill.com.au
3. Peniaphobia – $15
4. Not Listenin’tome – $11
5. Amazing Kids – $6
6. Big Arthur – $6
7. Rebel Dane – $13
8. Signs Of Blessing – $51
9. Red Falx – $13
10. Strathmore – $26
11. Growl – $67
12. Takedown – $7
13. Pure Sensation – $67
14. Super Jockey – $81

2016 Hong Kong Sprint runner-by-runner betting guide

1. Aerovelocity – $6.50

Trainer: Paul O’Sullivan
Jockey: Zac Purton
Form: 1x8x33
Barrier: 2

Punters should always respect a past champion of this race and the $6.50 represents that. The eight-year-old has been sparingly raced this year, but its two starts this campaign have been encouraging.

The son of Pins finished third in the Premier Bowl behind Lucky Bubbles before finishing third again behind Not Listenin’tome in the Jockey Club Sprint. It has clearly lost some of its pace that it has shown in previous seasons, but it’s a runner which shouldn’t be overlooked.

O’Sullivan says it needed its fresh up run and the ground didn’t suit it at Sha Tin last start.

“Everything’s fine, he’s done well. He’s ready to go so we’ll go through the motions and do what we’ve done the last couple of years,” O’Sullivan said.

“His first run, he needed it, for sure; his second run, I don’t think the ground along the fence was as good as it was out wide. He’s going to have to draw a gate and things are going to have to go right.”

It drew barrier two which is ideal and the $6.50 at Sportsbet is worth including in your bets.

2. Lucky Bubbles – $3.50

Trainer: Francis Lui
Jockey: Brett Prebble
Form: 112×12
Barrier: 5

The five-year-old son of Sebring is a six-time winner from 13 starts and it deserves to be the current $3.50 favourite with bookmakers.

Lucky Bubbles finished second in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint last start, but that a big upset and it has a good chance of making amends.

Its start prior was a win in the Group 2 Premier Bowl when beating Amazing Kids and Aerovelocity so that form should be taken seriously.

It is the new star sprinter in Hong Kong and having Australian jockey Brett Prebble in the saddle is a bonus. Prebble is a big-race rider who has ridden Lucky Bubbles in every start to date and we’re expecting a top effort.

Take the $3.50 at CrownBet.com.au which is a value price for the favourite.

3. Peniaphobia – $15

Trainer: Tony Cruz
Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
Form: 01×377
Barrier: 1

It’s hard to believe last year’s Hong Kong Sprint champion is paying $15 at Sportsbet, but that’s the price on offer for the classy five-year-old.

The Tony Cruz-trained gelding has won only once since that famous victory in 2015, but that came in the Sha Tin Vase against a quality field.

The form guide heading into this race appears to be both the Premier Bowl and the Jockey Club Sprint where Peniaphobia finished only seventh in both. Last season it placed in both races before taking out the Hong Kong Sprint, so it’s clearly not going as well this time in.

It worked well on Thursday when covering 800m in 49.3 seconds, but place chances seem best on its most recent form.

4. Not Listenin’tome – $11

Trainer: John Moore
Jockey: Hugh Bowman
Form: 65×581
Barrier: 4

The former Australian-trained gelding was a surprise winner of the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint and that form looks electric for this.

The son of Dylan Thomas was in poor form prior to that with an eighth-placed finish in the Premier Bowl, but Australian jockey Hugh Bowman was able to get the best out of it last start and that’s encouraging heading into this race.

It has experience in the Hong Kong Sprint when it finished third last year and that was on the back of a solid performance in the Jockey Club Sprint.

It’s definitely an each way chance at $11 and it has drawn to get a nice run off barrier four.

5. Amazing Kids – $6

Trainer: John Size
Jockey: Joao Moreira
Form: 52×125
Barrier: 7

The four-year-old kicked off its season with a win in the Group 3 National Day Cup at Sha Tin before running second in the Premier Bowl, but it followed that up with a disappointing fifth in the Jockey Club Sprint.

Trainer John Size believes that run was down to Amazing Kids having had a tough run in the Premier Bowl and he’s expecting a better effort this Sunday.

“He looked fairly ordinary at his last start, he didn’t look anything special, but I thought his first two starts this season were pretty good and maybe his second start it was a pretty tough run so he may have taken some harm from that,” Size said.

“At home he’s done well, he’s a very gross doer, he’s in fantastic health, he’s sound so I’d expect him to run a very good race.

“You’d like to think so (that it’s peaking), but I’ll tell you after the race whether he peaked or not. It’s hard to predict those sorts of things.”

Amazing Kids only lightly worked throughout the week and there is plenty of market support at $6 with Sportsbet.

6. Big Arthur – $6

Trainer: Kenichi Fujioka
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Form: 351×10
Barrier: 13

Japanese racing isn’t known for its sprinters, but Big Arthur has shown its ability over the short-course distances.

The five-year-old won back-to-back races earlier this year and they came at a high level. Its first win came in the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo which was followed by a win in the Group 2 Centaur Stakes at Hanshin.

That form is tough to line up, but multiple Hong Kong Sprint winner Lord Kanaloa showed in 2012 and 2013 that it should be respected.

It galloped over 1000m on Thursday and its trainer was happy with the work.

“He was relaxed and moved really well today. He is in great condition,” Fujioka said.

It was at $4.60 throughout the week, but it was quickly let out by bookmakers to $6.

7. Rebel Dane – $13

Trainer: Gary Portelli
Jockey: Ben Melham
Form: 23671
Barrier: 8

Rebel Dane
Rebel Dane is one of two Australian-trained runners in the Hong Kong Sprint

Rebel Dane is one of two Australian representatives and it comes into this having won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.

That came in October and it has been kept fresh for this by design. Its fresh record holds up well and despite its lack of international experience, trainer Gary Portelli was pleased with his seven-year-old ahead of Sunday’s race.

“He’s putting some weight back on and settling into the routine here now,” Portelli said. “He’s not tucked up and is generally in good order.”

Rebel Dane worked well on Wednesday when it cantered on the all-weather track.

“I thought he looked really well this morning. He was on his toes but hes always like that and he wasn’t as agitated as he was yesterday. He probably thought he was out there to go racing yesterday,” Portelli said.

“He’s just had an easy canter today; he doesn’t need to do too much. It’s not going to be easy on Sunday but we’re hopeful. On his day he can match it with the best.”

8. Signs Of Blessing – $41

Trainer: Francois Rahaut
Jockey: Stephane Pasquier
Form: 115314
Barrier: 14

Signs Of Blessing is a French-trained gelding which has great form all over the world. The five-year-old ran fourth at Ascot last start in the British Champions Sprint and prior to that it was winning a Group one in France.

The son of Invincible Spirit finished third in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee at Ascot and prior to the barrier draw on Thursday, trainer Francois Rahaut was extremely confident about its chances.

“He has taken the journey well. He is in a good mood and eating well. He is supple and everything has gone well. We set this programme out for him with the idea that I love speed horses to have plenty of zip in them for each run so I have spaced his races out,” Rohaut said.

“The calendar sets up perfectly for him. He is fresh and right in his mind so he won’t have any work on the turf. At this end of the season they don’t need big pieces of work.

“The draw is the most important thing over 1200 metres. Three or four would be fantastic.”

The mood changed when Sings Of Blessing received barrier 14 at Thursday’s draw.

“It is a catastrophe. And on top of that, all the Hong Kong horses are drawn on the inside,” Rohaut added.

Drawing barrier 14 in the Hong Kong Sprint will make it tough, but there’s no denying the talents of this runner.


9. Red Falx – $15

Trainer: Tomohito Ozeki
Jockey: Mirco Demuro
Form: 2411×1
Barrier: 10

Continuing a strong contingent of Japanese horses at the International Meeting is last start winner Red Falx.

The five-year-old won the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama in October and it looks to have a fair amount of ability.

It opened at $13, but it has since drifted to $15 following the barrier draw where it received barrier 10, but trainer Tomohito Ozeki isn’t overly worried.

“The 10 gate is okay. It is not too far wide, and not too inside,” Ozeki said.

“There are strong horses inside, so we will see. The time of his work this morning was a bit slower than planned but he looked well. I did not want to give him too much.”

Red Falx worked over 600m in 41.3 seconds which pleased assistant trainer Isao Futaguchi.

“He did some steady gallops before he came here, so he does not have to do strong work here. Actually he was keen the first time he came on the track but on the second day he was already familiar with it,” Futaguchi said.

10. Strathmore – $26

Trainer: Tony Millard
Jockey: Neil Callan
Form: 2833×6
Barrier: 3

Strathmore was an Australian Easter Yearling Purchase which has performed very well in Hong Kong.

The son of Fastnet Rock finished sixth last start in the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint and it comes into the Hong Kong Sprint second up.

Its form last campaign included placings in the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize behind Chautauqua and a third placing behind Not Listenin’tome in the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy.

That form looks strong for this and Callan believes it’s a chance if it can repeat that effort.

“He’s had an interrupted prep and had just the one lead-up run but I felt that wasn’t a bad effort in the Jockey Club Sprint,” Callan said.

“Obviously his run in the Chairman’s Sprint last May was very good behind Chautauqua and he’s in the game if he can reproduce something like that.”

The $26 at WilliamHill.com.au looks like good value from the draw and it could land on the speed and kick strongly.

11. Growl – $67

Trainer: Richard Fahey
Jockey: Graham Lee
Form: 442621
Barrier: 12

Growl is a European four-year-old which has won four from 21 starts. That includes a last start win at Doncaster, but it’s hard to see that form translating in Hong Kong.

It hasn’t faced any notable sprinting contenders and drawing barrier 12 won’t helps its chances.

The $67 accurately represents its winning hopes and we don’t think it will have the pace to keep up with the rest of the field.

12. Takedown – $7

Trainer: Gary Moore
Jockey: Tim Clark
Form: 11251
Barrier: 6

Trainer Gary Moore is supremely confident about Winterbottom Stakes winner Takedown

Takedown is the second Australian runner in the field and it appears the better chance at $7 with Bet365.com.

The Gary Moore-trained four-year-old has done plenty of travelling this season which included runs in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, but Moore says it’s spot on heading into Sunday’s race.

“He’s spot on. His coat looks great and his blood profile is perfect,” Moore said.

“I expect him to win on Sunday and show everyone that our stable are serious players. If he does then it will be right up there as one of the great moments of my career.”

Takedown won the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot last start and it has always had the profile to run well in Hong Kong. It’s a big-framed runner which won’t get intimidated by the opposition and it has been seriously backed into $7 at Sportsbet.

It should do Australia proud and we’d love to see Moore’s reaction after winning.

13. Pure Sensation – $67

Trainer: Christophe Clement
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Form: 11×13
Barrier: 11

Pure Sensation has remained in quarantine throughout the week in Hong Kong which isn’t an ideal preparation and its odds reflect that.

The five-year-old which races in the U.S. was found to be lame in its left hind leg according to Hong Kong Jockey Club chief steward Kim Kelly.

“The Stewards have been informed by Dr. Peter Curl, Executive Manager, Veterinary Regulation, that Pure Sensation, trained by Christophe Clement, was found to be lame in its left hind leg on Wednesday, 7 December 2016, as a result of foot bruising,” Kelly said.

“The Stewards have been advised that the horse is responding well to treatment and accordingly Pure Sensation has been declared for the aforementioned race.”

Pure Sensation finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita and it had won three consecutive races leading up to that.

Had it not suffered an injury it might have had a winning chance, but we wouldn’t risk it.

14. Super Jockey – $67

Trainer: Tony Millard
Jockey: Karis Teetan
Form: 250x1x
Barrier: 9

Super Jockey is a local runner which won the Keeneland Kora Sprint last start, but this is much harder and it has been found out at the top level.

It finished 12th in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in May and its best performance prior to that was a Class 1 Handicap win at Sha Tin.

Hard to see it improving enough to win here.

2016 Hong Kong Sprint betting tips

1st – Lucky Bubbles
2nd – Amazing Kids
3rd – Takedown
4th – Aerovelocity
Include in multiples – Not Listenin’tome

Lucky Bubbles might have drifted from $3.20 to $3.50 in the betting, but we think it’s the best horse in the race and that price is good value.

The hardest to beat will be Amazing Kids which has firmed in from $10 to $6 over the last couple of hours. The John Size-trained runner is having its fourth run this campaign which suits and it should pose a major threat to the favourite.

We have included Australian hope Takedown which won the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes last start and it will enjoy the battle down the Sha Tin straight.

2014 winner Aerovelocity and last start winner Not Listenin’tome should be included as each way chances.

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