The Class 1 Chinese New Year Cup Handicap (1400m) is the traditional feature race at the Chinese New Year race day (Monday 27 January at Sha Tin) and a stacked field of 14 will do battle for a share of the HK$2.8 million purse, including Perfect Match (113lb) who will be ridden by Alexis Badel.
“He’s done everything fine, the horse looks in great shape, he has a light weight so hopefully this helps us but he is a good horse,” Badel said.
The Danny Shum-trained gelding powered to victory last start in the Class 2 Lukfook Jewellery Cup Handicap (1400m) and is looking to make it a feature race double on Monday.
“He’s quite a strong horse, he did very well last start but we have a different gate this time and there’s a lot of pace in the race this time so it will depend on the situation what we do,” the Frenchman said.
Perfect Match will break from gate 10, while another horse that Badel knows well, Fat Turtle (130lb) will step out beside him in gate 11, this time with Joao Moreira aboard.
“They are both talented horses but let’s see what they can do,” Badel said.
Badel was aboard Fat Turtle last time when second to rising star four-year-old Golden Sixty in a 1400m Group 3 handicap but Joao Moreira takes the reins this time.
“Fat Turtle has ability and I think he is among the best horses in the race and if he is able to produce his best then there is no doubt that he is a winning chance,” Moreira said.
The Brazilian though was not thrilled at the prospect of having to break from a wide gate but feels the Smart Missile gelding is up to the task.
“It’s a big problem that we are going to have to deal with but we’re going to deal with it the best we can because he has gate speed but he can also be ridden quietly – he’s very versatile,” Moreira added.
The race also features dual South African Group 1 winner Northern Superstar (133lb) as well as Good Standing (130lb), Fast Most Furious (126lb), Flying Thunder (126lb) and Tornado Twist (117lb).
Monday’s 11-race card commences at 12.00 noon with the Class 5 Yue Yee Handicap (1200m).