Jul 042019
 

We are all hoping that the race name will not be an omen when the Grade II Breakdown is run over a heart-pumping 16 furlongs at Sha Tin Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon.  With the prospect of a rain-affected track it is likely that the race could become even more demanding.  Facing the task will be 13 fillies and mares, many hoping to enter the grade-winning ranks for the first time and others hoping to cement their positions at the pointy-end of the Mare Dirt Long ratings.  I sat with the connections of the contenders at the champagne barrier draw on Thursday night and was given a rundown on their horses by owners and trainers.  I did rather overdo the champagne so I hope that I have got the details right.

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#3  EURYDICE (6/1) 16-4-5-2

Robd presents his lightly-raced 4 year old Sea The Stars filly, Eurydice.  Currently ranked #6 in the Long Dirt rankings, Eurydice comes into the race as a strong contender.  The grade 2 air will not be unfamiliar to Eurydice, having been a winner and runner-up at this level and a close second in the Desert Lady Stayer (grade I) in her last 3 starts.  Her good solid pace will guarantee her a prominent position at the 4 furlong mark, the only question being whether her condition will hold till the finishing post.  The prospect of her being nursed to the line has been enhanced with the engagement of jockey A Hudson, normally domiciled in Japan.

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#6  GHOSTLY DAYS (7/1) 21-8-3-1

Ambling quietly from barrier 6, the fast-finishing stalker Ghostly Days is a 5 year old Ghostzapper mare.  Two starts ago she was a fast finishing 5th in the Desert Lady Stayer (grade I) in which Eurydice was second.  In that race Ghostly Days took 15 lengths off Eurydice in the final 3 furlongs so the additional 2 furlongs in this race should suit. At her last start trainer Crackpot took Ghostly Days back to allowance ranks and she duly disposed of her rivals convincingly.  She already has a G1 second placing on her CV so a breakthrough graded win would be no surprise.  C Roser was her jockey in her last-start win and this has won him a re-engagement for the Breakdown.

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#9  KITTY BELLO (5/1) 21-8-3-3

If you are thinking of laying your hard-earned down on Kitty Bello it would be wise to ignore her last start failure on a rain-affected track in Japan.  That is if you are confident that the rain-clouds will somehow avoid Sha Tin or Kitty Bello suddenly finds her gumboots.  Her previous 2 starts were first class, a strong finishing G1 second place followed by a thundering grade III win, both over the distance of this race.  Jockey J Whaley from China guided her to the grade III win and will be hoping to go one better here.  With her Kitten’s Joy and Dalakhani lineage there is little doubt that Kitty Bello will enjoy the trip and still be happy to do a lap of honour if she salutes the judge.  A win here would be a major coup for the small barn stables.

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#7  DOT IN THE BOX (6/1) 20-8-3-5

Four year old filly Dot In The Box had a meritorious graded debut two starts ago when she finished in the money in a 14 furlong grade III, The Charlotte Cup.  This had been a major jump in class after the Curlin filly had comprehensively demolished her rivals in 6 of her previous 7 starts in distance allowances.  An astute placement by trainer Flagdown in a stakes race in Mexico at her last start has re-established Dot In The Box’s confidence and should see her cherry-ripe for the Breakdown.  Dot In The Box’s free-running style should see her in close company with Eurydice at the head of the field and there is plenty to suggest that she could finish off the two-miler strongly.

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#1  CREATED BY EVIL (8/1) 14-4-4-2

Created By Evil she may be, but bloody good she is too.  Stepping up to the mile and a half and beyond for her last 6 starts, she has relished the task and stormed home strongly on each occasion.  The Creator filly had her stakes debut over 13 furlongs in her penultimate race.  Settling comfortably a few lengths from the leader she worked home, going down by less than a length.  With this promising run under her belt her trainer Lenny doubled-down and presented her in Japan in the Grade 3 Long Walk Home.  Settling near a dozen lengths from the lead, Created By Evil found the going to her liking and although well held by the winner she left all other contenders, including Kitty Bello, in her wake.

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#10  DARK N IMPACT (14/1) 30-5-3-4

Trainer Lightng was seen doing rain-dances last night, buoyed by the prospect of a boggy Sha Tin track for his striking grey mare, Dark N Impact.  To be honest, Dark N Impact’s latest form has been disappointing, not greeting the judge since 21 October last year.  On that occasion she ran a front-running two mile blinder in winning an Irish grade III, showing that she is definitely above average.  But Lightng will be looking to her two starts on rain affected going.  The first was a solid allowance win which brought up career best speed figures at the time.  The other was a creditable grade I fourth place over the full two mile course.  Any repeat of that form would see a prominent finish for Dark N Impact in this race.  The Lightng stables have opted against importing a major overseas jockey but are instead relying on the local knowledge of Hong Kong hoop, C Baxter.

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#2  COMMODIOUS (10/1) 22-6-6-5

The brains-trust behind MTK76 Racing Stables will be saddling up a Deep Impact mare, Commodious, resuming after a brief two month lay-off.  The Breakdown represents a steep rise in class for Commodious who had a breakout stakes win over the journey at her last start in Argentina.  In that race she enjoyed every inch of the trip, settling toward the rear of the field before streaking through for a dominant win.  Local rider, P Kelly, is enjoying a very good season and is sure to give Commodious every chance to pull off an upset and add black-type to her racing record.

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#12  HAPPY RUTH (11/1) 18-3-3-2

Happy Ruth is in career-best form at present with two wins and three placing coming from her last five starts.  The Runhappy filly has found her niche with the long dirt caper, breaking her stakes duck over 13 furlongs three starts ago in Texas and following up with a heart-breaking run over an additional 3 furlongs, making up 9 lengths on the leader in the final call, only to miss the main prize by a head.  Happy Ruth’s one run on a sloppy track was a failure but the JGaudet racing stable connections have been very tight-lipped as to whether she has handled the going in private trials.  UAE jockey M Perez will be meeting Happy Ruth for the first time but is an accomplished rider and will be sure to follow stable instructions.

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#11  LASTNG DEAMS (18/1) 16-3-3-1

Lightng99 racing stables obviously benefited by group travel booking discounts, Lastng Deams being the second of five entries for the Breakdown.  Sired by under-used stallion Ajaya, the four year old lightly-raced filly showed promise at her last start running second over 14 furlongs.  In that run Lastng Deams surged past early leader, Hannahimal, who had beaten Happy Ruth at her previous start.  In her previous two runs she had been well-held in grade I and III races so she will need to continue her improved form to figure in the finish.  The engagement of local jockey, S Wooley, gives Lastng Deams a little edge which may well help in a hectic finish.

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#5  DARK FREDDYDONEIT (12/1) 29-2-6-0

The third of Lightng99 racing stables entrants in this contest is the well-tried Astrology mare, Dark Freddydoneit.  Her last-start stakes second placing was an improved run on recent efforts, possibly helped by a 7 furlong ‘blow-out-the-cobwebs’ in April.  We have to look back to September last year for Dark Freddydoneit’s last impressive run, a strong-finishing second over a mile and a half registering a career-high SP of 111.  First-time rider R Ellison is having a fairly lean year in Hong Kong and would be thrilled at the prospect of the jockey’s percentage of the grade II’s purse.  Although she had previously placed in a 14 furlong grade II it will require a big improvement for Dark Freddydoneit to take this race out.

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#4  OVERLY INTELLIGENT (16/1) 20-5-4-3

Another Lightng entrant is the Overanalyze filly, Overly Intelligent, jumping from the four gate.  Overly Intelligent has a very useful 25% win rate, unfortunately most of those have come in modest claimers.  Although having graded-placed against her name, she was beaten by Kitty Bello by more than twenty lengths in the race.  Her last start in the grade III Long Walk Home was an improved performance, finishing within sight of Created By Evil and turning the tables on Kitty Bello.  Maryland jockey, Pe Williams was surprised at the call-up for this race and was seen calling G Arnold who had the helm at Overly Intelligent’s last start.

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#8  PONTYPOOL (9/1) 19-6-4-3

Inspired or desperate, we’ll all know which it is on Saturday afternoon.  Trainer Liam brings his Orfevre mare Pontypool to Hong Kong for her first appearance on a dirt track.  There is certainly nothing in her Orfevre X High Chaparral X North Light breeding to suggest a liking for dirt but her dam’s two modest wins did come on that surface.  Perhaps Liam has been doing some trials before the lights were up.  The two mile journey is Pontypool’s favourite, with six wins and four placings coming from just eleven starts.  Her last start was a career-high SP of 108 in a Norway stakes, sprinting away to have half a dozen lengths in hand at the finish.  Taking the ride is J Castillo, an accomplished jockey from Turkey who is having an excellent year.

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#13  MINNY THE MOUSE (16/1) 27-2-3-5

Jumping from the outside gate is Minny The Mouse, a Variety Club mare who is the fifth, and final, starter from the Lightng empire.  Having accumulated losing margins of over 80 lengths in her last four starts hardly engenders great confidence in Minny the Mouse’s chances for the Breakdown.  Only the prospect of a substantial downpour prior to the race serves to give her any real likelihood of placing.  Minny the Mouse’s best performance came in a stakes race over 14 furlongs of sloppy German dirt in December.  She sat near the rear of the field in that race before finishing powerfully and failing to notch her first stakes win by just a quarter of a length.

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Well, that’s the rundown on the runners.  Now for the task of previewing the actual race.  There is very little natural pace in the race so I believe that it will be left to Dot In The Box and Eurydice to drag along a reticent pack of would-be closers.  In the last 3 furlongs Eurydice should get the better of her companion and begin the final surge to the line.  By now the hungry pack of predators will be sensing blood, headed by Ghostly Days, Kitty Bello and Created By Evil.  First to feel the pressure will be Kitty Bello, with Ghostly Days chances extinguishing soon after.  In a final drive to the line Created By Evil will loom large but find the finishing post too close, leaving Eurydice a worthy winner by half a length.

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Disclaimer

While it can be said this preview is pretty clear and concise it should be noted that the writer was also very confident when wagering 5 sacks of silver at 1/5 on Goliath against a young upstart David.

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  2 Responses to “Grueling Marathon Awaits Mares in Hong Kong”

  1. nice job loved it

  2. Just a note about Eurydice.

    She won her earlier G2 fairly comfortably by over 4 lengths and then was caught on the line in the G1 Desert Lady Stayer.

    Last time out in the G2 race I tried something different and changed her running style.

    She didn’t seem to enjoy that much and she is now back to her normal running style so don’t be surprised if in the second half of the race, you don’t see another horse on the screen until going into the final furlong.

    ( Don’t worry – I’ve been wrong before )