John Size Could Win The First Feature Race In The New Year At Sha Tin

The first meeting of the New Year is traditionally a day that class returns to Sha Tin and that won’t only be true of the feature race, the Group 3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup, over 1,400m.

The very best Hong Kong horses don’t get a chance to run after international day until well into January, but the Chinese Club Cup offers an opportunity for second-tier runners to get their opportunity.

The likely favourite on Tuesday is John Size-trained Real Specialist, a winner in Class One on international day who has a record of 14 starts for 8 wins and 3 seconds, but there is nowhere to hide once they get to this level and that record will be hard to maintain. He meets Group One winners and placegetters at the top of the weights and will give plenty of pounds to talented horses like Helene Spirit and Fay Fay, but Real Specialist has proved himself a real winner.

The main race is not the only reserve of quality, with some highly-rated Derby aspirants appearing for the first time in race eleven.

John Moore unveils his main Derby horse, Ashkiyr, who has not looked ready to win in two trials but these top class Europeans from the Moore yard have rarely failed to show something at their local debut.

Tony Cruz unveils a dual stakes winner from Germany, Exquisite Champion, and David Ferraris produces Chater Dream, a winner of 3 from 6 including a Group Two at Longchamp.

From the southern hemisphere comes Caspar Fownes’ big Derby hope, Best Show, who raced as Malandrino in New Zealand where trainer Murray Baker rated him the best horse he has trained.

Their local debuts will be watched closely but they might have the job ahead beating Richard Gibson-trained classic hopeful Gold-Fun, who is fit, a last-start winner and Douglas Whyte is making a rare effort to ride him at a very light weight.

By Nathan Mody

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