SHEEP AND RAMS 1

SHEEP AND RAMS 2

Race 1

It’s absolutely imperative that local punters- and 100,000 are expected to go through the turnstiles at Shatin today- get the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Ram off to a winning start.

It’s NOT the Year of The Goat nor the Sheep, no matter what The Three Amigos yin tonged about on their big budget production, the Racing To Win spectacular, while dressed in their silk pyjamas.

ThreeAmigos

With this in mind, here’s hoping that nothing pops up at outrageous odds and makes goats of everyone.

SHEEP AND RAMS 2b

If going according to script, this should be a bah bah stroll in the park for the Size-Moreira combination to ram home a winner with first-starter and favourite Chin Chun that’s received a typically patient prep by the master horseman.

SHEEP AND RAMS 3

On the subject of Johnny Size, his name was conspicuously absent in a recent freewheeling interview with the former Billy Idol of Oz racing- Shane Dye.

Shane Dye

Dye made some very pertinent points, went to bat for Hong Kong racing, gave himself some huge plugs- and why not?- rather tackily gunned down the accomplishments of Douglas Whyte, showed huge dollops of man love for Joao Moreira, but nowhere was there any mention of his time riding for Size-and which gig he lost to the then young upstart that was the Durban Demon. Funny thing about selective memory recall.

SHEEP AND RAMS 4

SELECTIONS: (5)-2-3-11-1

Race 2

Box these and you should get the quinella and tierce with Derek Leung riding his first winner in the Year of the Ram.

SHEEP AND RAMS 5

SELECTIONS: 2-1-10-7

Race 3

There’s a significant jockey change here where trainer David “Darth” Ferraris has replaced Brett Prebble on Bear Rapper with Joao Moreira after looking a good thing beaten at its last start.

SHEEP AND RAMS 6

Bear Rapper should make amends here whereas one hears that as far as a rejuvenated “Darth” stable is concerned, the Force is no longer with Prebble. Well, that love affair hit the rocks far earlier than expected.

SHEEP AND RAMS 7

QUARTET SELECTIONS: (4)-5-7-1-2-10

Race 4

If he hasn’t already ridden one, this race could provide Neil Callan with the first winner of The Year of the Ram- and at good odds- aboard trackwork star Golden Partners.

SHEEP AND RAMS 8

Of course, the odds are that Callan’s golfing buddy- Zac Purton- will be on the favourite in Unicorn, but this is a shallow race and could easily be rolled. Be prepared for an upset- a big Ram-sized one.

SHEEP AND RAMS 9

SELECTIONS:(8)-2-6-11-12

Race 5

The first leg of the Triple Trio where there’s a healthy $18m laisee jackpot up for grabs with Presidentparamount and Glacier Blue looking solid double bankers to many. What’s a little concerning is that Zac Purton wasn’t too complimentary to the media about Presidentparamount’s last win. But that could have been said for the benefit of the handicapper.

SHEEP AND RAMS 10

SELECTIONS: (4)-8-12-2-3

Race 6

The first leg of the Six Up which has a jackpot of over $2m after some shock results on Sunday, this is the race that can throw up a wobbly and kill off many tickets.

SHEEP AND RAMS 11

It’s a very open race where one can take the entire field and still get it wrong. Seriously though, at least on paper, there are around six winning chances, but you know what they say about something not being worth the paper its written on.

SHEEP AND RAMS 12

QUARTET SELECTIONS: (11)-5-10-6-4

RACE 7

The last leg of the Triple Trio with my money going on Happy Rocky while many in Sydney who know the horse from its time Down Under, will be staying well away from Photon Willie which, to them, is a “head case”- another puzzling purchase from Oz that runs in this race.

Rocky IV 1985 rŽal. : Sylvester Stallone Dolph Lundgren Collection Christophel

SELECTIONS: 14-10-4-2

RACE 8

The running of the Chinese New Year Cup with, surely, this being the last throw at the stumps by its owners from Mainland China before it’s switched stable for “good fung shui”? Not that Tony Millard has done anything wrong with the former Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper.

SHEEP AND RAMS 14

After a facile win over 1400m with Zac Purton aboard at its first Hong Kong, Divine Calling was being hailed as a future champion.

SHEEP AND RAMS 15

Alas, its next two starts, the first of these over 1600m, and what some who know the horse from its time in Sydney say was a big no-no, things fizzled out when it ran as a blazing hot favourite with Moreira taking over. Those were less than spectacular efforts and huge face-losing losses.

SHEEP AND RAMS 16

Purton is now back aboard with the Magic Man either turning the ride down or replaced- not that he had done anything wrong with either of the rides. For some reason, no amount of divine intervention helped Divine Calling repeat its first win in Hong Kong. What went wrong? Gawd knows. This time, however, nothing should go wrong and the connections should lift the Cup aloft. Gawd, we hope so.

SHEEP AND RAMS 17

SELECTIONS: (2)-4-3-5

Race 9

Many see this race as being a duel to the wire between The Magic Man and The Zac Attack with me leaning to Zac Purton’s ride Golden Deer. But, frankly, I am unsure about both their rides. I’m In Charge could possibly be the fly in the ointment.

SHEEP AND RAMS 18

SELECTIONS: 10-5-3-14

Race 10

Soul Achiever was disappointing at its last start and with Moreira sticking with it, many would be giving it another chance. Not me. Uh uh. Please keep that thing away from me!

SHEEP AND RAMS 19

Travel First with Ollie Doleuze aboard, below, is my choice with outsiders being the interesting Brilliant Dream and the enigmatic President Lincoln that goes well for Keith Yeung one to include in Quartets.

SHEEP AND RAMS 19b

SELECTIONS: 2-8-10-14

Race 11

Super Talent was a certainty beaten at its last start when Mirco Demuro gave it such a “delicate” ride, one would have been forgiven in thinking that the race was 800 metres longer than it was.

SHEEP AND RAMS 20

SHEEP AND RAMS 21

Knowing a good thing when he sees one, big game hunter Bwana Dougie Whyte has gone hunting for the ride- a former ride- and re-captured it.

SHEEP AND RAMS 22

There’s been some longer time than anticipated between runs, but if everything is all fine with the galloper, it should go extremely close to winning this.

QUARTET SELECTIONS: (12-14)-1-2-6-7-9

SHEEP AND RAMS 22b

BEST BET: Race 11 SUPER TALENT (12)
NEXT BEST: Race 3 BEAR RAPPER (14)
LONGSHOT: Race 6 SHARP HUNTER (5)

SIX UP

R6: 4-5-10-11
R7: 2-14
R8: 2
R9: 3-5-10
R10: 2-8-10
R11: 12-14

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FROM THE RACING TWITTERVERSE

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