There’s action on both the turf and all-weather on Saturday at Sha Tin as Hong Kong’s premier track hosts a ten-race card. With three Class 3 races, a Class 2 and a Class 1 contest, there’s plenty of good stuff to get excited about and here’s our preview.

Ballistic can be crowned King again 

The feature on Saturday’s card is the Class 1 Amber Handicap (10:10am) over seven furlongs and the form of a course and distance handicap from back in April looks the key to unlocking this contest. The first three home in that contest, BALLISTIC KING, Beauty Legacy and Decrypt, all take each other on again here and the former is fancied to prevail for a second consecutive time.

Jimmy Ting’s five-year-old has been the model of consistency this season finishing no worse than fourth in nine starts. In being so consistent, he has risen dramatically in the weights and is now rated 20 pounds better than he was at the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

As such there has to be a slight concern he’s been found by the handicapper, but if you look through his form there’s plenty to suggest he could still be way ahead of the handicapper. Since the start of 2020, all six horses who have beaten Ballistic King have won subsequently and if you go back even further this is a horse that got to within one and three quarters of a length off star sprinter Aethero.

He faced by far the strongest opposition he’d faced last time in the aforementioned Class 2 handicap at Sha Tin and once he got out in the clear he put the race to bed in taking fashion. He’s up another seven pounds for that win, but that still means he gets a whopping 14 pounds from Beauty Legacy, who he beat by nearly two lengths.

Beauty Legacy, fourth in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, is a worthy contender and both of his career victories have come over this seven-furlong trip. However, giving that amount of weight away to a horse who is improving as quickly as Ting’s runner will surely be a bridge too far.

Backing Shum’s runner a reality not a Fantasy

One of the horses who beat Ballistic King was FANTASY and he’s expected to make it three wins on the trot in the Crystal Handicap (9:05am). Although he finished second that day, it was a more than worthy run given the winner, Transcendent, was a Listed winner in France earlier in his career and the Danny Shum-trained four-year-old was forced to race wide throughout. It’s clearly solid form because as well as Ballistic King winning since, the fifth, Ka Ying Legend, has also won subsequently.

Since then, he has won twice over course and distance and the form of his most recent looks to have plenty of substance with the fourth winning since and the third a close second last time despite missing the break. Fantasy has been raised seven pounds for that victory, but that means he still qualifies for this Class 3 contest and he should be good enough to go in again.

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