Midnight Storm in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Sunday 0.30 Santa Anita: Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Two non-runners have taken this grade one race down to a 7 runner race which could suit the pace horse Midnight Storm.
He used to be a turf miler, who had a great record here at Santa Anita, where he finished third in last year’s Breeders Cup Mile. After the Breeders Cup he made the switch to dirt and won his first two races before finding Shaman Ghost too good in the Santa Anita handicap, but he has franked the form winning next time out and prior to beating Midnight Storm, he beat all but Arrogate in the $10 million Pegasus World Cup.
He ran a flat race next time out at Oaklawn Park, but this return to Santa Anita should suit this strong front-runner who could get an easy lead against some opposition with question marks about them. He is a best priced 2/1 with the UK bookies.
Sunday 9.40 Sha Tin: The Sha Tin Vase (Handicap)
While this race may be a handicap, it sees many established group one performers attempting to give up to 20lb to some upcoming horses and one or two lower grade horses.
Mr Stunning carries top-weight and looks likely to go off favourite after a great run last time out in the group one Chairman’s Sprint Prize where he failed by just a neck to reel in Lucky Bubbles. Lucky Bubbles isn’t in today’s race, but there are many of those that finished behind him, including Not Listenin’tome, Thewizardofoz, Amazing Kids, Sun Jewellery and Strathmore re-opposing.
Taking on the well-known runners are a few improvers, with Magic Legend and D B Pin looking the best, but I’m going to take a chance with another horse at the bottom of the weights in Strathmore.
Strathmore is a little bit below group one level and very rarely even makes it in to the frame off level-weights, but today he’ll be getting as much as 20lb from the top-rated horses. His best performance came just over a year ago where he finished third in the group one Chairman’s Sprint Prize behind Chautauqua and Lucky Bubbles, beaten one and half lengths, with Amazing Kids, Not Listenin’tome and Thewizardofoz behind. He hasn’t won for a long time, but even at the highest level he’s isn’t more than 3 or 4 lengths behind the winner so this big receipt of weight could bring him right in to it at a nice price.
Not Listenin’tome isn’t far off the best in Hong Kong and he could make use of the 3lb he gets off Mr Stunning. Only two runs back he tried to give him 16lb but today it’s a 19lb swing for a two length beating. He could go off at a decent price, at 8+ he could be a bet also as he has performed well giving weight away.
At the time of writing there isn’t any bookmakers putting up prices but Strathmore looks likely to go off at 30+ on the Hong Kong tote, so 20/1 each way or greater with the bookmakers could be on offer.