Home Estate Planning Champion McDonald hoping for good Karma

Champion McDonald hoping for good Karma

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ALL EYES will be on James McDonald on Sunday as he bids to guide Romantic Warrior to a sixth Group One success in the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (8.05am), and the Kiwi rider looks a have a strong book of rides throughout the action at Sha Tin.

McDonald, who rode for a five-week stint in Hong Kong at the end of last year, has amassed 17 wins from just 107 rides in his sporadic visits to the territory this season and looks to have good chances of adding to that tally from his eight booked rides on the card.

He could well have a couple of winners on the board ahead of the big race. Packing Prospect goes in the Citigold Handicap (6.30am) over six furlongs and looks set to improve on his sixth placed finish on debut at Happy Valley in December, while in the following Citi Ultima Handicap (7.00am) Must Go could build on his second last time out, but a wide draw in stall 14 – next to the Shing Mun River – tempers enthusiasm.

McDonald’s best chances appear to be later on the card, including with the lightly raced and progressive KARMA, who lines up in the Citi Insurance Services Handicap (8.40am) over a mile.

The Caspar Fownes-trained five-year-old has gone close on his only two previous runs over this trip, notably when beaten less than a length behind the smart Chill Chibi at Happy Valley in November and then when finishing strongly, but running out of room at the finish, over this course and distance a month later.

Given a break before returning two weeks ago over seven furlongs, he lacked the pace to lay up over the shorter trip and may have needed the run.

He should strip fitter now and will be suited to the return to a mile, and McDonald’s presence in the saddle for the first time only adds to his appeal.

Closing the card is the Citi Investment Services Handicap (9.50am) over seven furlongs, which has a competitive look to it with last-time-out winners Green N White and Illuminous in the field.

The latter of those finished just ahead of YOUNG CHAMPION over six furlongs at Sha Tin earlier this month, when both horses were making their Hong Kong debuts.

Formerly trained by Johnny Murtagh in Ireland, Young Champion stretched out well and looked the winner for a long way last time, only to be pounced on late by Illuminous.

However, he’s now four pounds better off at the weights with that rival and has a more favourable draw, so might be able to turn the tables and give McDonald another winner.


Karma                                 8.40am                Sha Tin

Young Champion             9.50am                Sha Tin

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