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David Hall hopes to impact with three quality Group 3 runners at Sha Tin on Sunday

May 29, 2024 at 4:40:14 AM

In the throes of another strong campaign, David Hall hopes to add further lustre to the 2023/24 racing season when he bids for Group 3 glory at Sha Tin on Sunday (2 June) with his stable’s three highest-rated horses – Invincible Sage, Flying Ace and Atullibigeal.

Closing in on the career-best mark of 44 wins in a season he set last campaign, Hall has 36 victories this term with the clear highlight being Invincible Sage’s triumph in the HK$22 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on 28 April.

That success propelled Invincible Sage to a rating of 118 and the four-year-old will carry 129lb for Hugh Bowman in Sunday’s HK$4.2 million G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) while 106-rater Flying Ace will carry only 117lb for Alexis Badel.

Hall hopes both gallopers can continue strong preparations.

“Both horses have gone up to Conghua since the last race and have certainly enjoyed that. Invincible Sage had a nice trial the other day and had a good blow which is what he needed,” Hall said.

“It’s a handicap race now and he’s got to give weight to a couple of his rivals but he still gets six pounds off the top weight (Victor The Winner, 135lb), so it might be the last chance to get a bit of advantage that way.

“He’s in good shape and it’s going to be interesting to see how the weather plays and the barrier draw to see what sort of confidence we have.

“Flying Ace has been running well all season and the handicap race is a good race for him and if he can just draw a barrier where he could pinch a couple of lengths rather than giving away a couple of lengths every time from a wide gate, that would help.

“I’m looking forward to both horses on Sunday.”

Hall will saddle 97-rater Atullibigeal in the HK$4.2 million G3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (1600m), searching for a third victory this campaign with the gelding.

“He’s raced well all season and I just think he’s really looking for the mile now,” Hall said. “It’s going to be a very strong race with Galaxy Patch – on his best form, probably wins the race – and Beauty Joy is a class horse but he’s got the big weight (135lb) at the handicap.

“It’s an interesting race but he (Atullibigeal) has raced well all season and he deserves his chance there.

“I’m hoping the mile will help us improve a little more.”

David Hall has 36 wins this season.
David Hall has 36 wins this season.
Hall starts Hong Kong Hall in the Class 3 Chung On Handicap (1200m, dirt) at Sha Tin on Wednesday night (29 May) as the gelding chases consecutive wins.

“He’s been very lucky to have barrier one his last couple of starts and now he’s got a bit more difficult barrier (gate eight) and obviously it’s going to be questionable how the track is racing – he’s definitely an on-pace horse,” Hall said.

“He’s found a liking for the surface. We were lucky enough to get a nice harrowed track last time, whether we’re going to get the same tomorrow night is all a bit of guess work. He’s in good form, the track and distance form is good and I’m sure he’s going to be competitive.”

Hugh Bowman reunites with Telecom Fighters in the Class 2 Chun Shek Handicap (1650m, dirt).

“The last time I rode him was on the dirt and he ran a gallant second,” Bowman said. “He’s in a situation where it’s hard for him to win because of his level (rated 99) but he’s racing very consistently and he gave me really good showing last time on the all-weather and looks to set up nicely for him again.”

Sha Tin’s eight-race card starts on Wednesday night (29 May) with the Class 2 Chun Shek Handicap (1650m, dirt) at 7.15pm.

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