Neil Morrice brings us all of his best bets and tips for Wednesday’s racing taking place at Happy Valley (including video analysis), Tampa Bay Downs and Will Rodgers Downs.
Happy Valley Best Bets
Race 1: No9 – EVERYONE’S ELITE
Trainer: Manfred Man – Jockey: Joao Moreira
The form figures 222223 in as many starts this season should not give the impression EVERYONE’S ELITE is reluctant to put his head in front, even though he hasn’t managed that where it matters under both Silvestre de Sousa and Joao Moreira. The blinkered 5yo should be given another chance from a decent gate. DIONYSUS COLLIN keeps knocking on the door to give him a similar profile as the selection and is hard to kick out of the argument, while TANGMERE finished strongly when scoring here early last month and has subsequently won a trial.
Race 2: No3 – CHARITY GRAND
Trainer: Danny Shum – Jockey: Joao Moreira
Getting the assistance of Moreira for the first time is a boon to CHARITY GRAND, who looks cherry ripe on a third run back which has seen him deliver in the past. His eye-catching effort to trouble the judge three weeks ago was boosted when his conqueror Juneau Park went in again. The run has made him fitter, while he should relish the step up to 1650m. LET’S TAKE IT EASY has posted a second and two thirds on his last three starts and is a clear danger under Purton. FUN TIMES has also been brought along steadily and should be nearing his peak.
Race 3: No10 – SUPER ALLIANCES
Trainer: John Size – Jockey: Joao Moreira
The powerful Moreira/Size combo can take this with SUPER ALLIANCES. The New Zealand-bred has been out of the money in two starts since a couple of narrow misses over course and distance but has plenty going for him from a favourable gate and with Moreira in the irons. MASTER ALBERT has swooped to conquer on his last two outings over the course and distance. However, he’s gone up another 3kg which makes things harder. WINNER’S HEART might be the one to give the selection most problems, having finished off his race strongly last time over an inadequate distance.
Race 4: No2 – GUNNAR
Trainer: A K Chan – Jockey: Alfred Chan
With two thirds over the distance on his last two starts as well as having capable apprentice Chan in the plate, the consistent GUNNAR can get a hold of things early doors and hang on. The jockey’s 7lb claim is going to be a real bonus to him when it gets down to the nitty-gritty. AMAZING is holding a decent level of form and with luck in running can get into the thick of the action, while WOOD ON FIRE is going to be charging at the line from a draw that promises to give him a good sighter at the leaders.
Race 5: No10 – DIAMOND BRILLIANT
Trainer: Benno Yung – Jockey: Joao Moreira
DIAMOND BRILLIANT hails from an in-form stable and is weighted to turn the tables on Ping Hai Galaxy from their meeting over track and trip in February. He has good track craft and should be able to obtain a handy position from which he can dominate as the race develops. The contest should see improvement from the likes of SEVENTH SEA and BEAUTY AMIGO, both of whose form is better than at looks. This pair should go into the mix in an open heat.
Race 6: No7 – VERY SWEET ORANGE (Nap)
Trainer: Y S Tsui – Jockey: Alfred Chan
Emerging talent Chan has ridden VERY SWEET ORANGE to two of his unbeaten sequence of three races this year and knows the 5yo like the back of his hand. He returns to the gelding’s saddle with his claim potentially worth its weight in gold. The combination is set to take command from a perfect draw and will be hard to reel in. BE READY hinted that he’s getting back into the zone with two good efforts in defeat and at bigger odds, LARSON can make this a fourth frame finish from as many starts but may struggle to win.
Race 7: No1 – HOLY HEART
Trainer: K W Lui – Jockey: Zac Purton
Former UK-based HOLY HEART has come tantalizingly close to posting a first win here to suggest he just needs the ‘rub’ to put one on the board for top connections. He went down by a short head last time, and if there’s pace on he’s drawn to be delivered accurately and late. SMOOTHIES will assist the selection of trying to repeat the gate to line tactics with which he successfully dictated last start while FLASH FAMOUS has been freshened up for his bid to complete a hat-trick, and is included.
Race 8: No2 – STRONGER
Trainer: John Moore – Jockey: Zac Purton
Blistering pace from a perfect gate suggests STRONGER can make a bold fist of wiring the nightcap. He set a new track record two starts ago and though failing to menace on his follow-up attempt comes out refreshed from a 31-day break. If he looks lively under Purton the combination can prevent THIS IS CLASS from completing a hat-trick. The latter has won four and finished second twice in his last six outings and is sure to head the market. Plenty will pile in on him if they need to jump out of jail, but hopefully, the selection will be ‘Stronger’.
JACKPOT Race 5-8
10, 3, 6, 8/ 7, 4, 9, 11/ 1, 3, 7, 4/2, 10, 6
Tampa Bay Downs Best Bets
Race 4 (Claiming): No7 – MILEY
Trainer: David Flores – Jockey: David Flores
The course winning form of MILEY should see her in the thick of things as she returns from a more than 90-day absence for her trainer/rider. She ended last season on a high and can improve from her only outing of 2020 that might well have been needed. For reliability, Shenu Shenume has to be of interest and she was also a winner here before Christmas. Fashion Frame can also take home a cheque.
Race 5 (Maiden Claiming): No6 – GONEASAGIRLCANGET (Nap)
Trainer: Shaun Morrow – Jockey: Daniel Centeno
The ring of consistency that GONEASAGIRLCANGET has exuded in both her time with Rory Miller and new handler Morrow can at last be rewarded. The First Dude filly couldn’t help but hit the board in her time at Gulfstream and has taken that dependability to Tampa Bay with two more frame finishes. A repeat of that level of form should be enough to see her safe home.
Race 8 (Maiden Special Weight): No7 – WINDFALL PROFIT
Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Jockey: Willie Martinez
New York shipper WINDFALL PROFIT showed hints of ability in three outings last year including when starting a well-supported favourite for the last of those at Laurel Park to suggest she can make an immediate impact in this new environment. She’s displayed encouragement in her workouts for her legendary trainer and can raise her game to see off the attentions of Gaelic Gold and Twirling Star.
Will Rogers Downs Best Bets
Race 1 (Claiming): No3 – TAPINDEED
Trainer: H Ray Ashford Jr – Jockey: Ken Tohill
The Tapizar mare TAPINDEED started 4-1 or under for all seven of her outings at Evangeline Downs and odds-on on three occasions, scoring on all but two of them. The now 6yo made a satisfactory first foray onto this track when troubling the judge on a sloppy surface that wouldn’t have suited her towards the end of March. Her price of 14-1 indicates she wasn’t ready, and the run should have brought her forward. Recent heavily bet scorer Alex’s Bourbon looks the main threat.
Race 5 (Claiming): No3 – NAUTIA
Trainer: Steve Asmussen – Jockey: Lane Luzzi
NAUTIA ticks the same boxes as Tapindeed on her first start here, and first for Asmussen. With consecutive frame finishes at Gulfstream and Keeneland she has shown she has ability, but the burning question is whether she is ready after a lay off of exactly one year? Tickle Bunny and hat-trick seeker Ancona are the main stumbling blocks.
Race 7 (Starter Optional Claiming): No2 – TRAPALANDA (Nap)
Trainer: Jose Silva – Jockey: Ry Eikleberry
TRAPALANDA cut the mustard in winning two of his three starts at Turf Paradise and finishing second in the other. He’s clearly had issues, as he only made it to the track twice when stationed at Santa Anita last year, but those yielded a success over six furlongs. At the same distance he landed some good bets on his latest outing when starting a shade of odds-on, and his overall profile suggests he might be a safer proposition than hat-trick seeking Ed’s Rocket and veteran Niigon’s Glory.