A return to Happy Valley for the third Hong Kong meeting this season, provides the first meeting of this semester on the Happy Valley Turf.
There are eight races carded, with the headline event being Race 4 – a Class 2 event over 1650m. All eight races are around the turn, so the low draws will be beneficial for what is considered a relatively tight track. The first race kicks off at 13:15, South African time.
Winning Form tipped two winners at Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting:
California Legend returned at a price of 9/2.
Invincible Missile returned at a price of 28/10. He was our best bet on the card, beating the odds-on favourite Victoriam.
Best Bet: BEST SMILE (Race 5 – 15:20)
Value Bet: CHEFANO (Race 7 – 16:20)
Race 1 – 13:15
Selections: 4 – 7 – 6 – 8 – 9
GREEN DISPATCH has shown good improvement in his last two starts, since dropping into Class 4 company. He had a tough draw to overcome in his penultimate run over the 10 furlongs and just tired over the last 100m, having taken up the running from the off. Thereafter, he made good use of jumping from gate 1 in his last start when going down a neck in second. He gets another handy draw today and his running style should suit the drop in trip. We make the seven-year-old grey son of War Front the one to beat. DREAM WARRIORS was slightly disappointing in his last start, having found himself at the top of the betting boards. His popularity amongst punters was warranted, considering his penultimate run when he did everything right but win, but a cut leg may have been a valid excuse for his below par effort. Karis Teetan retains the ride and that will give his followers a bit of confidence, with the young Mauritian coming off the back of a double this last weekend at Sha Tin. From pole, he looks set to give the top selection a big run. C P POWER finished in front of the latter last time out and he drops a further two points in the ratings. He does seem to leave his challenge late, which may indicate that it is time to send him over a bit more ground. With that said, he has finished just off them in his last few starts and from a useful draw today, should give another good account of himself off this reduced rating. POLYMER LUCK finished just behind the second selection (DREAM WARRIORS) last time out, having taken up the early running before becoming a little one paced in the closing stages to finish 2.5 lengths off the winner. That was a solid effort to follow up an even more encouraging run in his penultimate start, over the same course and distance. With the young apprentice back up, he must be included.
Race 2 – 13:45
Selections: 10 – 7 – 9 – 6 – 5
A tricky handicap awaits us for the second event on the card and we have sided with LEISURED FEET to bring home the first prize check for his connections. He has finally landed a draw where he won’t be required to be used up to find a good early position and that could just be the factor that makes the difference here. He likes to take up the early running and with the drop in trip in mind, he should be able to find the run of the race with considerable ease. He will be fitted with a shadow roll (sheepskin noseband) for this run and looks the likely winner, if building on that last start. SHOW MISSION has been in some fair recent form, as he continues to drop in the ratings. He found a tough passage in his last start, when taking a bump at the start before being hampered 100m from home and with a bit more luck in running may have finished closer. He gets the tongue tie removed for todays comeback run and on his course and distance record, looks a big threat and must be considered. WHISTLE UP finished just in front of SHOW MISSION last time out, having rallied late under Zac Purton who retains the ride today. He has another very tough draw to negate today and that may just put pay to his winning chances, but on current form he should be good enough to find a place cheque. STARLOT lands an improved draw today after a good effort last time out, when showing a very smart turn of foot to find the 3rd box at long odds. That may indicate that he could still be ahead of the handicapper and with this being back on a course where he has enjoyed most of his success, he must be included.
Race 3 – 14:15
Selections: 1 – 8 – 10 – 12 – 5
The top weight CURLING LUXURY returns to his favourite course today, after a fair pipe-opener last time out. That was his first run this semester, when dropping into Class 5 company over a trip that he would’ve found a touch on the sharp side. He may have still finished closer, had it not been for late interference 100m from home, but the run would’ve bought him on nicely regardless. He steps back up to his preferred trip this time and should have the class to prevail. LUCKY SHINY DAY has unsurprisingly shown good improvement since dropping into this class two starts back and he has had a further five points shaved off his rating since then. He has a tougher draw to overcome today, but this shouldn’t be too much of a factor as he likes to settle mid-field and should get there with relative ease. The young apprentice retains the ride after that fast finish last time and if building on that run, he looks a big factor in this competitive handicap. MEGATRON will no doubt blitz the gates and land himself out in front, where he likes to be. He has a useful record over this course and distance, but does seem susceptible to run out of steam in the closing stages due to his aggressive racing style. Having dropped significantly in the ratings, he will also be partnered with a 10-pound claimer this time around and that could be the antidote for his weak finish. He has the visor removed and the blinkers fitted, which just about confirms the above and his followers can expect to see him attempt to steal the race from start to finish. ROMANTIC JOURNEY is starting to show signs of a big effort and his most encouraging recent attempts have been for this young claimer, who gets the nod for his services today. He is yet to win in 27 starts, but with his continued drop in the ratings that long maiden career could come to an abrupt halt soon and he looks likely to go close here, so must be considered a factor.
Race 4 – 14:50
Selections: 5 – 1 – 8 – 7 – 6
The feature of the evening looks a competitive affair and we have sided with GREEN LUCK to land this Class 2 event. He had excuses in that penultimate effort, when finishing just behind DOCTOR GEOFF and showed a good turn of foot in his latest effort, despite racing wide around the turn. He is three pounds better off with the latter on that penultimate run and on his solid course and distance record, looks the one to beat. For 2nd, DOCTOR GEOFF gets the nod. He looks the likeliest of challengers to the top selection, with this his third appearance at Happy Valley tonight and he will be looking to extend his unbeaten run at this course. He has a much better draw to negate this time, after drawing wide in his last start in Class 1 company. As mentioned above, he did beat GREEN LUCK last time they met, but is 3 pounds worse off at the weights and the latter did have excuses on that occasion. RIGHT CHOICE makes his course debut at Happy Valley tonight, but he brings with him an impressive record so far and he looks set to cruise through this Class. He has a decent recent record over the mile, so the slight increase in trip will be of little concern and if overcoming the 8 draw he should feature prominently. ENRICHMENT finished just over 3 lengths behind the top selection last time out, when having his first appearance at this course. He has been a consistent performer in this class and with the blinkers on today, he may just go on with his run and make his presence felt this time.
Race 5 – 15:20
Selections: 3 – 4 – 5 – 2 – 11
BEST SMILE looks to be the best bet on the card. He would’ve surprised many in his debut appearance, when showing plenty of speed and staying on late for a 1.5 length beating at long odds. Considering the race was run in a faster-than-average time, he would’ve come on a lot from that run and should have plenty of scope for improvement. A quick horse, he again showed plenty of speed in a recent barrier trial, leading by 4 lengths and Zac Purton will certainly be using gate 1 to his advantage here. He should be hard to catch. LOOK ERAS showed some improvement when dropping back into Class 4 company last time out, after featuring prominently against stronger. He finished just behind the top selection in that run, despite taking a bump at the start. The blinkers were replaced with a visor on that occasion and the same applies today. With the 2-pound claimer up, he should present a nice challenge late on. ZERO HEDGE showed improvement in his last start, when dropping into this company despite finding traffic through the 300m mark. He was fitted with the pacifiers then and that seems to have done the trick, finishing just over a length behind the winner. He drops a further two points in the merit ratings, for this return to the 1000m trip where he enjoys a solid record. Having notched up three of his four career wins in this class and with Moreira up from a good draw, he should be right there in the finish. EVERBRAVE enjoyed little luck in running in his last start, after that good penultimate win over the course and distance. He showed solid form prior to those two runs and with Domeyer retaining the ride, should be right there if finding a clearer passage this time.
Race 6 – 15:50
Selections: 7 – 11 – 2 – 1 – 8
A speedy affair awaits punters here, with the likely early pace coming from the two top selections – BULLISH BROTHER and VERY SWEET ORANGE. The widely drawn BULLISH BROTHER gets the nod for first, having shown consistent popularity in the betting markets of late and duly obliging with honest efforts in his last five starts. The son of Reward For Effort has been shedding condition, with his weight dropping from 1107lb to 1091lb since late March 2019. That has been complimenting his continued form and his second career win looks imminent. He has featured prominently in all six efforts over the course and distance and with his natural early speed, should have no real issues overcoming the draw. Moreira has opted for the mount, having ridden the second selection in both of his last two starts and that is the confidence we need to side with him this time. VERY SWEET ORANGE is a close second selection having shown solid improvement in his last two starts, with the blinkers being replaced for a visor. Both of those efforts came over the 1000m trip, when taking up the early running and staying on strongly in the latter stages. He gets the 3-pound claimer up today, for this slight step up in trip and from a useful draw he will be tough to pass in the finish. STRATHALLAN drops back into Class 4 company today, where he has notched up both of his two career wins so far. He has another wide draw to overcome, but having boxed on well under similar circumstances last time out he should be right there at the finish. Karis Teetan retains the ride. LADY FIRST put forward an encouraging effort last time out, as the betting had suggested he would. Things didn’t go his way either, having taken an early hold before finding traffic late on and he may have been the lone winner of the race had things gone his way. Purton retains the ride from another tough draw and he should go close.
Race 7 – 16:20
Selections: 2 – 3 – 4 – 8 – 10
CHEFANO made good improvement last time out, on stable debut. That run was over the course and distance and he managed to pull off a fourth-placed finish despite being squeezed at the start when dropping back into this class of opposition. The South African bred son of Silvano has a wide draw to overcome today, but that shouldn’t deter his followers as he likes to come from off the pace. With Purton retaining the ride and the cheekpieces fitted for this outing, we make him the value bet of the day and the one they all will have to beat. ARCADA is another contender who will have to overcome a wide draw today. He is in good consistent form and will relish the return to his favoured course and distance, after a useful effort at Sha Tin last time out. If repeating his penultimate run, he looks the main danger to the top selection and with Domeyer sticking with the ride, he must be included. SPLENDOUR AND GOLD hasn’t had much luck with draws, since dropping into this class of opposition. But that hasn’t slowed down is decent run of form, despite him failing to find a hassle-free run of late. He also has the tendency to take a hold if the pace isn’t genuine, so the slight drop in trip should suit him here and from gate 8 he will be looking to settle in the front half of the field. If finding a smoother passage this time around, he will be looking to employ his quick turn of foot and must be respected. ALL YOU KNOW finished just behind the top selection last time out over this course and distance. An eye-catching finish on that occasion when covering the final 400m in just 22.81 seconds, considering he found traffic in the closing 350m. He enjoys this course and distance and from gate 4 today, he looks set for another prominent finish.
Race 8 – 16:55
Selections: 4 – 3 – 6 – 7 – 9
The final race on the card is an intriguing event, where a Class 3 field of 12 runners go to post. JUMBO HAPPINESS looks the stand out here, having shown up well on his return from a nine-month lay-off last time out. He had plenty to do in the closing stages having taken a bump through the 400m, but managed to maintain his momentum and flash home late. That was over the 1000m and that 1.25 length beating could be turned into a winning margin this time around, over the extra furlong. He has picked up all three of his career wins over this course and distance and with Purton retaining the ride, he looks the likely winner. FORZE ANGEL has improved since having the blinkers removed three starts back. He finished 0.75 lengths behind the top selection last time out and looks set for another promising run if repeating that effort. The concern would be his modest record in six attempts over this trip, but with the 3-pound claimer retaining the ride he could just get the trip. FRUSTRATED has had a solid start to his career and wasn’t disgraced when stepping up to this trip last time out. The son of All Too Hard was forced three-wide around the turn and that may have been his undoing. He has an improved draw today and looks set for another encouraging run in this class of opposition. SMART LEADER is reunited with Moreira for this outing, having previously finished third on both occasions that they have been partnered together. Having finished just off them in his last few starts; he will be looking to take advantage of his useful gate 2 barrier draw today and should feature prominently in the finish.