Preview and form for the meeting at Happy Valley on Thursday night. Selections by Andrew Hawkins.
HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Thursday April 20, 2017)
RACE 1: #5 Audacity, #2 Telephatia, #8 Loyal Craftsman, #7 My Folks
RACE 2: #11 Gentlemen, #7 Danewin Express, #3 My Blessing, #4 Agiaal
RACE 3: #10 Packing Starcraft, #4 Nashashuk, 9 Showing Character, #8 Rainbow Fighter
RACE 4: #7 Best Step, #1 Mr Right, #3 Beauty Connection, #4 Fish N' Chips
RACE 5: #5 Great Joy, #12 Gentry, #2 Amazing Feeling, #1 Never Better
RACE 6: #7 Smart Declaration, #2 Wayfoong Vinnie, #1 Travel Comforts, #9 Happy Cooperation
RACE 7: #7 Numero Uno, #3 Diamond Master, #1 Moment Of Power, #4 All Great Friends
RACE 8: #7 Jade Fortune, #6 Hero Look, #10 Agree, #1 Fantastic Kaka
RACE 1: ABERDEEN HANDICAP
#5 Audacity improved out of sight with a step up to 1800m and the switch to Happy Valley last start. His pedigree suggests the 2200m will be right up his alley, as a son of Smadoun out of a Monsun mare, and he does have a good draw with Neil Callan aboard. He can break through. #2 Telephatia is the only course and distance winner in the race, having won two from seven at the Happy Valley 2200m. He has also placed three times to give him quite a stellar record in this scenario. He has run some strong races this season and shapes as a contender again. #8 Loyal Craftsman started favourite in a similar race three back but ran poorly after a wide trip. He can be forgiven for that effort and should be around the mark. #7 My Folks should relish this trip and does get a returning Joao Moreira aboard. He’s a chance.
RACE 2: KOWLOON BAY HANDICAP
#11 Gentlemen has now dropped well into Class 5 after looking capable of breaking through at the bottom of Class 4. The drop back to 1650m looks a plus and he did produce an OK run over 1200m at his one Happy Valley attempt. #7 Danewin Express is winless from 36 Hong Kong starts, although he has placed on nine occasions. His recent form suggests a win is near when the breaks fall his way, and Umberto Rispoli should enjoy a nice run on the seven-year-old from gate five. #3 My Blessing had an ideal run before breaking through two back and he was gallant last time out over the 1800m. Zac Purton returns to the saddle with a better draw and he should be fighting out the finish. #4 Agiaal is certain to have his admirers with Joao Moreira jumping back into the saddle but he is now three years out of the winners’ circle and may be worth opposing.
RACE 3: KOWLOON TSAI HANDICAP
#10 Packing Starcraft looked a very nice horse in the making after a strong debut at Happy Valley, but in five starts since at Sha Tin, he has been somewhat one-paced. The return to the city track means he is worth one more chance here. #4 Nashashuk finally broke through two back and ran a creditable race last time out from a wide gate. Joao Moreira gets the nod from a better gate and with a nice trail behind the speed, he should be hard to beat again. #9 Showing Character won two races over this course and distance in Class 5, but hasn’t been disgraced in two efforts up in class since. He will probably need to drop a few points if he is to win again but he could sneak into the placings. Hot Hot Pepper is in good form and is a chance, but instead, it might worth rolling the dice with #8 Rainbow Fighter instead. He is dropped nearly two classes from his peak at the start of last season and Dylan Mo’s claim gets him down to 111 pounds. He’s a must-include in exotics.
RACE 4: SIU SAI WAN HANDICAP
#7 Best Step has performed well twice over the Sha Tin 1000m, finishing fourth on both occasions. Last time out, he finished over five lengths from the winner Sight Leader, but the race looks a solid form guide and if he can transfer his form around a bend, he will be a leading player. #1 Mr Right has not missed the board in his last six runs in Class 4. Earlier this season, he turned his form around completely at his first start back down in grade to win over this course and distance. Expect something similar here. #3 Beauty Connection has been knocking on the door this season, but hasn’t quite converted it to a victory. He is likely to be around the mark but may be worth opposing on a win line. #4 Fish N' Chips is a tough, honest competitor who rarely runs a bad race in this grade. Dylan Mo takes 10 pounds off again and that seems to be a good move with this horse, so expect him to be in the mix.
RACE 5: TIN SAU HANDICAP
#5 Great Joy looks a horse with ratings points in hand after two very good runs at both tracks at the end of last year. He was off the scene for three months before returning with a good sixth over 1400m at Sha Tin. The step up in trip looks suitable now, especially with Joao Moreira now in the plate, and he should enjoy all favours from the inside gate. #12 Gentry has been steadily improving with more racing experience. His last run over this course and distance was strong enough behind Winaswewish, making up solid ground from back in the field, and a win looks near. #2 Amazing Feeling continues to disappoint despite hitting the board at seven of his eight runs this season – so much so, he has arguably attained the title of Hong Kong’s best maiden, at least of those to debut in the city. He just needs the pieces to fall into place, but it is proving difficult for him to break through. #1 Never Better is an honest conveyance and can find his way into the placings again with a good run from gate three.
RACE 6: KING'S PARK HANDICAP
#7 Smart Declaration is approaching another win with his rating below the mark of two wins last season. His last couple of runs have been good, including an effort over this course and distance behind Travel Comforts last time out. With an eight-pound turnaround in his favour, as well as meeting that day’s runner-up Wayfoong Vinnie three pounds better, it looks ripe for Smart Declaration to score. #2 Wayfoong Vinnie has finally found his groove in Hong Kong, having always looked a promising horse. He looks capable of working his way up into Class 2 in time and he should be hard to beat. #1 Travel Comforts rises six pounds in the weights after making most last time out. With Dylan Mo’s claim, he still only has to carry 118 pounds and speed can be a lethal attribute over this course and distance. Next best, #9 Happy Cooperation, who returns after nine months on the sidelines with leg issues. He has looked good in the mornings and although he will take improvement for the run, he could sneak into the placings at odds.
RACE 7: THE HONG KONG RUGBY UNION CUP
This race has changed complexion quite considerably with the scratching of both Generous Heart and Super Sprinter. The second of the standby starters to gain a start is #7 Numero Uno, a course and distance winner off a similar rating in June. He returns to Happy Valley after two poor runs at Sha Tin, and while he will need things to go his way, he does get Joao Moreira aboard. #3 Diamond Master is not the easiest horse to ride as he can get quite keen in his races, but he has a suitable rider in Brett Prebble aboard. The last 50 metres will be the test with him. #1 Moment Of Power is one-dimensional in that he needs to find the front to be a contender. He might find the front here but there looks a few other speed options so he is a risk. #4 All Great Friends got his rating well into Class 2 territory before he hit a brick wall in early 2015. He has not won since, but his first run in four months was OK last time out and he does finally draw a gate for the first time this season.
RACE 8: SO KON PO HANDICAP
#7 Jade Fortune flew home for second behind High Volatility last start. Zac Purton jumps aboard now and this looks his chance to get on the board. #6 Hero Look has been nothing but a disappointment since impressing on debut 18 months ago. However, he did show a glimpse of form last time out, running into third behind High Volatility. He will have to go back from a wide gate but should be coming home strongly late. #10 Agree also ran in that race, finishing fourth. He is nearing a mark where he should be able to break through, although he is yet to place after seven Hong Kong starts. Next best, #1 Fantastic Kaka, who finally returned to form last time out and looks set to enjoy a gun run from gate three.
Form for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's meeting at Happy Valley on on Thursday.
The eight race broadcast commences at 9.15pm AEST, 7.15pm HKST, on Sky Racing1 and Thoroughbred Central.
Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service, neurals, worksheet and customised form guide.