The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s selections and race-by-race analysis for the meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday:
RACE 1: #2 Raichu, #10 Cour Valant, #1 Actuariat, #4 Perfect Choice
RACE 2: #7 Thou Shall Sing, #3 Gallant Return, #1 Very Rich Man, #2 Good Companion
RACE 3: #2 Gold Land, #5 Bellagio, #3 Heroic Guru, #7 Marvel Joy
RACE 4: #9 Love Chunghwa, #3 E Master, #4 Fantastic Fabio, #1 Have Fun Together
RACE 5: #10 Little Bird, #1 Handsome Bo Bo, #4 Jumbo Happiness, #2 Harrier Jet
RACE 6: #8 Planet Star, #9 Sichuan Boss, #3 Top Laurels, #1 Dragon Lips
RACE 7: #11 Blitzing, #2 Perfect Glory, #1 Lockheed, #12 Better Choice
RACE 8: #5 Mr Genuine, #8 Super Hoppy, #1 Fortune Booth, #2 Wishful Thinker
RACE 1: KAM SHAN HANDICAP
#2 Raichu rarely runs a poor race in this grade and just needs the breaks to fall his way. He should enjoy a lovely run in behind the speed, or further back if Neil Callan so desires, and he should be rattling home late. #10 Cour Valant has, incredibly, not won in four and a half years. He surely has a win in him at some point this season and, if he gets a race run to suit, he can fly home over the top. #1 Actuariat should enjoy the gun run just in behind the speed. He’s a leading player. #4 Perfect Choice can’t be dismissed either.
RACE 2: PLOVER COVE HANDICAP
#7 Thou Shall Sing hit the board at both runs either side of the off-season. He steps out for the first time in five weeks and he looks well-placed to finally break through with even luck. #3 Gallant Return steps out for the first time since May. Hopefully, this season, he gets the chance to prove his mettle beyond 1200m, but on his current rating he could easily break through. #1 Very Rich Man will jump out and lead. He will be in front for a long way. Likely to be tagging him is #2 Good Companion. He’s racing well and, second-up, he should run another strong race.
RACE 3: SHEK PIK HANDICAP
#2 Gold Land drops into Class 4 for the first time. On the whole, he’s been pretty disappointing during his time in Hong Kong, but a couple of his recent runs near the bottom of Class 3 have suggested he could win once he got down in grade. He should get a pace to suit and he can run home strongly late. #5 Bellagio will be one of the last runners for trainer Michael Freedman. He has been progressing the right way and the step up to 1650m around Happy Valley should be ideal. He can finish strongly. #3 Heroic Guru is quirky and temperamental, but he is talented on his day. The switch to a senior rider might prove a positive. #7 Marvel Joy can enjoy a nice run behind the speed and finish around the mark.
RACE 4: PLOVER COVE HANDICAP
#9 Love Chunghwa is drawn to enjoy every favour in the run and he continues to race well. He must be considered. #3 E Master was a big winner here two back from an awkward draw, while he ran another good race at Sha Tin last time out. He will probably have to go back from gate 11 but there’s no reason he can’t be flying home again. #4 Fantastic Fabio will be somewhere near the speed. He’s developed into quite the honest commodity and another good effort can be expected. #1 Have Fun Together is still yet to break through. It’s going to come at some point; perhaps his Happy Valley debut may bring out his best.
RACE 5: THE AMERICAN CLUB CHALLENGE CUP
#10 Little Bird has run well in two of three starts since a big win in June. He should bounce out and lead here and he should be tough to run down. #1 Handsome Bo Bo is likely to push across and sit to his outside. He’s found it tough to break through at the top of Class 3 but he’s likely to run well again. #4 Jumbo Happiness gets blinkers off here. It will be interesting to see how he responds, especially if they do go quickly mid-race. He’s got the talent to win off his current mark, though. #2 Harrier Jet is always a chance in these races.
RACE 6: TAI LAM CHUNG HANDICAP
#8 Planet Star has impressed with his consistency at this course and distance at his last five starts, with one win and three seconds. He should enjoy an ideal run on or near the speed here from his good gate and he’s going to be hard to run down again. #9 Sichuan Boss should be in a similar spot, coming off a last-start win down in grade. Victor Wong’s claim takes him down to only 111 pounds and that makes him a threat. #3 Top Laurels ran well fresh and he only needs to run to that level again to finish somewhere around the mark. Don’t be surprised to see major improvement from #1 Dragon Lips after a Conghua stint.
RACE 7: TAI TAM HANDICAP
#11 Blitzing had always shown hints of talent but he has really gone to another level at his last two starts. He now tackles Class 3 for the first time, but he has no weight on his back and he deserves his opportunity against these horses. He will be hard to beat. #2 Perfect Glory won nicely on debut and then almost made it two from two last time out. There’s no reason to think he won’t be around the mark again. #1 Lockheed showed good speed in a recent trial and kept on strongly. He’s at a mark where he can win. #12 Better Choice is not far off a return to Class 4, but his last run suggested that he could be competitive in this grade with the right run.
RACE 8: HIGH ISLAND HANDICAP
#5 Mr Genuine didn’t have the best of luck fresh but still ran well enough. If Callan Murray can give him a ground-saving run through the field from gate two, he can sprint through sharply late. #8 Super Hoppy had put together three wins in a row before a last-start fifth, rattling home from last. He should enjoy a far softer run here and he is right in contention. #1 Fortune Booth has to contend with an awkard draw but should be suited back to Happy Valley. He didn’t have the clearest run last time out, but the Valley does play to his strengths. #2 Wishful Thinker creates interest at his Happy Valley debut.
R1 – 2-1-9-5
R2 – 7-8-6-3
R3 – 10-7-5-8
R4 – 11-3-5-1
R5 – 6-5-10-2
R6 – 8-12-3-7
R7 – 8-11-2-1
R8 – 8-11-2-5
Best – R2 n7 Thou Shall Sing
Longshot – R4 n11 Speedy Dragon
Best Play – R4 Win/Place n11
Best: R6 N8 Planet Star
Long: R8 N7 Cheerful Jet
Play: R6 QQP 4 8 12
Andrew le Jeune
Best: R7 N2 Perfect Glory
Long: R6 N2 Tangmere
Play: Q/QP R7 2-6-11