Luke Middlebrook, Hong Kong – After an action-packed day’s racing at Sha Tin on Sunday, racing returns to Happy Valley for a nine-race card on Wednesday.
The feature race on the night is the Class 3 Australian Turf Club Trophy over 1200m and it promises to be a cracker.
But let’s first take a quick recap of what went down at Sha Tin on Sunday: Beauty Generation tasted defeat for a second race in a row and is no longer the force to be reckoned with that he once was.
Three-year-old rising star Aethero rocketed to Hong Kong Sprint favouritism after a facile victory in the Jockey Club Sprint, though Hot King Prawn and Beat The Clock returned to the races with pass marks.
Exultant asserted his dominance as Hong Kong’s top stayer with a strong win in the Jockey Club Cup, with trainer Tony Cruz saying he has come back better this season.
On to Happy Valley
The first bet comes up in Race 3 with local jockey Keith Yeung aboard the Peter Ho-trained Precious Sweetie.
Precious Sweetie races third-up this week after two sound runs. After missing by a head on the line as favourite first-up, this selection was then ridden too conservatively from a wide draw second-up.
Steadied to 10th position in the running, Precious Sweetie was too far back in a slow run race, trailing by 6.25 lengths at the 400m before letting down strongly to check home into an eye-catching sixth place.
Drawn low in barrier 4 should see Yeung position his mount into a handy position, evidently seen at his prior two starts from conducive draws, where he will be within striking range in a race where the speed should suit.
The next bet comes up in Race 4 with jockey Silvestre De Sousa’s mount Dream Warriors in the Class 4 over 1650m, who can improve on a last-start ninth placing after winning impressively the start before.
Contrary to his win over 1800m two starts ago, he outpaced himself in his last start over the same distance, travelling around 14 lengths faster to the 800m and 8.5 lengths faster to the 400m while leading throughout.
Obviously going that much faster early meant he had nothing left in the tank over the concluding stages, so his finishing position makes sense for how the race was run.
Dream Warriors has been back to the trials and won his heat in strong fashion. De Sousa has been gifted barrier 3 which should see him find a forward position with ease where he gets every chance.
Luke Middlebrook’s selections:
R3 #1 1×2
R4 #4 1×2
Race 1: Bundle Of Energy cannot be ignored at Class 5 level. Can break through. Everyone’s Elite’s last run suggested a win was very near after an unlucky first try in the grade. Golden Cannon is an old timer who is racing in good form and can run well. Gold Velvet has ability and is always dangerous in this grade. Savannah Wind was well supported last start but failed. Can surprise.
Race 2: Junzi is fresh up from a break and should run well. Ran on well in recent trial and looks a good chance in an open race. Methane turned in a very nice debut run and looks to have good ability. This Nunchuks newcomer trialled okay and can run well. Watch the betting. Harmony N Home has the services of a top jockey today and must be respected, despite only a fair trial. Confucius Day’s last run was better than it reads. Do not dismiss.
Race 3: Amazing Star is returning from a break and the recent trial win was impressive. Precious Sweetie is racing consistently of late. Expect another big run. Zero Hedge had excuses last start when badly held up at a crucial stage in the race. Oriental Elite is a talented sprinter returning after a good recent trial. The Abraxas showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight of his potential.
Race 4: Dream Warriors’ last run was better than it reads. Do not dismiss. Starlit Knight is a dangerous frontrunner who can be hard to catch. Thou Shall Sing had genuine excuses last start when suffering interference, so forget the run. Dor Dor remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here. Speedy Wally is an old timer who is racing in good form and can run well.
Race 5: Casa De Forca’s last run suggested a win was very near. Should lead and prove hard to run down. Flame Lily is a model of consistency and looks a chance, but needs luck from the wide draw. Enjoy Life had a good run last start and must go close in this. City Legend looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form. Naboo Star has shown ability and gets his chance to win from a nice barrier draw.
Race 6: Hardly Swears is rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Perfect Glory has a chance based on past form in this class of race. Will go close. Joyful Union recorded a brilliant final 400m sectional time last run. Monkey Jewellery video replay showed last run was very good. Place claims. Beauty Spark showed improvement at a recent trial in blinkers.
Race 7: Yee Cheong Baby has shown ability and gets his chance to win here. Great run last start, on pace in a fast run race. Tornado Twist is capable of running a fast final 400m sectional time and if the race is run to suit his pattern, he could excel. Sunny Boy is well-placed and looks a chance in a race like this. Saul’s Special very well suited by the track and distance of this race. Moment Of Power is a dangerous frontrunner who can be hard to catch.
Race 8: Reliable Team had a good run last start at his first try over 1650m. Can bounce back to win at his second attempt. Cinquante Cinq is a handy type returning from a break and looks the other likely winner. Picken had genuine excuses last start and can improve in this race. Surrealism was eased early before catching the eye late. Universal Go Go is a nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks a chance.
Race 9: Lone Eagle shown good speed to lead last start and gave a good indication of ability. Should go close here. Aurora Pegasus one of several winning chances in an open race. Consider. Winning Method takes an important gear change with blinkers being added, so expect improvement. Happy Time is rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up. Shining Ace turned in a good run last start and must rated a good chance.