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Hong Kong (Happy Valley) preview

RACE 1 (2,200M)

4 PREMIUM CHAMPION drops to Class 5 for the first time. He has been very disappointing since winning at the top of Class 3 in October 2015, but recently there have been enough glimpses of form to suggest he is capable of returning to the winners' circle here. He is a thorough stayer and the jockey switch from Eddy Lai to Zac Purton is a big plus. This is his race to lose.

2 JE PENSE also drops to Class 5 for the first time. He has always been a questionable acquisition for Hong Kong, but if he is ever to win a race, it will be in the cellar grade. That said, the trip might be some query, but he does get Joao Moreira aboard and he will look a winning chance at some stage.

3 EASTERN PROWESS has performed well at his last two starts. He finally draws a good gate here and the trip should suit him, especially with a rider like Neil Callan engaged. He's a danger.

This might be the last hurrah for 11 STORM KID with mandatory retirement awaiting the popular galloper if he cannot win in the final five meetings. Last start, rider Kei Chiong made a tactical error by turning it into a sprint home, playing against her horse.

RACE 2 (1,650M)

1 GO GO WIN is a frustrating horse to follow, having finished in the top five at his last 12 starts without winning. His last effort was good though, sticking on for second after working hard early, and Matthew Poon's 10-pound claim might prove the difference here.

6 FORMULA GALORE is honest enough, racing well recently. He is likely to be around the mark again with even luck from gate 10 under Joao Moreira.

8 MY BLESSING has won three of his last five races. He may be getting to a place in the ratings where he struggles, but he does get the seven-pound claim of Jack Wong and so he still gets in fairly light.

5 GOAL FOR GOLD showed a hint of form last time out. With a nice run from gate three for Sam Clipperton, he might be able to sneak into the finish.

RACE 3 (1,650M)

1 TRENDY WIN has only raced in Class 4 once in the last three seasons. That was three starts back when he charged home for second. He gets the claim of Matthew Poon, which means he only carries 123 pounds, and with that sort of weight against this opposition, he will be very hard to beat.

4 SUNNY ORIENT is his own worst enemy, usually missing the start before closing off well. He has drawn well again but it will be some effort if Callan Murray is able to get the horse into a spot to take advantage of the gate. Still, he should be around the mark with even luck.

8 CLEVER SPIRIT stepped up to the mile for the first time ever at his 24th start last time out and produced a strong, albeit narrow, victory. He only goes up five points, so with Joao Moreira aboard from gate three, he is a danger again.

2 GOOD CHOICE gets Zac Purton back in the saddle now and he rates as a chance once more.

RACE 4 (1,200M)

1 GRACE HEART was a soft winner two back and ended up on the bottom end of a three-way photo finish last time out. Matthew Poon's 10-pound claim takes him back to 123 pounds and with that sort of weight against this company, he should be hard to beat.

4 PLANET STAR has been sent out favourite at his last two starts but has finished fourth on both occasions. He's putting it all together and at some point soon, it will culminate in a victory - it just depends whether it is this race. Still, he rates highly.

3 OTOUTO has turned his form around to finish third at his last two starts. He's another nearing a victory and he is worth including.

6 SIGHT SEEING was out the back last time out and simply never got into the race. This time around, expect Brett Prebble to have him closer to the speed; if so, he is an exotics player.

RACE 5 (1,200M)

3 FORTUNE BO BO has been restricted to 1000m, generally over the Sha Tin straight course, since two starts over the Happy Valley 1200m to start his career. He was just fair then, but he also looks a better horse now. With a soft run from gate five, he should be able to win again here.

5 PEACE N PROSPERITY has run well in his last two starts since a slight freshen-up. Gate two should give him every opportunity to get another win on the board.

11 GRACYDAD's last run should be forgiven completely after apprentice Matthew Poon's saddle shifted soon after the start. His prior form was good and he is dangerous with only 118 pounds on his back.

6 TOP ACT is an interesting galloper here. Trainer Tony Millard has already won with one G3 Ladies' Purse (1,800m) winner this week and he sends out 2015 winner Top Act over 1,200m, quite strange given the 36-start veteran hasn't run over as short a trip since his first three starts. However, he could be one who could sneak into the finish if he gets enough speed.

RACE 6 (1,650M)

4 PHOTON WILLIE has been fairly disappointing this season, but he has started to come around at his last two starts since dropping back into Class 3. He was a two-time winner over this course and distance off a similar mark early last season and with a nice run under Sam Clipperton from gate three, he can get into the finish.

5 DR LISTENING has his second run for David Hall here, and interestingly, the trainer has decided to step him up to the extended mile for the first time. The horse did fall in over 1,400m at Sha Tin last season, but he looks like he would be suited by the added trip now and so he's a legitimate threat.

3 JADE FORTUNE sprinted strongly to finally get his breakthrough victory last time out. Now that he's got that win on the board, there's every chance he can go back to back.

6 GRANITE BELT disappointed last time out after going to the line under a stranglehold two back. If he can run to the level he produced two starts ago, he can win here.

RACE 7 (1,650M)

11 SUPER CHIC showed a hint of form last time out for the first time since arriving in Hong Kong, charging into second down in Class 3. He's back up in Class 2 now, but the Italian Derby winner looks better suited to Happy Valley and can get over the top of these.

5 BIG BANG BONG is racing well with placings in his last three starts. He meets Time Warp 10 pounds better here, which gives him every chance. He's a major player.

3 TIME WARP had promised to do something like what he did last time out, when he led from gate to wire at such a strong tempo, he smashed the course record by four-tenths of a second. He is unlikely to get it as easy on the front this time, but perhaps the penny has dropped and he can head even higher.

9 CLASSIC EMPEROR won at Sha Tin last start in an incident-packed Class 3 race. He may have been lucky to score there, but he should be improved for the run, the step up in trip should suit as will the switch to Happy Valley, and he cannot be dismissed.

RACE 8 (1,200M)

8 TRAVEL DATUK is on the cusp of a victory, he just needs things to fall his way. Perhaps that will be here, with Umberto Rispoli jumping back aboard from a good gate. The return to Happy Valley is significant and this looks his chance to get that elusive victory on the board.

5 HEALTHY LUCK is yet to miss the top four in seven starts. There is a lot of speed in this race which might play against him, but if he can get a trail, then he is certainly a contender.

6 PRINCE HARMONY has won three straight races since switching to Happy Valley. He still looks to be doing it comfortably, and while it is very tough in Hong Kong to win four on end, he is capable.

3 GENERAL IRON has been just fair in five runs since returning from injury but he is now on the mark of a previous win and it wouldn't surprise to see him get into the placings.

 

 

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