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Xavier analyses tonight’s Hong Kong meet at Happy Valley and gives us his race by race preview and top selections.

Race 1 – YUE MAN HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1200m

Rating 40-10

Tough race to kick us off here tonight but I’m willing to have a go at Jolly Bird (1) each way as he finds himself down in grade after struggling against the class fours in recent times. His latest run behind Destiny’s Child was a marked improvement on his previous runs where he wasn’t too far from the winner after having a little support in the betting ring. He will enjoy this drop in class but does have a wide gate to contend with. Splendid Sails (3) has been well in the market in recent times on the Sha Tin circuit and All Weather track where he has been close up behind Single Malt and Gallant Hussar. He gets Douglas Whyte tonight but he too has a wide gate to overcome. Mount Surplus (5) has been terribly unlucky in recent runs where he has been trapped wide and never given a chance. He has drawn ideally here tonight and should put himself into a winning position on the turn. Next best is Daylight Express (6) who has placed over this course and distance in the past and his form hasn’t been too bad leading into this race with not a lot of talent. Don’t leave him out of your multiples.

Selections:

1-3-5-6

Race 2 – TSUN YIP HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1200m

Rating 60-40

Master Rio (3) looks the goods here if you are willing to overlook his latest effort where he had the run of the race and failed to finish it off. He’s had three weeks off leading into this and his form before his latest failure was inspiring including straight placings on this circuit behind Topping Light and Lucky Amore. From gate four he looks hard to hold out. Engineering Wonder (1) is a 10 year old who still has plenty of life in him and will certainly enjoy this drop in grade after racing against a couple of handy performers. He placed behind Norman Invader late last year then was just outside the placings over the shorter course where he drew wide both times. He is a nine time winner in these conditions and with Douglas Whyte on board he is sure to find the frame tonight. Sunshine Boy (4) was a black booker after his latest effort when he closed well on the inside behind Fast Go. If he can find a nice trail he looks a nice each way chance. I was really hoping Red Ruler (5) would have a crack at the mile races here at Happy Valley but he is instead in a sprint again where he has been making good headway late in his races. With a poor draw yet again I can only have him on the place line.

Selections:

3-1-4-5

Race 3 – SHING YIP HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1200m

Rating 65-40

Achilles Of Troy (2) has been getting down in the ratings for some time now but has also been very disappointing in recent runs. I have been tipping him in much higher class where he has failed to deliver but judging by a recent trial he looks to be coming back to some form and should find the line well in this weaker grade. Fast Go (11) had a soft trip and won easily last start over this course and distance and this race looks to be no harder so he has to be rated highly from a good gate once again. Flying China (4) is yet to find the frame in eight mainland runs as he simply gets too far back in his races. He has been stretched out to the mile recently and once again ran on well but with a hot pace here he can finish over the top of them over the 1200m trip. Natural Flame (3) couldn’t have drawn worse but has handy form lines through the likes of last start winner Nugget Warrior, Vaugirard and Brave Kid. With any luck he can fill a placing.

Selections:

2-11-4-3

Race 4 – WAI YIP HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 60-40

No reason why Implied Volatility (4) won’t win again as his win here last week was very strong where he peeled out at the top of the straight and won with authority by two and a half lengths. He is drawn even better here tonight and should be able to deal with his rise in weight. Kowloon Pride (8) is proving to be a bit costly for punters as he is finding it hard to win after starting favourite in nearly all his starts to date. His maiden win doesn’t look to be far away and he has drawn well here which should see him in the frame once again. The Witch’s Broom (2) has enjoyed racing in class four at his past couple of runs where he improved into the placings two runs back behind Absolute Hedge then didn’t fire from a wide gate. He drops nicely in weight with the ten pound claim and should be in the thick of things at the business end. Spicy Fruity (12) looks the pace in the race and led for a long way last start when he was collared late by Implied Volatility. From ideal draw he looks a top each way hope and a must for the multiples.

Selections:

4-8-2-12

Race 5 – HUNG TO HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1650m

Rating 80-60

Fancy one at odds here with Gallant Gallop (11) who has run into some handy horses on the Sha Tin circuit as his first two runs in Hong Kong, they being Moonwalk and A Walk In The Park. He ran on well at his debut for fifth then was caught wide but still toughed it out well do be beaten just over three lengths. He steps up to the mile here which is right up his alley as he steps out onto Happy Valley for the first time in his career. O’Reilly Magic (6) is coming along nicely this season and won convincingly last start in a slightly weaker race defeating Moon Chaser when coming from just off the pace and proving too strong. From gate four, Gerard Mosse should put him into the race at the right time. Winning Reward (2) ran on well behind Yue Lu Treasure over this course and distance last start in a good form reference for a race of this nature. From gate one and with leading jockey engaged he looks hard to toss. Super Genki (7) is a get back run on galloper managed to place last start when coming from well back. I have a feeling he may get too far back again but with the likely hot speed on up front he is sure to be the strongest at the wire.

Selections:

11-6-2-7

Race 6 – MUT WAH HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1800m

Rating 80-60

Everything points to Strawberry (3) being the one to beat here after straight wins on this course followed by a drop in distance last start when he wasn’t fully disgraced. He has drawn wide in this affair but the pace is coming from outside of him from Vilasol (8) in which he should slide across with him and hopefully find a nice run towards the lead. With all going to plan, he should be winning over the 1800m in which he has started twice for a win and a second. In saying Vilasol (8) should come across from out wide and find the top he has to be regarded as a place chance although he does meet Strawberry a little worst at the weights from when the last met earlier this year. Clement Elite (4) is untried at this trip but has been rattling home over the mile giving the indication it will suit while Man In The Mirror (5) has to be respected at this level as he is never far away.

Selections:

3-8-4-5

Race 7 – HOI YUEN HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1200m

Rating 80-60

Always Something (1) has only been out of a placing once in seven career starts and is clearly the best horse in this race tonight. He hasn’t started since early December where he placed behind Algarve on the Sha Tin circuit and he steps out tonight over 1200m where he has won twice from three attempts. He has his work cut out from the extreme draw but has the class to overcome it. New King Prawn (8) wasn’t far away on debut behind last start winner Soviet Pearl and then placed behind Good Strike here in a similar race. Forgive his flop two runs back and he made good late ground last start. He will have to go back form his draw but is sure to be charging home. Loyal Army (3) was shooting for three in a row before he failed from a wide gate when he had to work too hard to find the top. He looks a safe bet to find the frame again here tonight. Team Work (5) found a suitable race last start and saluted in grand style. The form has stacked up well with second horse Nugget Warrior coming out to win narrowly last week. From a middle draw he is sure to be competitive.

Selections:

1-8-3-5

Race 8 – HIP WO HANDICAP

Turf ,”B” Course ,1000m

Rating 105-80

Sticking with Island Super (9) here who has found the frame twice in recent runs when coming from off the speed to place behind Norman Invader and Perfect Style. He has only had one crack at the 1000m for a second placing and from gate two he looks nicely placed. Watch What Happens (6) put in an unbelievable performance last start when he tackled the 1200m, dropping back from the mile when he jumped straight to the front and led by a huge space when just being run down late by Royal Pericles on the All Weather Track. If he goes forward again and manages to settle he is a huge threat. Kildare (2) has been racing against much better opposition recently and from gate three here tonight with a massive drop in grade he looks well placed to improve on his numerical form. A sneaky chance is St Fevre (10) who is first up tonight after over a year off the scene in which he has trialled impressively for his return which is just his second start here in Hong Kong.

Selections:

9-6-2-10

Written By Xavier Blair

 
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