International Week at Hong Kong begins this Wednesday night at Happy Valley for a nine race program, headlined of course by the International Jockey Challenge, bringing together a world class group of riders.
Race 1. (21:30) Australia Hcp (c5) 1650m
Think the rise to 1650m is ideal for 1 Roman Impero (Bet Now: $4.50). Ran over 1200m here three weeks ago where he was off the speed before peeling wider and though a bit one paced, he was good late when a closing third. Racing like the mile will be ideal and gets a significant jockey upgrade with Barzalona booked to ride. He can stand over him and lift him over the line.
6 Baby Storm (Bet Now: $5.00) is finding it hard to win one but does get the Moreira factor. Placed at this track/distance last time out and I thought was given a perfect ride from barrier one. Was there to win the race but couldn’t quite finish it off and had to settle for a third. Will be interesting to see what Moreira does from the wide gate.
11 Fairy Floss (Bet Now: $15.00) hasn’t been too far away of late. He’ll put himself near the speed and try hard. Ran fifth in the race mentioned above that baby Storm ran third in. He was on speed throughout and gave a solid kick under Leung. Just didn’t have the finish in him but was sound in running fifth. Doubt he wins but can fill a first four spot.
Race 2. (22:00) Brazil Hcp (c5) 1200m
1 Noble Desire (Bet Now: $4.60) appears one of the better gambles on the program. Douglas Whyte trained gelding that is yet to place in twelve starts, but gets his first look in a Class 5 and really, his last start effort was outstanding. Got badly checked by the broken down horse. Picked up and surged hard late to run fifth and clocked the best L400m of the race by 1.5L. If Teetan can hold up from gate one, think he only runs well and IMO he’ll just about win.
5 Speedy Optimist (Bet Now: $2.70) looks one of the hardest to beat. Has Purton to steer from a plum draw. That’s the set up he had last time out and I thought he had every chance when third to Chungwa Jingshen. That was his second run at 1000m for the prep, so perhaps a rise to 1200m will suit. If he ends up being short in betting, I couldn’t entertain. $4+ I’d want before entertaining.
10 One Step Ahead (Bet Now: $16.00) looks to be going well. Ran over this track/distance last time out where he was tucked in behind the speed but Chadwick couldn’t really get a chance to build the revs. Got clear late and was good to the line and through it. Gets Hollie Doyle to steer and with the rub of the green, a win wouldn’t totally shock.
Race 3. (22:30) France Hcp (c4) 1650m
His racing pattern is ugly, but if Moreira can use the inside gate aboard 5 Incanto Prepared (Bet Now: $3.20), I do think he’s the one to beat. He was very good in defeat last time out. Had to make a long sustained run from the back right around the field. Looked the winner 200m out but his condition just gave out late and Fast Pace was too strong. If the gate is used, he turns the tables.
If you look at that race mentioned above on face value, then 4 Fast Pace (Bet Now: $4.50) was simply too good for Incanto Prepared. But, he didn’t have to make a sustained run like the runner up did. Still, he was strong to the line and held the runner up comfortably. With that in mind, has to be hard to beat once again.
Been a little while since 3 Charity Wings (Bet Now: $7.50) has drawn a soft gate, and with that here, I think he can run a positive race at odds. Settled near the back last time out before making a mid race move to get on speed and he did try hard. That mid race burn just found him out late. Should get a soft run from the gate and be strong at the end.
Race 4. (23:10) Longines Intl Jockey C'ship-c4 1000m
Tricky race to kick off the Jockey Challenge. Just landed with 12 Oversubscribed (Bet Now: $7.00) for David Hall with Karis Teetan to steer. Resumed at this track/distance where he got a soft run nearer the inside, followed through on the fence and found the line pretty well when third to Wild West Wing. Gets the jockey upgrade, upside, soft draw, hard to beat.
2 Jazz Steed (Bet Now: $4.80) is bursting to win another race. He ran over 1200m here two weeks ago when back off the speed before peeling wider and under Jerry Chau, he looked the winner 200m out, but he was bloused late nearer the inside by Moreira aboard Ambitious Heart. Boudot is a fab booking for this guy and the fast run 1000m set up I do like.
A big improver here is clearly 5 Packing Champion (Bet Now: $10.00). He debuted in the Wild West Wing race mentioned above off the back of some encouraging trial work. He got back from the wide gate and was never really a winning threat but was good to the line. Think the booking of Ryan Moore is a big tick and if he can hold a forward spot from the gate, he’ll prove a leading chance.
Race 5. (23:40) Longines Intl Jockey C'ship-c4 1650m
I’m with 4 Play Wise (Bet Now: $4.80) for Ryan Moore. Ran over this track/distance two weeks ago and I thought was a little unlucky not to win the race. Jerry Chau just couldn’t get clear air at the right time aboard this gelding and couldn’t get a chance to build proper momentum. His run had plenty of merit to it I thought when second. Better luck here, think he only runs well.
5 Fearless Fire (Bet Now: $7.50) should get a lovely run from the draw. He ran over this track/distance last time out at the same meeting as Play Wise. Fearless Fire ran third in his, beaten a few lengths but far from disgraced in defeat. Should land a perfect sit just off the speed from gate one and Purton has a good record on him.
9 Thunder Stomp (Bet Now: $21.00) does save his best for this track/distance. He is eight years of age but is still racing with a good amount of zest. Ran fifth in the race Fearless Fire ran third in. He was near the speed throughout and battled away well, but did have his chance. Gets the jockey upgrade, lands near the front again and will give a sight.
Race 6. (00:10) Mauritius Hcp (c4) 1200m
Leaning the way of 2 Here Comes Ted (Bet Now: $5.00). Four weeks between runs since racing at this track/distance where he got back in the run before peeling wide on the turn. Took a while to wind up but was really good late when third to Colonel. If he’s within range on the turn, think he’ll take some beating against these.
7 Inno Legend (Bet Now: $3.40) is working up to a win. Has finished runner up his past two, the latest coming three weeks back at this track/distance where he had a beaut spot in the run just off the leaders. Presented to win but couldn’t quite finish it off and had to settle for a second to Super Red Dragon. Purton sticks and draws soft again.
9 Wood On Fire (Bet Now: $7.00) is the knockout chance. He was dragged back from the wide gate to find the fence last start, saved ground by hugging the rail and I thought was pretty good late behind Rewarding Together. Not sure I could back him to win this given he’s racing like he wants a mile, but will be strong late.
Race 7. (00:40) Longines Intl Jockey C'ship-c3 1650m
Tough race to sort out this one but I have it down to two. Landed with 9 Hall Of Champ (Bet Now: $8.00). Was a big win from him at Sha Tin over 1400m last start. Was tucked in behind the speed before trying to get clear and when he tried, he got badly checked. Jerry Chau had to cut back to the inside and the horse balanced up, surged hard late and got the win. Off that win, eats up the mile here and has more upside than most.
1 Real Bizzy (Bet Now: $3.80) looks one of the hardest to beat. Ran over this track/distance four weeks ago where he was parked behind the speed before angling clear at the top of the straight. Took forever to wind up but once he did, he really attacked the line, just missing out on the win, but wins in another stride. Love the booking of Boudot and does no work from the gate.
5 Lightning Steed (Bet Now: $7.50) is racing in a real purple patch at the moment for the Fownes camp. Hasn’t raced for nearly two months since attempting to lead throughout at this track/distance. Led, had control, tried hard, but couldn’t quite finish it off. Has been given a little freshen up and the tick over trial was good to the eye.
Race 8. (01:10) Longines Intl Jockey C'ship-c3 1200m
Good test for 12 Harmony N Blessed (Bet Now: $2.25), but he looks above average for David Hayes. Magnus four year old that made his debut over 1200m at Sha Tin. Led throughout under Blake Shinn and he bolted up, running good time as well in doing so. Harder here, but is right down in the weights, has the right racing pattern and gets Hollie Doyle steering.
2 Grateful Heart (Bet Now: $3.80) will look the winner for a long way. Rated beautifully in front by Purton when racing at this track/distance last time out and the ride no doubt won the race for the son of Written Tycoon. Interesting to see what Ryan Moore does from the gate, whether he holds up or opts for cover. Whatever the case, hard to beat.
11 Lucky Quality (Bet Now: $8.50) is an improving type. Lovely ride from Chad Schofield saw him win at this track/distance on the Sunday meeting. Got into a good spot from the wide gate before getting clear and finishing off his race strongly to score his first win. Harder here, but he’s heading in the right direction.
Race 9. (01:50) United Kingdom Hcp (c2) 1800m
I’d love to get near double figures for 10 Packing Waltham (Bet Now: $8.50). No odds out at the time of writing this preview, but hopefully he is around that price. He’s an improving four year old for Tony Cruz that could be an up and comer towards the Derby. Two runs in Hong Kong have been very good, the latest being over 1800m at Sha Tin when back near last in the run before peeling widest and finishing off with real purpose, clocking some of the best late splits of the race. If he can use gate one, it’ll take a good one to beat him I’d suggest.
1 Butterfield (Bet Now: $7.00) should appreciate the rise back up to 1800m. Far from disgraced two back in the Ladies Purse behind Furore before coming back to the mile here where he was a bit flat footed when the sprint went on but picked up and was good late when fourth. Gets back up to 1800m now and should prove hard to beat late.
11 Maximus (Bet Now: $4.80) is another that has eyes towards the Derby. Made his Hong Kong debut over 1400m at Sha Tin. He was a bit one paced when asked to go, but stayed on and was sound in defeat. Clocked the fourth best L400m of the race, so that was an encouraging sign for a horse better suited over further. Keen to see how he goes.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Two Number 1 Noble Desire
NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 5 Incanto Prepared
LONG SHOT: Race Nine Number 10 Packing Waltham
INTERNATIONAL JOCKEY CHALLENGE: Ryan Moore
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 2, 7, 9, 12
Leg Two: 1, 9
Leg Three: 2, 4, 11, 12
Leg Four: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11
$50 Investment = 31.25% of the dividend if successful
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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