Davis Files : Race Review of Happy Valley - 24th June 2020

Brett Davis provides exclusive review of Happy Valley races.

VICTORIAM winning the Magazine Gap Hcp.
VICTORIAM winning the Magazine Gap Hcp. Picture: HKJC

RACE 1 - VIOLET HILL HANDICAP, HK $967,000

Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.35     Standard Time: 1:10.10   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: CHIKORITA (AUS 4yo g Hinchinbrook – Bridie Belle) won two from nine starts in Queensland, Australia for Bryan and Daniel Guy, both at 1200m, though he was winless in Hong Kong in six starts for Michael Chang. That aside he did kick off in tough Class 3 races and tackled Class 4 for the first time on June 7, so the ease in grade was going to tell at some point. Gun ride from Aussie jockey Blake Shinn, not in the picture and fourth-from-last on the fence just before the corner and quickly into mid-pack and making his run off the bend. Showed a nice turn of speed to pick these up and make it late. Dam Bridie Belle was a Group 2 winner in New Zealand for Chris and Colleen Wood.

Runner-up: SELL MY SOLE was well-backed to win this and he nearly came up trumps second up in his career. A debut run at Sha Tin on May 24 was a touch disappointing, but he lifted nicely tonight for John Size. Trailing and into the lead off the corner he had the rest comfortably beaten until the winner arrived late. By Jimmy Choux he may be a better horse 1400m-1600m.

Run Of The Race: Gun run and gun ride so both horse and jockey share the spoils here, CHIKORITA and Blake Shinn a great combination. Punters not so thrilled, 45/1 odds suggests no support.

Disappointment: Not disappointing but in the end HARRIER JET just got too far off them from a wide draw under topweight and his task just too tough. Made good ground without threat. Ran 22.28 final 400m, only CHIKORITA better.

Comparison: Well under standard, track seemed absolutely perfect first time around for the night.

Market Mover: SKY TREASURE $31.70 to $19.50, WINNING WAYS $20.80 to $13.90

Fined: C Y Ho (KING'S RACE) $7500 for marking his ride

RACE 2 - VIOLET HILL HANDICAP, HK $967,000

Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:10.01     Standard Time: 1:10.10   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: BULLISH BROTHER (AUS 4yo g Reward For Effort – Stream Royale) used an inside gate to win again, as he did two starts back when he drew gate one at Happy Valley on May 20. Win three from start 23 for Tony Cruz and win 60 for the season for successful rider Vincent Ho who has been at his top this term, a Group 1 win coming his way among many others. As expected, the rail was the place to be given the way the track played in the first event and suited the winner who generally runs in the first few. He'll remain in Class 4 and might pinch another before season's end.

Runner-up: SPRINT FORWARD had his chance to win, took command and beautifully rated by Vagner Borges in standard time only so he was given every opportunity on a quick track. Weight seems to be his issue just now, has lacked that real competitive edge near the top of the handicap.

Run Of The Race: FEARLESS FIRE was very well backed to win this and his performance a strong one being wide in midfield and having to make his way into the race when the pressure went on. Big mentions to MELBOURNE HALL and AUTHENTIC CHAMP who scooted home wide out in quick sectionals from impossible positions at the tail of the field.

Disappointment: WINNING FEELING, aka 'Wrecking Crew' in Australia as a winner in South Australia, got a good trip on the speed but did not run it out with 133lb. He was third-up off a spell and should have bene a bit harper here despite the weight. He has won with 133lb in this class before.

Comparison: Slow in comparison to the opening event and the track was upgraded from 'Good' to 'Good To Firm'.

Market Mover: BULLISH BROTHER $6.30 to $4.30, FEARLESS FIRE $11.10 to $7.00, SPRINT FORWARD $4.90 to $3.90

RACE 3 - WONG NAI CHUNG GAP HANDICAP, HK $967,000

Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:39.19     Standard Time: 1:40.45  Course/Class Record: 1:38.83

Winner: SMILING CITY (AUS 4yo g So You Think – Laylia) grabs win one in Hong Kong after 12 starts, six of those on the all-weather track and at distances ranging from 1200m to 1800m so he's had a lot different scenarios thrown at him to date. A strong pace seemed to really suit him tonight, getting back with 132lb from a wider draw and work to do, but his sustained finish far too powerful for a tiring leading bunch. This horse won two from eight for the Hayes-Dabernig stable and exported after a May 2019 victory in Sydney. A horse given a tough initiation arriving in Class 3, he looks a decent 1600m to 2000m horse if he continues this improvement for Douglas Whyte.

Runner-up: STARLIT KNIGHT was heavily favoured the tote and looked the winner off the corner after easily mastering the leader and scooting away. He had to bow to the thundering hooves of the winner however kicked back well as he'd set that strong speed out in front with FOCUS.

Run Of The Race: Can't go past SMILING CITY he did make up many lengths and won the race under a hold in the end. He runs 22.66 his final 400m – next-best in the race LASTING FRIENDSHIP from the rear in 23.37.

Disappointment: FOCUS set the pace and quickly folded when headed, far from his best form. He's been a consistent horse and maybe his season is over and he looks for a spell? Will bounce back next season.

Comparison: Not far from class record speed and you knew they were tramping here, the winner able to get well back and pounce on those who'd spent their petrol early.

Market Mover: SMILING CITY $18.60 to $13.10 KING DRAGON $6.30 to $4.50,  PLAY WISE $10.40 to $7.50, STARLIT KNIGHT $15.40 to $6.00

Fined & Suspended: Chad Schofield (THE SHOW) $50,000 and July 1 race meeting for careless riding at winning post the first time

RACE 4 - WONG NAI CHUNG GAP HANDICAP, HK $967,000

Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:40.10     Standard Time: 1:40.45   Course/Class Record: 1:38.83

Winner: DAILY BEAUTY (AUS 4yo g All American – Mixed Emotions) is another to have taken a few starts to find his feet in Hong Kong. He arrived unraced from Australia after four trials for Jason Warren after being bought as a $25,000 yearling. The key tonight looked the good strong speed and the rise to 1650m on the turf track having been only tried at 1200m and 1400m on turf to date. Midfield and up to pounce on them coming to the corner. Trainer Casper Fownes has unlocked this horse, he's a middle-distance type despite the dam being a daughter of star sprinter Testa Rossa.

Runner-up: UNIVERSAL GO GO kicked off the season in Class 3 and he is finishing it strongly in Class 4 certainly an easier option for him these days. He's a Happy Valley specialist, two wins and now nine placings all secured on this track. Very solid late dab, he wound up really late and missed in a nose for nose decision. Some way off a return to Class 3 yet and he's going to be a good earner in the new term in this grade.

Run Of The Race: INCANTO PREPARED a really nice run from the rear, in fact he gave them a huge start at the 400m in a rear bunch of three and could not win (home in a quick 22.83 versus the field). In sizzling home strongly and having already shown promise for John Size, this horse is going to be a real performer in the Class 4 grade, even Class 3.

Disappointment: ALL FOR ST PAULS got the front and had his own terms, punters having backed him $13.00 to $6.00 so they liked him a lot. Gone in a stride after turning for home and very disappointing.

Comparison: Steady pace just under standard, they had sorted themselves out quite early in this one.

Market Mover: ALL FOR ST PAULS $13.00 to $6.10, GO BALLISTIC $14.00 to $8.50

Fined: Karis Teetan (GO BALLISTIC) $5000 for dropping his whip

RACE 5 - SHOUSON HILLHANDICAP, HK $967,000

Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good TF

Time: 0:56.97     Standard Time: 0:57.15   Course/Class Record: 0:56.39

Winner: JAZZ STEED (AUS 4yo g Exceed And Excel – Emotional Circus) is another nice horse on the way up for Casper Fownes and he breaks his maiden so nicely tonight after giving his best hint of form when second here on June 3. We did note he was an expensive horse, $420,000 through the Inglis Sale in 2017 and on-sold for $HK 5.5 million at the Hong Kong International Sale in 2019. Still some ground to make up, but he's on the right foot now. Impressive burst off a midfield sit wide and really won going away from them. He'll win up the straight at Sha Tin next season.

Runner-up: ARDENODE shows his French form for the first time in Hong Kong, a disappointing 15-start streak without placings now ended. He'd won two over 1000m at Maisons-Laffitte in 2017 and did run in Class 3 upon arrival, of late showing more dash in Class 4. Big effort to sit back and swoop wide here.

Run Of The Race: JAZZ STEED so confidently ridden and so good in winning, but do take notes around the big finishes of ARDENODE and STOCK LEGEND also. Interestingly, the back runners were able to launch off the corner and get those who had worked harder early in the race.

Disappointment: It seemed the 133lb blunted WE THE SOUTH. Usually a leader and hard to catch he seemed to find a comfortable spot holding the rail in front but lacked that kick tonight under the big weight, the winner getting 14lb pull in the weights. WILD WEST WING and EVERBRAVE both met trouble in the straight.

Comparison: Under standard without it being a really flying 1000m sprint. A little surprising the leading bunch were not kicking on a touch better.

Market Mover: NEXTMODEL $10.40 to $5.60

Fined & Suspended: Antoine Hamelin (SUNNY AND GOLD) $30,000 and July 15 race meeting for careless riding passing 650m mark. Vagner Borges (WE THE SOUTH) $27,500 and July 12 race meeting for careless riding at the 50m mark.

RACE 6 - MOUNT GOUGH HANDICAP, HK $1,450,000

Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:08.72    Standard Time: 1:09.85   Course/Class Record: 1:08.68

Winner: HIGHLAND FORTUNE (USA 4yo g Declaration Of War – Pan Dulce) put the writing on the wall when Purton jumped aboard and won the horse on June 3 and he would rise even further this time in beating a pretty smart horse in SKY DARCI. He is literally settling in having arrived 12 months ago and went unraced between July 2019 and March 2020. The benefits of that spell are now being realised. He had to be decent to win again, three-deep on speed and 0.04 of a second outside record pace. Francis Lui can stretch him to 1400m, this horse did win his 2yo maiden in Ireland over that distance.

Runner-up: SKY DARCI had to burn along to hold his forward position and what  brave run it was to keep kicking and kicking as others were breathless turning for home. He'd run 1:09.54 to win on June 10 so a big step forward into Class 3 and run eight-tenths quicker. Very promising horse by Darci Brahma.

Run Of The Race: Dead-heat the top two, they both worked hard and neither gave in trying. Blitzed the rest of the field by a big margin.

Disappointment: Nothing notable.  

Comparison: Very quick race and plenty wanted to be in on the action early – they just weren't there at the end.

Market Mover: HIGHLAND FORTUNE $8.60 to $7.50, SKY DARCI $1.70 to $1.50

RACE 7 - MOUNT CAMERON HANDICAP, HK $2,100,000

Class 2 – Rating 100-80 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:39.02     Standard Time: 1:39.85   Course/Class Record: 1:38.58

Winner: STAR SHINE (AUS 6yo g Magic Albert – Kvarena) was great, ridden an absolute treat by Zac Purton who was a late replacement for Vincent Ho who bowed out ill earlier after an early winning ride. Purton's ride was incredibly good, saving ground all the way, so cool when decision time came. He picked an inside run when you'd expect an outward move off the corner. No duffer this horse, that's win four from start 19 for Francis Lui who interestingly took the horse to Happy Valley for the first time tonight, all his prior racing at Sha Tin. Aussie record was very good, seven starts, three wins and four placings for David Pfieffer when known as 'Kalvena'.

Runner-up: MAGNIFICENT ran really well, he loves to lead or share the pace and off the clock his performance a very strong one. He generally cops his share of weight in Class 3 and will be for a while yet unless he wins again and slips into Class 2. That would suit him dropping a dozen pounds off his back.

Run Of The Race: STAR SHINE terrific though the ride was just so good, Purton helped this horse so much. INSHAYSHABLE darted home nicely wide from back of middle and made up plenty of ground to run third. This pair home in race-best final 400m sections in 22.50 and 22.62 respectively.

Disappointment: KINGS SHIELD led and really did get his own way so to weaken and run last was very disappointing. TIME TO CELEBRATE was also below par folding in the run home also from a handy sit after using barrier one. SOLAR WAI WAI was strongly fancied in the market but got left three-wide on the pace and that effort told.

Comparison: Again, eight-tenths under standard so very solidly run.

Market Mover: KINGS SHIELD $10.50 to $5.40, SOLAR WAI WAI $11.30 to $6.60

RACE 8 - MOUNT NICHOLSON HANDICAP, HK $1,450,000

Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:39.39    Standard Time: 1:40.00  Course/Class Record: 1:38.61

Winner: ALPHA HEDGE (IRE 6yo g Sir Prancealot – Malta) secures a hat-trick for trainer Francis Lui and jockey Zac Purton who has Vincent Ho to thank for the last two. Not often would a trainer get the chance to pick Purton up as a replacement rider and Lui struck gold twice with the premiership leader not booked for a ride in consecutive races. He's in the zone and so are Lui's horses, Purton able to slot straight to the trial with this tough warrior and he won untested in the end just too strong for them at the 1650m. Just eight starts this season after a 10-month hiatus and he has returned a better horse for it.

Runner-up: SHAMPORT and Joao Moreira chased hard but chase din vain, the race was all over on the corner when ALPHA HEDGE took control of the race. A big season for him, 10 starts three wins three placings and from Class 4 to Class 3 no problem, still offering plenty. He won a $A150,000 VOBIS Gold race as a two-year-old at Caulfield in July 2017 for Darren Weir before export.

Run Of The Race: Hard for the back runners to make a dent in this one. BEST ALLIANCE did a very nice job from last to run into fifth against the grain.

Disappointment: The well-liked RICH AND LUCKY led and stopped and stopped quickly. Not the only leader to puncture turning for home tonight.

Comparison: Another well under standard. Winner could have easily gone quicker he's really coasted up the final furlong to win very easily. Leaders have surprisingly had a poor record tonight, looked like a leaders track when the programme began.

Market Mover: METHANE $6.90 to $4.50

RACE 9 - MAGAZINE GAP HANDICAP, HK $2,100,000

Class 2 – Rating 100-80 – Turf 'C' Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF

Time: 1:09.11     Standard Time: 1:09.55   Course/Class Record: 1:08.52

Winner: VICTORIAM (AUS 4yo g I Am Invincible – Quality Impulse) concludes a stunning night for trainer Francis Lui, winning the last four races on the card in succession, all with champion rider Zac Purton on board. This horse has now won three on his last four starts and five from 13 total. This, his first try in Class 2, quite exceptional having to sit three-wide outside the leaders the entire trip from gate 10, Purton finding just enough in the shadows of the post to hold out the fast finishing favourite and his arch-rival Joao Moreira.

Runner-up: WINNING METHOD got three or four places further back than perhaps expected and that told in the end, a big finish to almost make it despite having some serious real estate to make up. At the bottom of the weights in Class 2 he's a very competitive horse.

Run Of The Race: VICTORIAM and WINNING METHOD both obviously very good, picking another here in SHINING ACE who had to alter his course quite dramatically in the straight and under 133lb his effort to keep finding the line was really good.

Disappointment: COUNTRY STAR trailed from the inside gate and gave nothing when the space appeared for him.

Comparison:  Well under standard time on a perfect racing surface.

Market Mover: BEAUTY AMIGO $29.20 to $12.30, SHINING ACE $13.50 to $8.10


Racing and Sports



Happy Valley

Wednesday, 24th June 2020

9
22:50
(local)

Magazine Gap Hcp (C2)

WT: 51.5kg Type: RST100-80
HKD $2,100,000
1200m TURF GOOD FIRM
9
22:50
(local)
HKD $2,100,000
1200m GOOD FIRM

Magazine Gap Hcp (C2)

WT: 51.5kg Type: RST100-80
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 6. VICTORIAM (AUS) 4yo G
I AM INVINCIBLE (AUS) - QUALITY IMPULSE (AUS)
ZAC PURTON
K W LUI
$7.50
54.5kg
Victoriam Syndicate

Sales Information

2nd 10. WINNING METHOD (AUS) 3yo G
HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR (IRE) - OUT OF EGYPT (USA)
JOAO MOREIRA
C S SHUM
$2.88
53.0kg
Ho Tai Hing

Sales Information

3rd 12. TEAM SPIRIT (AUS) 5yo G
STRATEGIC (AUS) - FORGET IMA LADY (AUS)
T H SO
W Y SO
$81.00
50.5kg
Pang Wai Hak, Pang Ka Yeung & Andy Pang Ka Wai

Sales Information

4th 4. ENCORE BOY (AUS) 6yo G
Smart Missile (AUS) - MISS BELLEZZA (AUS)
MATTHEW POON
P F YIU
$10.00
54.5kg

Sales Information

5th 1. SHINING ACE (AUS) 4yo G
TESTA ROSSA (AUS) - DANCE IDOL (AUS)
CHAD SCHOFIELD
JOHN SIZE
$8.00
60.5kg

Sales Information

6th 11. RACING FIGHTER (NZ) 5yo G
MASTERCRAFTSMAN (IRE) - COMME TU VEUX (NZ)
C WONG
C H YIP
$51.00
49.5kg

Sales Information

7th 5. TORNADO TWIST (AUS) 4yo G
DENMAN (AUS) - MORE GLORY (AUS)
DEREK LEUNG
F C LOR
$17.00
55.0kg

Sales Information

8th 9. SPARKLING DRAGON (NZ) 5yo G
O'REILLY (NZ) - SHINING LIGHT (NZ)
A HAMELIN
TONY MILLARD
$7.50
53.0kg

Sales Information

9th 3. WALDORF (NZ) 5yo G
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (AUS) - SKITE (NZ)
K TEETAN
A S CRUZ
$9.00
57.5kg

Sales Information

10th 2. COUNTRY STAR (AUS) 4yo G
STARCRAFT (NZ) - MOONRUSH (AUS)
A K CHAN
JOHN SIZE
$9.00
55.5kg

Sales Information

11th 7. BEAUTY AMIGO (IRE) 5yo G
KODIAC (GB) - HURRICANE EMMA (USA)
V BORGES
JOHN MOORE
$12.00
53.5kg

Sales Information

12th 8. MOMENT OF POWER (AUS) 7yo G
EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) - DIAMOND MASQUE (NZ)
H N WONG
P O'SULLIVAN
$151.00
51.5kg

Sales Information