We saw some wonderful racing at Sha Tin last weekend with several Hong Kong stars laying down strong markers for the highly anticipated International meeting in December. Racing returns to the eclectic city track of Happy Valley for Wednesday’s meeting, and we have a strong eight-race card, with at least one interesting runner making their Hong Kong debut.
Racing gets underway at 11:15am UK time and the feature races of the evening are all Class 3 contests at 1:50, 2:20 and 2:55pm.
My NAP lines up in race 7, the Class 3 Irving Handicap over 6f at 2:20pm, and is the interesting Hong Kong debutant, SIMPLY BRILLIANT.
This 3yo was formerly known as Senator when trained by Richard Fahey in the UK, and will be having his first run for leading trainer Frankie Lor, and in doing so, he will become the first Hong Kong runner for the mighty Frankel.
He had the five starts for Fahey and won his first two as a 2yo in 2016, both over this trip, and was last seen running 6 of 29 runners in the Britannia at Royal Ascot this year. He showed a liking for quick ground when based in the UK, and he will enjoy the firmer tracks in Hong Kong.
He left the Fahey yard with an official rating of 91, and that should ensure he is highly competitive at Class 3 level in Hong Kong if he runs to form. He’s had two barrier trials at Sha Tin and has performed strongly in both of them without winning.
He’s drawn perfectly in 2 here, and looking at the race set up, he should have the speed to be right there from the off. In leading trainer Frankie Lor and high-end jockey Nash Rawiller, he represents a combination in terrific form.
My next best comes up in race 2, the Class 5 Fife Handicap over 11f at 11:45. I’ve been waiting for trainer Almond Lee to step PROUD SKY up in trip ever since he won a Class 5 race over 9f at Sha Tin in July. On that occasion, he came from toward the tail of the field to just get there in a photo finish.
He doesn't do things quickly, but he gives the impression he will stay. He drops back down to Class 5 level here, and it’s worth noting that his sole start in this company resulted in that win at Sha Tin in July off a mark only 2lb lower, and that was under today’s rider Keith Yeung.
He’s usually ridden cold and I don't see that changing here. However, he may be able to sit a little closer to the speed at this lower level over the longer trip.
My each-way play on the card comes up in race six, the Class 3 Irving Handicap over 6f at 1:50pm, in the form of the John Moore-trained STORM SIGNAL.
He was purchased out of Australia after winning all four starts for trainer Michael Hickmott, the last of those at Morphetville in May. He made his Hong Kong debut for the new yard in a strong looking Class 3 contest over 5f at Sha Tin earlier this month, and although unplaced, he was only 4.5l behind the unbeaten and exciting 3yo Hot King Prawn.
I have no doubt the effort is worth more than the bare form suggests. He drew low in 3 down the straight course that day, and they all went looking for the high side on the grandstand rail and in the end Tommy Berry had no choice but to come down the middle part of the track on his own.
Once again, he contests a Class 3 race, but this is an easier looking assignment, and let’s not forget that he was having his first run for 6 months last time, and he’s bound to strip fitter. He steps up to 6f here, but I think that will suit, and the draw in 5 looks ideal with Tommy Berry retaining the ride for John Moore.
Tim's Best Bets:
11:45 HAPPY VALLEY (Race 2)
PROUD SKY (NB)
1.50 HAPPY VALLEY (Race 6)
STORM SIGNAL (EW)
2.20 HAPPY VALLEY (Race 7)
SIMPLY BRILLIANT (NAP)
BETTING ON HONG KONG RACING
Punters can bet into the Hong Kong pools online through Betfred.com .