We head to Happy Valley for some midweek action on Wednesday with a competitive looking eight-race card getting underway at 12:15pm. The feature on the night is race five, the Class 2 Le French May Trophy (handicap), over the 9 furlongs due off at 2:15pm.
All eyes will be on Joaoa Moreira and Zac Purton after the latter rode a four-timer at Sha Tin on Sunday to narrow the gap down to just four in the jockeys’ championship, and with The Magic Man still to serve a two-day ban in June, the title race is set to be one of the most thrilling ever seen in Hong Kong.
My next best (NB) selection of the day is PRAWN BABA, who runs in the feature at 2:15pm, race five, the Le French May Trophy (handicap) over 9 furlongs.
This 5yo from the all-conquering John Size yard has been a model of consistency at this level and above this year, and brings the best form to the race. He won over 11 furlongs on his penultimate start when he had the high-class 4yo Exultant back in second. Exultant then returned the favour when he had our selection back in second in a Group 3 race here earlier this month, but that was over 12 furlongs, a trip that takes Prawn Ba Ba out of his comfort zone.
The re-opposing Doyeni ran third in both of those races and meets Prince Ba Ba on better terms, but Doyeni is a dour type who hasn’t won since 2015, whereas Prince Ba Ba has already won twice over this trip at Sha Tin, and the drop back to 9 furlongs will suit the selection who is likely to race in a forward position. With only moderate pace in the race on paper, he should have too much kick for Doyeni and the others.
My best bet (NAP) of the day is THE JUDGE, who goes in race six on the card, the Class 3 Paris Longchamp Handicap, due off at 3:15pm over 1 mile (1650m).
Regular readers will know we flagged up the Caspar Fownes-trained 5yo in this space last month and he duly won, but we need to explain that win and his subsequent second further, simply because both runs were far better than what the bare form reads.
When he won here two runs back at Class 4 level, the race was run at a dawdle, which didn't help our selection who runs his best races when ridden cold, and Zac Purton summed things up perfectly when he took off early from the back of the field and sustained a long, and impressive, sweeping run to win.
He’s subsequently run 2nd at this level earlier this month, but once again the race didn’t pan out for him. They ran the first 2 furlongs quickly before the leaders dropped anchor, and from there it turned into a bit of a horror show with The Judge at the back strung up on the rail. When he finally saw daylight he motored home and finished full of running for a luckless second.
At the time I decided I would be all over The Judge the moment he stepped into a race that had genuine speed, and that is exactly what he should get here with several of these, including 3,7,5,10 and 8 all likely to ensure a good tempo.
Whilst a more genuine speed might negate the impressive turn of foot he demonstrated last time, it will also allow him to finally get into a rhythm, and afford Purton the chance to give him a more conventional ride, and I look forward to seeing what he can deliver under those circumstances.
My each-way (EW) selection on the card is MOMENT OF POWER, in race seven, the Class 2 France Galop Cup (handicap) over 6 furlongs due off at 3:45pm.
This 5yo from the Paul Sullivan yard has been in wonderful form this year, regaining his winning thread from 2016 when he won three of his first seven. For reasons unbeknown to this writer, the wheels fell off in 2017 with only one single placing form 7 spins, but he’s now won two from four this year, running a career best when winning over 5 furlongs here last time.
He goes up to Class 2 level for the first time and he also steps up to 6 furlongs. Although he hit the line strongly last time, combined with the 8lb hike in the handicap, all these things need to be considered, but will hopefully ensure we get a healthy each-way price about the selection.
There are no secrets to him, he will blast out of the machine and try to make all, and thus the draw in 1 couldn’t be better. Although up in class, he goes off a light weight here with a very handy 5lb claim for Jack Wong, meaning he is in receipt of 3-14lb from the rest of the field.
It wouldn't surprise me if connections instruct Wong to let the inform Moment Of Power tear along and play catch me if you can tactics off the light weight.
Tim's Best Bets:
2.15pm HAPPY VALLEY (Race 5)
PRAWN BABA (NB)
2.45pm HAPPY VALLEY (Race 6)
THE JUDGE (NAP)
3.15pm HAPPY VALLEY (Race 7)
MOMENT OF POWER (EW)
BETTING ON HONG KONG RACING
Punters can bet into the Hong Kong pools online through Betfred.com .