Express on the right track for Sha Tin feature
Neil Callan is ticking over nicely after a midweek double at Sha Tin and is hoping the ultra-reliable Band Of Brothers can complete a rewarding week when he lines up for Saturday's Sha Tin feature. It's hard to argue with the Irishman's assertion that Paul O'Sullivan's gelding is "a big, strong, genuine horse who's going to give his running again."
But whether Callan's view that "there's not a standout" among the opposition remains to be seen. John Size has been coaxing steady improvement from Lucky Express in five starts since he made his HK debut in the spring. The Toronado gelding galloped on willingly to finish a close fourth in one of the hottest handicaps of the season here three weeks ago and still looks very fairly treated from a 2lb higher mark.
Fownes feels 91 isn't the limit for Sky
Sky Darci does it nicely in the Valley nightcap for Joao Moreira (@cavaleiro83) & Caspar Fownes. 🙌 #HKracing pic.twitter.com/onq9PdIdIV
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 11, 2020
Sky Darci was the equine star of Wednesday's Valley card and waved goodbye to Class 3 in style with a commanding success under Moreira in the finale. The fast-improving four-year-old clocked the fastest time of four 1200m contests under topweight and Caspar Fownes - seven clear atop the trainers' table and averaging a winner a meeting - is typically bullish about his prospects.
"I've always believed he's very good and capable of being a triple figure horse," he said. "We'll probably go to 1400m at Sha Tin with him next and I'll put my neck on the line and say I have no doubt he will stay a mile."
Maximus impresses in Valley trial session
Happy Valley played host to a morning barrier trial session on Friday with several familiar European imports in the spotlight. Royal Ascot third Berlin Tango shaped well in the first batch but not quite so well as Maximus, who won four from four as Chares in Europe.
Unbeaten in Australia, Master Montaro (@zpurton) steps out for his first look at Hong Kong. @lindsayparkrace #HKracing pic.twitter.com/TvRY9SvKoI
— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 13, 2020
The Ivawood colt had Berlin Tango behind when scoring for Jane Chapple-Hyam at Kempton in March and looks well worth keeping an eye on based on the way he swooped close home for Alexis Badel, while Master Montaro created a big impression with two wins Down Under and took the first step towards his HK debut with a promising effort later on in the session.
Hay sends exotic markets into a fever
Total turnover for Happy Valley's Wednesday card was over £130m and the second race - in which 16-1 shot Hay Run got the better of three horses who started at 132-1, 7.8-1 and 31-1 - provided a memorable night for a few inspired exotic punters.
Forecast backers who played the first two were paid out at over 13,000-1, while anyone bold enough to predict the first four in correct order trousered a HK record Quartet dividend of £34,890 for a £1 stake.