Luke Middlebrook: After a good meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday trainer John Size now leads Caspar Fownes 44-43 in the Hong Kong trainers’ championship battle.
Fownes, however, enters Wednesday’s Happy Valley card with a strong hand, with thriving four-year-old Kurpany appearing all set to continue his winning ways when he takes to 1200m in the Class 3 Handicap in Race 7.
Kurpany has asserted himself as a dominant force at the city circuit of Happy Valley this season, winning twice and finishing runner-up from four starts while his run into fourth two starts ago had plenty of merit to it as he bombed the start before finishing hard and fast late.
Putting paid to that luckless run, Kurpany bounced back for a facile win two weeks ago, stalking the speed before letting down sharply inside the 300m for a soft 1.50-length win.
Kurpany tries 1200m for the just second time, and having returned some of the best late speed figures of the meeting in previous runs suggests he’s ready for it, while in a race with just a few standout chances, he appears hardest to beat
Meanwhile, in-form four-year-old Flying Genius is the one to beat in the Class 3 1000m Handicap in Race 4.
Flying Genius was an easy 1.75-length winner at this track and distance four starts ago, but since then, has been up against stronger company as well as racing with excuses.
Three starts ago, Flying Genius missed the kick and essentially took no part at the rear of the field, but still returned big late sectionals against the race shape, before going on to finish runner-up to Kurpany in his next two outings.
Against weaker opposition this week, Flying Genius can get back to his winning ways.
Race 1: Good Days looks ready to run a big race in Class 5 for a first time. Moreira picks the ride and barrier 4 should ensure the right run in transit to be hard to beat. Sangria finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start and is on the verge of a win in this grade. Great Smart had genuine excuses last start and can improve in this race based on prior runs. Shinealot should be highly suited by the drop back in distance. General Dino old-timer who is always capable of surprising.
Race 2: Right Honourable good performance when storming home for a nice second last start and gets his chance to score second-up. Superbella ran the third fastest sectional time last start for a good fourth at over 100/1. Moreira on this week means he will be over-bet however. King Dragon last start winner who retains good form and can run well again but needs some luck from barrier 11. Brave King will win in this grade very soon and keep safe. Kiram good performance when returning to form last start – consider for exotics.
Race 3: Sunshine Warrior ran the second fastest sectional time last start. Fast Most Furious placed last start and looks a chance to run well again with his second-up stats reading strong. Star Shine has been placed last two starts and should enjoy the return to this track and distance. The Rock good effort last start leading all the way to win and he will vie to do the same but this is a harder contest. General’s Delight finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start and is not far off another win.
Race 4: Flying Genius has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon. Strikes an easier race than in recent starts and should be hard to beat. Jazz Steed backing up quickly from last week, can run well from the low draw and test Flying Genius. Saul’s Special old-timer who is racing in good form and can run well again with the services of Moreira in the saddle. Nordic Wellstar flew home late last start and must be respected. Be Ready resuming from a break and trialled well recently when not tested. Looked well and can go well fresh.
Race 5: Fortune Carrier recent barrier trial was excellent and he should be given another chance stepping back in trip, where he can bid to make all in the running. My My My turned in a very nice debut run and looks to have good ability. Harmony Fire debut run was good and has trained on well since but needs luck from barrier No 11. Raging Blaze from astute yard and watch betting support in a race without many chances. Viva Chef placed last start and looks a chance to run well again.
Race 6: Beauty Applause rising in class and meets better quality horses but can measure up after stringing together two impressive wins and beating the likes of Wellington along the way. Grateful Heart last start winner who rises in class but winning his last two races impressively at this track and distance will carry him a long way. Sky Field goes well second-up from a break and should be respected. Amazing Star drops back from a Group race and this will be easier. Stronger will find this easier than last start and can run well.
Race 7: Daily Beauty well supported last start and won accordingly and he should repeat the dose having drawn ideally in barrier 1. Mudita an improving type and should run well again given the stables’ recent success and drawn well in stall 2. Happy Profit best run to date was last start, and appears to be improving, but barrier 12 is testing. Courageous Dragon looks overdue for a win after placing third in his last two starts and enters this race in good form. Won Ball video replay showed last run was very good and he can surprise at odds.
Race 8: Kurpany was an easy last start winner and he looks on song to score a double despite rising in distance. From barrier 4 he should map on the leaders’ backs and prove hard to hold out from there. Scores Of Fun last start winner who retains good form and can run well again having drawn well in barrier 3. Massive Pocket racing well with excellent sectional time rankings. Racing Fighter big jockey change with Purton in the saddle and he looks set for this race. Falcon Turbo backing up quickly from last week, can run well.
Race 9: Celestial Power had excuses last start in the Classic Mile and forget the run. Green Luck has ability and is always dangerous in this grade and he looks set for this race with Moreira in the saddle with good favours to come from barrier 3. Incanto Prepared racing in career-best form and must be rated a good chance to be in the finish yet again. Cinquante Cinq video replay showed last run was very good after a mid-race move and he can surprise. High Rev appears to be very well suited by the track and distance of this race.