Luke Middlebrook: Hong Kong racing kicks off at the city circuit of Happy Valley for the first time this season on Wednesday, with an eight-race card in which to get involved.
After beginning fast at Sha Tin on Sunday with a three-timer, trainer David Hayes can continue winnings ways and be confident of getting a win out of four-year-old INFINITY WIN at his second last start when he resumes in the Class 4 1000m Handicap in Race 5.
INFINITY WIN made his racetrack debut in early July down the 1000m Sha Tin straight and, despite not winning first-up as a well-backed favourite, he still crossed the line a promising second place, 1.50 lengths astern to SUMMIT CHEERS who looks handy enough.
Hayes has trialled INFINITY WIN on two occasions ahead of his return, in which the gelding has looked to have improved leaps and bounds under jockey Zac Purton, who looks the key change to INFINITY WIN’S chances this week.
Purton will also partner trainer Dany Shum’s four-year-old gelding FORTUNE CARRIER, who is overdue for a win and looks on song to shed his maiden tag in the Class 4 1200m Handicap in Race 4.
FORTUNE CARRIER tried six times to achieve the feat last season, but it was only towards the end of the term that the Your Song gelding started to hit his straps, finishing runner-up in his final two starts of the season. Last time out, he only missed by a short head on the wire, but he and the winner left a healthy gap of 2.25 lengths back to third place.
FORTUNE CARRIER looks wound up and ready to go based on his recent barrier trial, showing good early speed under race day jockey Zac Purton while he went strongly through the line while never being let off the bit.
The pair strike a winnable race today and he’ll be favoured to get on the board.
Race 1: Shanghai Power a last start winner who trialled well since and he should take all the catching under Moreira. Chunghwa Jingshen has been placed last two starts and deserves a win soon and has also trialled very well ahead of this race. Garlic Hero faded late last start, chance to improve under right race shape and he looked good in a recent trial. Joy Avenue a one-time winner that is well placed at this level and respect with Purton in the saddle. For Fun’s Sake generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home.
Race 2: Management Supreme suited by the barrier draw (1) and looks a good chance to score. Happy Profit looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form but has drawn out in barrier 12 which will make things tough. Romantic Trove bled last start but has been trialling well for his return and Moreira rides. Beauty Amigo second start in this grade after dropping in class and should be landing a Class 4 win soon. Wood On Fire has ability and should not be underestimated in this grade.
Race 3: Zhan Jiang Rocks looks overdue for a win after placing in his last two starts and enters this race in good form. Looked the winner under Moreira from stall 3. Piano Solo will win in this grade very soon and Purton sticks with him for his first-up run. Yoo Yoo King changed trainer and trialled well recently but watch for betting support. Dream Warriors always finishes close up and must be rated a chance at this level. Pearl Champion changed stables recently and has improved and won a trial ahead of this race.
Race 4: Fortune Carrier has been knocking on the door after finishing runner-up at his last two starts and win won’t surprise anyone. Trialled nicely for this and should take catching. A Smile Like Yours has had no luck recently and give another chance here, looks primed to run a big race fresh. Aurora Pegasus has a great record in this class and must be respected. Red Majesty racing in career-best form, but over 1650m, but capable of running a cheeky race fresh up. Xponential was an easy last start winner and must be respected.
Race 5: Infinity Win finished a sound runner-up in his debut run last season and has since run on strongly in recent trial. Looks primed to go first-up and should be very hard to beat for Hayes and Purton. Party Warrior has been placed last two starts and he looks the clear danger. Joyful Win nice 4yo who has shown ability but a win would surprise, place chances are preferred. Super Commander remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here from his low draw. Jazz Steed has ability and should not be underestimated in this grade.
Race 6: Gallant Crown more than capable of winning again in this race after scoring nicely at the end of last season. An open race, but he is the form choice. Indicative Vote best run to date was last start and appears to be improving. Sunny Star drops in class here and finds a suitable race, start following him again. Wealthy Delight is capable of running a fast final 400m sectional time and he’ll be back in running from his wide gate. Right Honourable another who generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home.
Race 7: Resolute more than capable of winning again in this race after he was backed off the map at his last start and won with the utmost of ease despite a wide trip. Trader recent barrier trials have been excellent, suggesting a good run can be expected first-up. Wild West Wing recent runs have been encouraging and can run well from the low gate. Telecom Smart can run well in a race like this with a safe beginning, but he is a backmarker and races for luck. Flying Genius down in class in this race and should perform better.
Race 8: Decisive Twelve showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight, has trialled very well for his return and should prove the one to beat jumping from barrier 1. Winning Method drops down in grade and start following. Chances are much better back in trip and he looked good in a recent trial. Telecom Rocket nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks a chance on the lightweight under Teetan. The Runner always finishes close up and must be rated a chance at this level. Rhapsody narrowly beaten last start and goes close here.