HAPPY VALLEY RACECOURSE
Luke Middlebrook: Just eight meetings remain for the 2021/22 racing season and trainer Frankie Lor will go into Wednesday’s Happy Valley meeting with a six-winner lead over John Size.
Both Lor and Size have a host of good chances, most notably in the final race of the card, the Class 2 1200m Handicap.
Lor sends out talented three-year-old Eason with Joao Moreira in the saddle from barrier No 1, while Matthew Chadwick will ride ultra-consistent five-year-old Rewarding Together from gate No 7.
Drawn wide, but a horse who usually comes from the back anyway, is Seizing The Moment for Size, stepping away from barrier No 10 under Frenchman Alexis Badel. If the pace is on, he is certainly one to relish it and can swoop late.
The one to beat – though winning a Class 2 in Hong Kong is never a gimme – would have to be trainer Manfred Man’s thriving three-year-old Lucky Sweynesse.
It’s been a rapid rise in the handicap for Lucky Sweynesse, debuting on a mark of 52 in a Class 4 1200m Handicap in early February, to now boast a rating of 87 and firmly indentured in Class 2.
Two starts ago, Lucky Sweynesse tasted his first defeat at start No 4, checking home 0.75 lengths into third place on a rain-affected course and distance.
However, freshened up and a switch to 1400m at Sha Tin, saw him bounce back to his winning ways last start on 5 June – the best part being it was his first Class 2 start.
Lucky Sweynesse, from barrier No 2, should be well placed to get every winning chance in another brilliant test of his mettle.
At the other end of the handicap, in-form three-year-old See U Again looks on song to shed his maiden tag in Race 3.
See U Again is at his eighth time of asking on Wednesday and has been knocking on the door after placing third in his last two starts.
The Danny Shum-trained, Zac Purton-ridden gelding was last seen two weeks ago at this track over 1200m, sitting outside the leader throughout on the rain-affected track and doing well to hold onto a minor placing, but not looking comfortable late in the yielding going.
From barrier No 3 on Wednesday, See U Again should map one of the better chances in the race and the lack of depth among his competitors holds him in good stead to get the job done.
The clear standout to test See U Again is Moreira’s mount, Yellowfin. The Francis Lui-trained three-year-old is having his third start and turned in his best performance yet when a slashing second place to the smart Gorgeous Vitality at this course and distance 21 days ago.
Race 1: Go For Tea looks ready to run a big race in Class 5 for the Frankie Lor stable, who are simply flying at the moment. A big night on Wednesday would almost seal him the trainers’ premiership. Run The Table can bounce back a winner anytime in this class and have to give a serious chance to with Purton back in the saddle. Oh Bravo gets Moreira in the saddle, which suggests he could be ready to figure here. Circuit Elite will win in this grade very soon but barrier 11 appears awkward here. El Valiente generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home.
Race 2: A typical wide-open Class 5 race. Ares will win in this grade very soon after a narrow last-start defeat at his first try in Class 5 last time. Cigar Buddies a fast beginner who can run well if he finds an easy lead, which seems possible from barrier No 2. Vector has been placed last three starts, deserves a win soon and will relish a fast pace. Dassit third Class 5 start here and he should be playing a part in the finish with some luck from the wide draw. Aca Power holding form with recent good trial win after an improved last-start effort.
Race 3: See U Again has been knocking on the door and win won’t surprise anyone. He should be getting every chance to shed his maiden tag with Purton remaining in the saddle from barrier No 3. Yellowfin the clear danger and last run suggested a win was very near after he stormed home late into second place. He needs to map closer here to test See U Again. Circuit Seven fresh up from a break and should run well in a race lacking depth. Shining Fortune has shown ability and gets his chance to pick up a cheque. Valhalla has trialled well for debut and should be rated a chance, but barrier No 12 is far from ideal.
Race 4: Pleasant Endeavor well supported last start and won accordingly by a margin. From barrier No 2, he should be able to map similarly and can win again. Hercules looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form and Purton taking over the reins brings him right into this. Harmony N Home had genuine excuses last start and can improve in this race. Happy Sharing second start in this grade after dropping in class and could easily improve. Dream Boss had good support on debut but failed to show up. He showed improvement at a recent trial and expect better.
Race 5: Blissful Star looks overdue for a win, after finishing runner-up in his last two starts, and looks the one to beat in a race with quite a few chances. Amazing News another good winning chance after turning in consistent runs recently. Super Hornet still a maiden galloper but gets his chance to win from a nice low draw and his on-pace profile holds him in good stead. Regency Master generally gets back in the running but dashes strongly home. Noble Steed old-timer who is racing in good form and can run well again.
Race 6: Winning Icey caught the eye last start when running home well and he’s worth giving a winning chance to this week despite the wide draw. With a bit of pace on, he can storm over the top late. Above All winner of last two starts and is an obvious contender. Exuberant last run suggested a win was very near, but he had all favours from barrier No 4 that night and now steps away from barrier 10. Wins All finished powerfully with fastest sectional time ranking last start – he can map well from gate No 4. Vamos remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here.
Race 7: Nicconi County caught the eye last start when running home powerfully after stepping away from a wide draw. He comes into barrier 1, which can prove the winning difference. Flying Season recent barrier trial was impressive, suggesting an improved run can be expected. Like That consistent form lately and can score here with a bit of luck from barrier No 11. Super Mission showed he was up to this class last start with a good second place and can go close. Atullibigeal fresh up from a break and should run well at odds.
Race 8: Loyal Baby was an easy last start winner, shedding his maiden tag in fine style, and must be respected given how Lor’s runners hold their form. Circuit Stellar caught the eye last start when running home well and he is well-overdue for a win. Packing Award nice four-year-old with a good chance here after winning three from seven this season. Dr Winning last start winner who remains in the same grade and from barrier 1, he should map to be a chance again. World Famous looks a solid good chance based on last start.
Race 9: Lucky Sweynesse nice three-year-old who has won four from five in a short matter of time and continues to thrive after a solid last-start win over 1400m at Sha Tin. Eason looks a chance if you go on previous consistent form. Under Moreira from barrier 1, he can test these. Rewarding Together nice horse who is a model of consistency and looks one of the key chances. Keep You Warm was an easy last start winner and must be respected as Purton remains in the saddle. Seizing The Moment racing well with excellent sectional time rankings and there might be enough pace for him to swoop late.