For the new season, we are introducing a new feature in which we will offer pre- and post-meeting analysis for at least 1 of the race of the day from either Sha Tin or Happy Valley each week. The emphasis will be on analysis to improve everyone’s understanding of Hong Kong horse racing, rather than on selections. We’ll analyze the races through the lens of Hong Kong Turf past performances, but the insights here should be valuable no matter how you choose to analyze Hong Kong.
The race of the week this week is Race 7 from Happy Valley, a fascinating, deep Class 3, with many live contenders who look like they could be ready to win.
The par HKT Speed Figure for this class is 91, and most of the runners here have met or exceeded that number recently enough to be dangerous. This may be a race to circle as a key race for horses coming back next out against thinner fields.
Top Contenders (in Program # Order)
#1 Unicorn had a nightmarish trip under a low % apprentice last out, losing a shoe in the process, but prior to that had been consistently cashing checks at this class and distance. The hard knocking type will be coming late and is a threat to win this on his day. Currently at 11-1, he offers some value.
#3 Kyrus Bowser is lightly raced and improving, and his first 3 speed figures suggest he belongs in this class. Despite finishing 7th, 5th, and 7th in his first 3 starts, he wasn’t really beaten by much. Today he cuts back from 2000M to 1650M. Optimists say that will have him finishing more strongly; pessimists will say this is a tune-up for next time going longer. Can’t fault the optimists at 14-1.
#5 Bank on Red is another lightly raced horse whose last races were better than they look at first glance. He has rallied belatedly but with sharp final 400M times of under 23 seconds each race, and has been well-backed both times out. He loses Moreira here – never a confidence booster – but as the only 3YO in the race, he still has time to put it all together for John Size. Improvement is expected, and he is another contender.
#6 Thunder Stomp is the favorite in the early betting, which is reasonable. The 6YO gelding finished 3rd 4 out 5 starts to end last season, and gets the big rider switch to Moreira. Wong, a low percentage apprentice may have taken Thunder Stomp out of his best game last out riding aggressively to the lead after a middling start. The trainer Tsui won 2 races on the opening card at Sha Tin and is capable of having one ready first out at the season. Still, the 6 minor finishes to the 1 win ratio is a bit concerning for a horse who always gets bet hard, and I’m not convinced this is the best spot to pay the Moreira premium. Let’s try to do better.
#8 Imperial Seal is a very interesting runner here based off trainer stats. He is coming off of a 4 win season (all in Class 4), and now moves up to Class 3 for the 1st start of the season for Casper Fownes – a tremendous angle for the trainer (Up in Class off a Win: 29% win %/49% ROI). Purton sticks, adding to the appeal. With all that said, Imperial Seal needs to continue his upward trajectory to threaten these, and is a bit light in the speed figure department. Currently at 6.0, the value may not be there for this “wise guy horse.”
#9 Kiram is tough to knock. He came off a long layoff to win moving up in class 2 races back, and then followed it up with a creditable enough 4th to close out the season. The trainer Ferraris is 2-for-72 with his first starters of the meet, but that’s about his overall average, and he had a horse run 2nd on opening day. He fits at the level and is another contender with Teetan up.
#10 High Volatility is a very interesting, speedy runner in this spot. 3 back, he ran the top speed figure in the field (104) running 2nd behind Victory Boy, but ended the season with a dreadful, wide trip from the 12 post in which he couldn’t get the lead. Draw a line through that non-effort and he has the look of a prime contender for Lui, who has some above average trainer angles for this spot. The bad news? He has to do it from the 11 post. The good news? He’s currently 20-1.
#11 Go Go Win moves up in class off a wire-to-wire score under the “Poon Train” Matthew Poon. Hard to knock a horse who has been in the exacta 5 straight, but he’ll need to do a bit better here, and not convinced he can grab the lead again with High Volatility in the race. Currently at 10-1, I might demand a bit more value before pulling the trigger.
Who do you like?