04/10/2017 10:39AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday April 12, 2017)

RACE 1: #1 Invisible, #12 Noble Buddies, #2 Rugby Diamond, #10 Perfect Smart
RACE 2: #11 Kwaichung Brothers, #9 Starlight, #2 Gracydad, #4 Golden Chopsticks
RACE 3: #7 Victory Follow Me, #4 Golden Achiever, #3 Spinning Dancer, #2 Excellence
RACE 4: #7 Contribution, #1 Game Of Fun, #6 Bright Star, #4 Smart Delight
RACE 5: #1 Back In Black, #2 Malmsteen, #7 Jumbo Happiness, #3 You Read My Mind
RACE 6: #7 Jolly Gene, #2 Andoyas, #3 Rickfield, #4 Sharp Sailor
RACE 7: #9 Powermax, #10 Healthy Luck, #1 Ten Flames, #12 Wild Boy
RACE 8: #1 Jolly Banner, #6 Super Turbo, #4 Dynamism, #3 Winner's Way

RACE 1: CHANGI HANDICAP

#1 Invisible has got down to Class 5 twice for two victories over 1200m at both courses. The 1000m might be a bit sharp for him, although he was still acclimatising when he was tried over the trip in the past, but nevertheless he still looms as a major player. #12 Noble Buddies shaped as a horse capable of winning quickly in Hong Kong, clearly shown by the fact he started favourite off a mark of 52 on debut in June 2015. Now, his rating has dropped down to 15 and he can’t fall much further. From gate one, maybe this might be his chance to break through at long, long last. #2 Rugby Diamond is a speedball who does seem to find the competition too rich in Class 4. This course and distance saw him score his last course and distance victory in this grade in January, and with an ideal gate for Nash Rawiller, he will be in front for a long way. #10 Perfect Smart doesn’t win out of turn and needs everything to go his way but he produced a better run last time out and can figure.

RACE 2: BUKIT TIMAH HANDICAP

#11 Kwaichung Brothers is still in his first preparation but has been improving steadily, producing his best two efforts at his last two starts over the Happy Valley 1000m. He returns to the 1200m here, but he should get a soft run under Chad Schofield from the inside gate and maybe he can break through before he drops to Class 5. #9 Starlight has more ability than his current 43 rating suggests, and it appeared a move back to 1200m suited him last time as he made solid ground late. Again, he will need all the breaks to fall his way but he is able to get into the placings. #2 Gracydad thoroughly deserved the win that he finally nabbed last time out. Now he’s won one, perhaps he can go on with it, even despite a five-point penalty with Zac Purton now jumping aboard. #4 Golden Chopsticks is nearing a bottom in the ratings and his last run was good enough to suggest he’s close to returning to his best form.

RACE 3: KRANJI HANDICAP

#7 Victory Follow Me only placed for the first time two starts back, running third over the Sha Tin 1400m. His last two efforts have been good, though, and with the blinkers now applied he looks like he is ready to finally make a mark here. #4 Golden Achiever didn’t see out the trip at his first attempt at this distance in February, but the experience seemed to do him the world of good as he managed to run second last time out over the Sha Tin, even if it was a moderately-run race. With those couple of runs over the trip under his belt, expect him to be competitive here. #3 Spinning Dancer should get all favours from the inside gate and he is racing consistently this season. He is worth throwing in. #2 Excellence will likely end up a long way back from the outside gate, but he has shown a good turn of foot on occasions this term and if he gets a suitable pace set-up, he can fly at them late.

RACE 4: THE INDIAN RECREATION CLUB CHALLENGE CUP

#7 Contribution is still only a three-year-old but he has shown some good signs so far in his seven starts to date. He gets the blinkers aboard here with another good draw, and he looks ready to break through if the breaks fall his way. #1 Game Of Fun has been a model of consistency, even if he has only recorded one win from nine starts. He has to shoulder 133 pounds here but he should be around the mark yet again. #6 Bright Star has been terrible in his last two starts since finding some form three back. The greybeard is getting down to a mark where he should be competitive and he should get all the favours from gate one. #4 Smart Delight has ability but he has had plenty of issues, both through injuries and with his temperament, that have restricted him to five starts in two years. His fresh run was good before he again performed terribly last time out, but he might be one worth throwing into quinellas.

RACE 5: THE MERLION HANDICAP

#1 Back In Black returns to Class 3 company here after failing to break through in Class 2. He did run well in a mixed-band Class 3 three starts back and looks suited with his rating having dropped six points since then. He should get a soft run from gate four and this looks his chance to gain a win this season. #2 Malmsteen is another who returns to Class 3 after a lacklustre season in Class 2. He gets a significant jockey upgrade to Nash Rawiller and should be in the mix. #7 Jumbo Happiness has won his last two starts well, his last start in particular proving very comfortable. He looks capable of holding his own in Class 3 and is worth consideration again. It was a toss-up between You Read My Mind and Amazing for fourth, but #3 You Read My Mind may prove a worthy exotics candidate. His last two runs have not been that bad and with Kei Chiong taking a further five pounds off his back, maybe he might be near a mark where he can find his way into the placings again.

RACE 6: THE SINGAPORE TURF CLUB TROPHY

#7 Jolly Gene ran a bold race last start at Sha Tin, setting the tempo and giving a strong kick before just finding Mambo Rock too good late. The return to the Happy Valley 2200m is a plus, even despite the outside gate, and he can atone for that narrow defeat here. #2 Andoyas has narrowly prevailed at his last two starts, one over this trip and another over 1800m. He needs everything to go his way but he still looks to have points in hand off this mark so he is worth including again. #3 Rickfield caused a shock with his win two back over the Happy Valley 1800m before again performing poorly at Sha Tin. He will need Chad Schofield to give him a similar ride to what Alexis Badel was able to produce two back, taking off mid-race and making it a thorough staying test, but the ingredients look to be there. #4 Sharp Sailor was a course and distance winner earlier this season. He should get all favours from gate four and can go close again.

RACE 7: THE MERLION HANDICAP

#9 Powermax has shown talent from day dot, but he has really hit his straps at his last three starts to win narrowly twice in Class 4 before just finding Mr Genuine too good last time out. He has a kinder gate here and should be able to win near the bottom of Class 3. His main danger appears to be #10 Healthy Luck, who won impressively enough on debut and has been good in three starts since. He has also drawn well here and will be hard to beat. Outside these two, #1 Ten Flames returns to 1200m for the first time since a course and distance win in December 2015 and gets in well with the 10-pound claim for in-form apprentice Dylan Mo, while #12 Wild Boy is racing well at the moment and is capable of getting into the finish with a bit of luck.

RACE 8: LION CITY HANDICAP

#1 Jolly Banner has just hit a plateau at his last couple of runs, having started the season with three wins. He only found Invincible Dragon too good three back, he struck trouble in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy and that run is best forgotten, while his last run was just even behind Western Express. The move to the Happy Valley 1650m looks a positive now and he should be able to get an easy run on or near the speed from gate four. He’s the one to beat, even with 133 pounds. #6 Super Turbo has risen through the grades with impressive performances over the Happy Valley 1200m, but he has always looked like he’d be suited by the 1650m. This is a good test for him, but expect him to step up. #4 Dynamism is racing in great heart currently, but just hasn’t got a race to suit. That may be the case again here, and he might find the 1650m a tad sharp, but he is a must-include in all exotics. #3 Winner's Way was only beaten three and a half lengths by Rapper Dragon at set weights in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and he made good ground for second behind reopposing What Else But You last time out. He has tactical versatility, so Zac Purton does have options depending how the early part of his race shapes up, and he should be a contender here.