02/20/2017 12:22PM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Email

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday February 22, 2017)

RACE 1: #1 Agiaal, #3 Speedy Wally, #11 Atomic Blast, #4 Smart Salute
RACE 2: #1 Trendy Win, #8 Spinning Dancer, #7 Excellence, #6 Daring Heart
RACE 3: #6 Rocket Let Win, #9 G-One Lover, #3 Game Of Fun, #4 Dr Race
RACE 4: #2 Lucky Profit, #3 Go Go Win, #5 Best Tango, #4 Imperial Seal
RACE 5: #4 D B Pin, #9 Triumphant Jewel, #5 Back In Black, #3 Jetwings
RACE 6: #11 Ray Of Gold, #4 Pakistan Baby, #3 Never Better, #2 Cheer Win
RACE 7: #12 Money Boy, #7 Diamond King, #2 Moment Of Power, #10 Giant Stars
RACE 8: #4 Cheerful Boy, #6 Vara Pearl, #1 High And Mighty, #9 Jade Fortune

RACE 1: FANLING HANDICAP

Veteran #1 Agiaal gets down into Class 5 for the first time at his 52nd Hong Kong start. The nine-year-old simply struggled with the 2200m last start, but before that he had been racing well. The faster tempo of a 1650m race should suit him and he is likely to be attacking the line late. #3 Speedy Wally ran well at his first start back in Class 5 last time out. Zac Purton jumps aboard from a good gate and he shapes as the hardest to beat. #11 Atomic Blast is a quirky customer who is finally rounding into form now that his rating has plummeted to 22. The wide gate will make it tough but if he gets any sort of cover, he can figure. #4 Smart Salute will likely start unders as he returns to Class 5 from the good gate with Joao Moreira replacing Alex Lai. He is definitely a chance, but may be worth watching here.

RACE 2: FO TAN HANDICAP

#1 Trendy Win has not raced in Class 4 since June 2014. During an injury-plagued campaign that season, he won twice from four starts in Class 4 over the 1650m. The nine-year-old has continued to be consistent enough up in grade to record 21 starts in Class 3 before receiving the drop again. Stepping up to 1650m again suits, he has a draw that gives him a few options in seven and Ben So is the only jockey to have won aboard him in Hong Kong. He can score here. #8 Spinning Dancer is the likely favourite here with Joao Moreira hopping back aboard. The former Sean Woods trainee has been in great form recently for new trainer Manfred Man and he looks on the cusp of a victory. #7 Excellence has drawn awkwardly, but Zac Purton jumps aboard again and his last run suggests he is capable of winning in this grade. #6 Daring Heart stuck on well enough at his first run over this course and distance last time out and should take improvement from the experience.

RACE 3: KWAI CHUNG HANDICAP

#6 Rocket Let Win hasn’t shown much this season but is coming off a two-month freshen-up and looks capable of winning again off this mark. This is as low as his rating has ever fallen, and the former South African galloper is always a chance of running a big race over this course and distance. The blinkers go back on and he can cause a minor upset here. #9 G-One Lover ran well at his first start for the season two weeks back, finishing third under Alexis Badel. Joao Moreira jumps aboard now and while he has drawn deep, he still appears the horse to beat on his exposed form to date. #3 Game Of Fun has taken time to learn what the racing caper is about but he seems to be close to figuring it out now, having finished second at his last two starts. He is another drawn awkwardly but with even luck, he will be around the mark again. #4 Dr Race has performed at his best on the Sha Tin all-weather track so far, but he looks to have had plenty of work ahead of his return to Happy Valley at what is his first start since September.

RACE 4: FO TAN HANDICAP

#2 Lucky Profit has been mixing his form of late, but he has won off a similar mark in the past and the only time he drew a reasonable gate of late, he ran a terrific race. He’s a bit of an awkward horse in that he relishes Happy Valley but he probably finds the tempo of 1650m race a bit too lackluster and the 1200m, he finds a little sharp. He still won four times over the sprint trip, while he has finished no better than third over the 1650m. However, from gate three, this might be the time that changes. #3 Go Go Win has not won since June 2015, but he has finished in the top four 10 times since. His consistency, while admirable, has also made it tough for him to get down to a rating where he can win again. He’s now approaching that point, although he also needs things to go right for him pace-wise if he is to break through. #5 Best Tango looked a horse who would win as soon as he got to Class 4, but while he has run some admirable races this season, on the whole he has been quite disappointing. He looks right on song now though after a third last time out. #4 Imperial Seal has won his last two races comfortably, with his last race in particular very easy, and Caspar Fownes appears to have unlocked the key to him. He’s now nearing the top of Class 4 and while Joao Moreira sticks with him, he looks a horse worth opposing as he goes for three straight.

RACE 5: SAI KUNG HANDICAP

#4 D B Pin had put together three impressive wins before he was just nabbed late last time out when stepping up to the 1200m again. It was still a good effort, and with the return to 1000m here, he can become just the third horse to put together four wins this season. #9 Triumphant Jewel improved with the drop into Class 3 last time out, running home well into fourth for Derek Leung. Joao Moreira jumps on here and he has a soft draw, so he should be right in the mix with only 119 pounds on his back. #5 Back In Black picked up five wins at the city course last season, the final victory coming with 133 pounds in Class 3. This mixed-band Class 2 looks the most suitable race he’s struck since, although he might still need to drop further in the ratings before he wins again. Still, he’s always a chance at Happy Valley. #3 Jetwings runs for the first time since he ran on the 2015 Hong Kong International Races undercard. He’s got his problems, but there’s no doubting his talent. A long period of his recuperation from a tendon injury was spent in Australia, and he has looked a rejuvenated horse in the mornings. However, he still needs to prove that he’s back to his best.

RACE 6: THE ROTARY CENTENARY CHALLENGE CUP

#11 Ray Of Gold has never won in Class 4 and will probably be better suited getting down in grade. However, his last two runs have been very strong and on the whole, he has been on the cusp of a win all season. With Umberto Rispoli jumping on from a good gate, perhaps start 36 will be his chance to get an elusive Class 4 win. #4 Pakistan Baby will never reach the heights of fellow Kerm Din-owned galloper Pakistan Star. However, he looks on the verge of turning his form around, and the booking of Joao Moreira looks a positive step. Gate 10 does make it slightly awkward, though. #3 Never Better rarely runs a bad race and has only twice been beaten more than three lengths in the last two seasons. He needs things to go his way but he should get a nice run in transit and he can run at them late. #2 Cheer Win is still a bit raw but from a good gate here, he can save plenty of ground, perhaps even laying up a bit closer, and he is another who will be charging late.

RACE 7: TAI PO HANDICAP

#12 Money Boy is still very new and raw, but there’s no doubt he’s got talent. Last time out, he seemed to put in a couple of awkward strides and he may have found a solidly-run 1400m to be beyond him at this stage. Back to 1200m with a plum draw and Joao Moreira aboard, he should be hard to beat. #7 Diamond King may still be too high in the ratings but he has run some good races this season and from a good gate – just his second draw in single figures from six runs this term – he can figure. #2 Moment Of Power has seemingly plateaued at his current mark, but the switch to a senior rider in Sam Clipperton appears a plus. He does have to contend with the outside gate but if he can get across, he’s a chance again. #10 Giant Stars hasn’t won in Hong Kong from 15 starts and has become frustrating to follow. He bobs up here and there, though, and with a pace shape likely to favour him, he is worth throwing into all exotics.

RACE 8: TSUEN WAN HANDICAP

#4 Cheerful Boy is a straightforward type in that he is best when allowed to roll along in front. Two of his last three runs have been very good, with only a poor ride from Kei Chiong two back blotting his form book. He gets Joao Moreira aboard now and from the inside, expect him to jump out, lead and fend them off in the straight. #6 Vara Pearl is a model of consistency and has only missed the board once at his last 10 starts over this course and distance. He has drawn the middle of the line for Chad Schofield and should be around the mark again. #1 High And Mighty ran some bold races in Class 2 but couldn’t quite break through. Back to Class 3, a win is imminent, and he should get a nice run in transit from gate four. #9 Jade Fortune has had a troubled start to his Hong Kong career but has shown some signs of life this season. The blinkers go on here and perhaps that can spark enough from him to see the four-year-old in the placings.