05/15/2017 10:37AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday May 17, 2017)

RACE 1: #9 Grace Heart, #3 Ocean Roar, #8 Jolly Bountiful, #1 Morethanlucky
RACE 2: #10 Storm Kid, #2 Telephatia, #5 Wealthy Fortune, #7 Always Wongchoy
RACE 3: #5 Victory Boys, #9 Istanbul Bey, #7 Beauty Love, #8 Easy Hedge
RACE 4: #2 Glenealy Prize, #4 Good Choice, #6 Superior Boy, #5 Spinning Dancer
RACE 5: #1 Packing Stones, #12 California Aspar, #3 Iron Boy, #2 Jolly Convergence
RACE 6: #9 Vital Spring, #2 Goal For Gold, #5 Bumble Baby, #6 Golden Chopsticks
RACE 7: #2 Jetwings, #7 Super Turbo, #6 Molly's Jade Star, #5 Romantic Cash
RACE 8: #6 Travel Datuk, #12 Best Step, #4 Wayfoong Vinnie, #5 All Great Friends

RACE 1: DEAUVILLE AUGUST YEARLING SALES HANDICAP

#9 Grace Heart has never been rated as low as he is now at any time throughout his 30 starts in Hong Kong. Zac Purton jumps back aboard now, having never missed a top-four spot on the Stratum gelding, and he returns to the Happy Valley 1000m where he has a fairly solid record. This looks his chance to return to the winners’ circle. #3 Ocean Roar is a one-dimensional type in that he goes forward and makes his own luck. He might face opposition for the front here, but if he goes unchallenged, he might be able to slip away from them. Debutant #8 Jolly Bountiful still looks to be learning what the caper is about, based on his barrier trials, but trainer John Size has already had four unraced gallopers win this season, including Hot King Prawn and Ivictory last weekend. He must be respected. #1 Morethanlucky drops to Class 4 for the first time. He might find this a bit sharp but he is worth including.

RACE 2: FRANCE GALOP OWNERS DEPARTMENT HANDICAP

Hong Kong’s handicapping system occasionally allows the impossible to become reality. So it does here with #10 Storm Kid, who gained a cult following as Hong Kong’s slowest horse but who actually looks capable of winning this race. He was travelling a dream on the corner last start, but he couldn’t get clear running and the race was over by the time he did get a crack at them. With more luck, he can score what would be one of the most popular wins of the season. #2 Telephatia has finished in the placings on six of eight occasions over this course and distance, including two wins. His last start was good and he does meet Audacity four pounds better for a half-length defeat. #5 Wealthy Fortune finished third in a similar race earlier this term, but has been out of sorts since. He will be suited by stepping out in trip again. #7 Always Wongchoy has found form at his last two starts and with Joao Moreira jumping aboard, he will be a player.

RACE 3: LONGCHAMP RACECOURSE HANDICAP

#5 Victory Boys has been a model of consistency over the last year and has been in the placings at all nine runs in the last 13 months. He should appreciate the return to Happy Valley and he looks capable of winning off his current mark. #9 Istanbul Bey is still in his first preparation, but he looks to be coming to hand now. He hasn’t been beaten far in his last two races and he now gets Joao Moreira aboard with only 118 pounds to carry. He’ll be around the mark. #7 Beauty Love is hard to catch but he is in top form at the moment. He will go forward and should be able to stick around. #8 Easy Hedge has generally disappointed but he was a course and distance winner in January. He needs everything to fall his way, but if it does, he can get into the minor money.

RACE 4: EQUIDIA RACING CHANNEL HANDICAP

#2 Glenealy Prize ran two good races on the dirt over 1800m before the blinkers came off with a drop to 1650m. He didn’t fire, but he does get the blinkers back on again over the 1650m with the return to turf. The extended mile at Happy Valley should be up his alley and he can score another victory. #4 Good Choice always seems to be around the mark in these sorts of races. He is racing consistently at the moment and can bob up again. #6 Superior Boy steps beyond 1400m for the first time. He is yet to win in Hong Kong, but he might find this sort of race to his liking. #5 Spinning Dancer has only missed the top five once in his last 11 attempts at the course and distance. He can fill the minors again.

RACE 5: LE FRENCH MAY TROPHY

#1 Packing Stones was once considered a contender for the 2,000 Guineas, won recently by Churchill. However, the colt formerly known as Broken Stones was instead snapped up by Hong Kong connections. He disappointed at his first start at Sha Tin, and has been given four recent trials in quick succession to try and prepare him for this. He has shown a propensity for blowing the start, but if he can jump on terms, he will be a chance. #12 California Aspar is nearing the drop into Class 4, but off his last-start third, perhaps he could win one in this grade. He was well-beaten by Diego Kosta, as every horse in the race was, but he should be suited stepping up to 1200m now and he rates as a chance. #3 Iron Boy has been mixing his form since winning at Sha Tin in October. However, his winning rider that day, Joao Moreira, hops back aboard for the first time since, so he must be thrown in. #2 Jolly Convergence was poor last time out, but he looks like he will be suited returning to 1200m and he does get Dylan Mo’s 10-pound claim.

RACE 6: FRENCH RACING & BREEDING COMMITTEE HANDICAP

There are a few things in #9 Vital Spring’s favour that could see him break through for his first win in Hong Kong here. He returns to 1200m, he comes to Happy Valley for the first time and he gets the all-important blinkers. With a good draw, this looks a classic case of everything coming together at the right time. #2 Goal For Gold has just his second run in Class 4 here. He did run a neck second over the Sha Tin dirt at his one go in the grade, and from the inside gate, he is capable of going close again. #5 Bumble Baby is still looking quite raw in his races, even as a 12-start veteran. However, the three-year-old looks suited returning to Happy Valley with Joao Moreira jumping back aboard. #6 Golden Chopsticks might still be dropping but his last run in March was good and he will be finding form very soon.

RACE 7: THE FRANCE GALOP CUP

#2 Jetwings has had plenty of injury woes but he did win at his last start in March. He missed a subsequent run due to leg issues, but if he is back fit and firing from a good gate, then he will be the one they have to beat here. #7 Super Turbo didn’t disgrace when trying out the extended mile last time. He returns to the 1200m here, but does get Joao Moreira aboard for just the second time. #6 Molly's Jade Star has run well the last two times he’s drawn a gate in Class 2. He can figure here from another good draw. #5 Romantic Cash returns to the races for the first time in 18 months, and runs for Gary Ng for the first time. The trainer is hardly known for his prowess with horses in these grades, and has only had two winners rated 89 or above in the last 15 years – Noble Man and Sweet Sanette, the latter eventually placing in a King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for handler Tony Millard. Romantic Cash is unlikely to be in the same league as them, but he could add some value underneath.

RACE 8: ARC DE TRIOMPHE CHAMPIONS HANDICAP

#6 Travel Datuk charged home for second to Lotus Breeze last start and arguably should have won that night. He is going to break through shortly and might get his opportunity here if things fall his way. #12 Best Step raced away for an easy success over the Happy Valley 1000m last time out. If he can take that form to the 1200m, he will be hard to beat at the bottom of Class 3, especially from a plum draw of gate two. #4 Wayfoong Vinnie was short of room and then struggled to pick up last time out in the same Lotus Breeze race. He should get a nice trip here from gate one and he can bounce back. #5 All Great Friends was edged out last time out, but he’s clearly found form again. Sam Clipperton is a positive jockey upgrade and he should be around the mark.