05/01/2017 11:27AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday May 3, 2017)

RACE 1: #7 Beloved, #11 Starlight, #5 Golden Deer, #2 Raging Bull
RACE 2: #10 Gentlemen, #3 Golden Partners, #2 Eastern Prowess, #4 Sweet Bean
RACE 3: #11 Bliss Cartel, #6 Winningli, #8 Idyllic Wind, #12 Intellectual Glide
RACE 4: #5 Best Step, #2 Flying Monkey, #1 Fish N' Chips, #6 Ever Strong
RACE 5: #2 Argentum, #7 Victory Follow Me, #1 Imperial Seal, #8 Scarborough Fair
RACE 6: #12 Ocean Roar, #1 Diamond Master, #2 Perfect Choice, #3 Diego Kosta
RACE 7: #8 Travel Datuk, #5 Wayfoong Vinnie, #4 Lotus Breeze, #10 Red Kylin
RACE 8: #5 Super Sprinter, #3 Sunny Win, #6 Wisky, #7 Vara Pearl

RACE 1: FRIGATEBIRD HANDICAP

A tough race to decipher, with few bringing meaningful form into the race. Perhaps it is worth taking a chance with #7 Beloved. He has disappointed through five starts to date, but Chad Schofield hops back aboard and he does return to Happy Valley. He might be heading for Class 5, but in a race that looks weak, he deserves consideration. #11 Starlight is on the cusp of the drop in grade himself. He disappointed over this course and distance last start, but he has drawn better here. He is not entirely comfortable behind horses so that might be some concern, but on his runs before last start, he's capable of breaking through before he gets the drop. #5 Golden Deer has dropped 35 ratings points since his peak two seasons back. He’s not shown a lot recently, but he’s got the ability to show up on his day. #2 Raging Bull has disappointed in recent starts since dropping into Class 4. The 1200m may be on the sharp side and he has drawn awkwardly, but this race is weak enough that he can get into the finish.

RACE 2: HERON HANDICAP

#10 Gentlemen has looked ready to break through for quite some time now, ever since getting the drop into Class 5. However, he has disappointed in the grade so far. Kei Chiong’s five-pound claim takes him down to 117 pounds, and he has drawn well, so maybe he’s worth another chance. #3 Golden Partners has been in good form this preparation and trainer Tony Millard finally looks to have unlocked the key to him. He needs things to go his way but he shapes as one of the main chances. #2 Eastern Prowess has slowly been working his way into form in recent starts, and his last two at Happy Valley have been very good. He has drawn slightly awkwardly here, but the 1800m provides for a nice run down to the first turn, so it may not be too much of a disadvantage. #4 Sweet Bean is always liable to bob up in one of these races. Jack Wong’s seven-pound claim gets him down to 125 pounds, which could prove crucial.

RACE 3: LYREBIRD HANDICAP

#11 Bliss Cartel is now 26 wins without a victory in Hong Kong. He has not been at this trip in two seasons, but this might be a shrewd move from David Ferraris and could perhaps see him break through for his first win. #6 Winningli wasn’t disgraced upon his return from a three-month lay-off last time out. He drops to Class 5 for the first time here, and while he may be better suited over 1650m, he is drawn to be able to get a nice run. He will be in the mix. Drawn directly to his inside is #8 Idyllic Wind, who gets a crucial jockey change from Alex Lai to Joao Moreira. He is better suited to the 1000m, but he may get a soft run here, so he is one to watch. #12 Intellectual Glide is another yet to win after 41 starts. He mixes his form, but is one to include in all exotics.

RACE 4: NIGHTJAR HANDICAP

#5 Best Step was just beaten by a short head over this course and distance last start. He has drawn awkwardly once more, but he will be victorious in short time and this looks a winnable race. #2 Flying Monkey makes his return here after almost seven months on the sidelines. He would be better suited over 1200m, but he has looked well-prepared for this and he does get Joao Moreira aboard. #1 Fish N' Chips ran below-par last start but it was a rare bad run from the consistent galloper. He doesn’t get Dylan Mo’s claim here, so he carries considerably more weight, but he still may find himself around the placings. #6 Ever Strong is a son of Savabeel making his first appearance here. He will need much further, but he has looked a nice style of horse in his trials. Maybe he can run into a placing late.

RACE 5: OWL HANDICAP

#2 Argentum has not been the most straightforward horse but he is capable of a big performance on his day in this grade. He has a good draw here, which could prove important, and he does also get a significant jockey upgrade to Sam Clipperton after he was a nervous first ride for apprentice Matthew Poon. #7 Victory Follow Me has found form gradually in Class 4. A victory is near, and it could very well come here in what is an open race. #1 Imperial Seal may have reached his mark after three wins at his last five starts. However, the claim of Jack Wong at least gives him some opportunity of adding one more victory. Lightly-raced #8 Scarborough Fair improved significantly for a step up in trip last start, running into fourth. He may need two or three more runs under his belt but he’s not far from putting it all together.

RACE 6: THE VICTORIA RACING CLUB TROPHY

#12 Ocean Roar may be looking for the drop into Class 4 again, but he is always capable of running a bold race over the Happy Valley 1000m, particularly with a soft draw. There are a couple of horses that could lead here, but if they don’t, he is capable of racing on-speed – such an asset over this course and distance. #1 Diamond Master has been racing consistently this season, getting within a neck at his last two. He’s best suited when allowed to stride along at his own leisure, which Joao Moreira may be forced to do from gate 10. He’ll be in the mix. #2 Perfect Choice failed to live up to market expectations on debut over the Sha Tin 1000m, but he was trapped in an awkward spot and had excuses. Expect improvement from him here. #3 Diego Kosta is drawn ideally once more and looks suited coming back to Happy Valley. He is hard to catch but there’s no reason he can’t be around the mark.

RACE 7: SWIFTLET HANDICAP

#8 Travel Datuk has finally drawn a gate over the 1200m for new trainer Me Tsui. He should get a nice run from barrier three and he looks set to break through soon. #5 Wayfoong Vinnie gets back in his races, which is not a great asset over the 1000m but is not as brutal over the 1200m. He still appears to have ratings points in hand and he will be hardest to beat. #4 Lotus Breeze is difficult to catch but he is drawn to enjoy all favours in the run under Brett Prebble. That could prove crucial. #10 Red Kylin has been working his way into form over the Sha Tin 1000m. His only Hong Kong win came over that course and distance, but he has not performed poorly at Happy Valley over 1200m so is worth inclusion with the track switch.

RACE 8: TROPICBIRD HANDICAP

#5 Super Sprinter won two Class 4 races over this course and distance at the end of last year. He has not been seen since December, although he was ruled out of an intended start two weeks back. Dylan Mo gets his weight down to 111 pounds and he has always looked capable of proving competitive in Class 3. #3 Sunny Win was very poor last time out at Sha Tin but had been in good shape before that. He was a two-time course and distance winner earlier this season and with Jack Wong's seven-pound claim, perhaps he could improve significantly. #6 Wisky rarely runs a bad race over the Happy Valley 1650m. He gets Umberto Rispoli aboard from a good gate and he is among the leading chances. Joao Moreira, who partnered Wisky last start, trades places with Rispoli on #7 Vara Pearl. He is consistent without winning and is more of a chance for the minors.