11/21/2016 11:52AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS
(Wednesday November 23, 2016)

RACE 1: #2 Giddy Giddy, #6 Showing Character, #10 Great Speed, #11 King Of Smarts
RACE 2: #10 Win Chance, #5 Choice Exchequer, #4 Telephatia, #2 Island Flyer
RACE 3: #1 Buddy Bundy, #4 Gracydad, #12 Rugby Diamond, #3 Diamond Mysterious
RACE 4: #1 Glenealy Prize, #2 Speedy Achiever, #8 Robust Momentum, #7 Sight Seeing
RACE 5: #9 Winningli, #5 Super Sprinter, #3 Acclaimed Light, #7 Helen’s Choice
RACE 6: #10 Trendy Win, #9 Red Marvel, #3 California Joy, #1 Winston’s Lad
RACE 7: #6 Andoyas, #10 The Sylph, #3 Happy Spirit, #4 King Of Mongolia
RACE 8: #11 Beauty Connection, #8 Thor The Greatest, #7 Silver Spun, #2 Fabulous November

RACE 1: SAN PO KONG HANDICAP

#2 Giddy Giddy was a perfect horse to take on last time out in a race with plenty of speed, and so it showed as he weakened late. However, he didn’t weaken too badly, and in a race that looks to have less speed engaged, he should be able to get across easy enough from the outside stall and he may be able to hold off his rivals on the front end. #6 Showing Character has again drawn awkwardly and he is a little hit and miss, but he does look to have a win in him shortly in this grade. He just needs everything to fall right. #10 Great Speed has looked a winner-in-waiting since he switched to Peter Ho’s stable at the start of last season, but he is still yet to greet the judge. He has another nice draw so should be able to camp midfield, but he lacks that killer instinct in the final stages that he needs to gain a victory. Next best, #10 King Of Smarts with a raft of gear changes and a switch to senior rider Sam Clipperton.

RACE 2: TO KWA WAN HANDICAP

#10 Win Chance couldn’t have been more disappointing last time out at Sha Tin, not settling for one moment and weakening as would be expected. He has a better draw here and should be able to get a nicer run in transit, so expect vast improvement under young Irish gun Oisin Murphy. #5 Choice Exchequer raced alongside Win Chance in that same Sha Tin race, but was slightly held up at the top of the straight and he stuck on gamely. The wide gate means he will probably have to shoot forward and hope for a position, but if rider Karis Teetan makes his move early and has them chasing from the 600m, he might prove hard to run down. #4 Telephatia has the blinkers reapplied here for the first time in nearly two years. Given his first Hong Kong win came when they were removed, it is a risky proposition, but he is racing well enough that a gear chance could spark him to life. Next best, ever-consistent #2 Island Flyer.

RACE 3: KOWLOON CITY HANDICAP

A fairly weak race on paper looks to have two major chances in #1 Buddy Bundy and #4 Gracydad. The primary factor in Buddy Bundy’s favour is the better draw in gate three. He is an uncomplicated type in that he is likely to be on or near the speed, particularly from that gate, and he is racing well enough to suggest that a win is near. Joao Moreira jumps on Gracydad for the first time and he has looked a horse who has plenty of talent, although he is definitely quirky. However, he has drawn barrier 11, which is a nasty barrier for him, as he is a horse who looks like he needs everything to go his way. Still, he’s racing his way into form and so must be included. Outside of these two, the race looks a little thin. #12 Rugby Diamond is inconsistent but he is likely to go forward and make his own luck – it depends which Rugby Diamond turns up as to whether he is in the finish, though. Next best, #3 Diamond Mysterious, who hopefully is allowed to race closer to the speed here under claimer Kei Chiong.

RACE 4: KOWLOON CITY HANDICAP

Few horses in Hong Kong have been as disappointing as #1 Glenealy Prize. He was sent out an odds-on favourite at his first two starts, winning his second start in Class 4 to burst into Class 3. Ever since though, he has looked a shadow of the horse he was early on. Now, for the first time since his only win, he returns to Class 4, and he also makes his Happy Valley debut here. It remains to be seen whether he will be entirely suited around here, but the drop in class is a big plus and he does get in-form Nash Rawiller aboard. It is worth giving him another chance. #2 Speedy Achiever is another dropping in class, and while he has been out of form this time around, he looks capable of winning in Class 4 and he gets leading rider Joao Moreira aboard. #8 Robust Momentum is racing well enough at the moment and a return to Happy Valley is a plus, while #7 Sight Seeing maps well and should be right in the mix.

RACE 5: MA TAU WAI HANDICAP

#9 Winningli looks a typical Hong Kong project horse, slowly learning about the caper as he improves and his rating drops to a point where he is competitive. He may still need a couple more but he has looked an improved animal in the mornings and this race is not overly strong. His last run was better after coming off the bit early and the step up to 1650m looks to be in his favour. Expect him to be right in this. #5 Super Sprinter is racing in good heart but a number of circumstances have played against him in his four starts this season – either he has been stuck wide, or he has got a long way back in races run at a sedate tempo and he has found the line strongly but too late. This time, he’s drawn the inside so he should not be caught wide, and this looks like being run solidly. It’s the most suitable race he’s struck this season, so he deserves one more chance. #3 Acclaimed Light might need to drop a little more through the ratings but what you see is what you get with him and his usual honest run will pick up a race somewhere. Next best #7 Helen’s Choice, who is more renowned as a dirt specialist but who has won over this course and distance in the past. He should be near the lead with Kei Chiong aboard and he can stick on for a placing.

RACE 6: HUNG HOM HANDICAP

#10 Trendy Win makes for an interesting proposition here. He is a fairly consistent type who stuck on nicely first-up behind Victory Marvel over 1200m. He has run some nice races at the 1200m in the past, but the 1650m is his pet distance so the step up in trip here is a plus and he is at a mark where he should be able to win again. #9 Red Marvel does not win out of turn, with only one win from his 19 Hong Kong starts. He has drawn wide again but Joao Moreira does jump on so he is one to watch closely. #3 California Joy was being touted as a leading Hong Kong Derby player at the start of this season, but after one very narrow win in this class, he has disappointed at his last three. He switches to Happy Valley now, but would need to turn his form around to be a chance here. That is a possibility, but perhaps it would be in his favour to be ridden colder. Another horse that has disappointed is #1 Winston’s Lad, who has looked like a good horse when in Class 3 in the past but has been unable to capitalise in Class 2. The return to Class 3 is a plus, even if the extended mile is some query.

RACE 7: HUNG HOM HANDICAP

It remains a mystery how #6 Andoyas has not won a race in Hong Kong yet despite a number of nice performances. Generally they have been over further than this race’s 1650m, but fresh and with a significantly lower rating than his arrival mark of 82, he can break through here under Zac Purton. #10 The Sylph is one of Hong Kong’s notable bridesmaids, but he is always a chance when he can get a nice trail on the back of the speed and find the line late. Joao Moreira jumps aboard again from the inside gate, so he remains a chance. #3 Happy Spirit is a go-forward type who should be suited with a return to 1650m, especially with strongman rider Neil Callan aboard. Even if others jump out and search for the lead, he can camp handy and should get a nice run. A good gate for once should ensure #4 King Of Mongolia produces a better effort. The jury’s still out as to whether the 1650m is really his best trip, despite the fact he won at the distance last year, but this race looks ideal for him.

RACE 8: HO MAN TIN HANDICAP

#11 Beauty Connection has had “soon-to-be winner” stamped all over him since he unexpectedly found form at his last run of last season. Three of his four runs this season have been solid efforts, and he has his hoof on the till. Of slight concern is that he is yet to show anything at 1200m, but his three runs at the trip came on dirt so perhaps it is worth forgetting all of those. He has drawn an ideal gate here in four, which should allow him to get a perfect run in transit, and really, we should discover here whether he can really see out a strong 1200m. #8 Thor The Greatest is a straightforward type, in that he generally presses forward and makes his own luck. Last time out, though, he was a bit awkwardly away and was taken back, still running on well enough. Stepping back up to 1200m, one would expect him to go forward again and he will be in the firing line for a long way. #7 Silver Spun debuted well at the day meeting at the city track late last month. He has drawn out wide here but natural improvement should see him in the mix. It’s open race beyond these, though. #2 Fabulous November has been hopelessly out of form but has won over this course and distance before and with the cheek pieces reapplied, perhaps he can be more switched on here, while a special mention can be given to #5 Crown Avenue at his debut – he has trialled well and Zac Purton jumps aboard for his first start.