11/07/2016 11:07AM

Andrew Hawkins' Hong Kong Selections and analysis for Wednesday, November 9, 2016


(Wednesday, November 9, 2016)

RACE 1: #11 Noble Buddies, #4 Sparkling Talent, #5 Showing Character, #1 Smart Salute
RACE 2: #3 Yeung Sing, #8 Double Point, #10 Dutch Windmill, #5 Spicy Double
RACE 3: #9 Travel Ambassador, #7 Works Of Art, #5 Born To Race, #1 Kiram
RACE 4: #12 Yo-Yo Da, #3 Sharp Hunter, #5 Gracydad, #9 Packing Pegasus
RACE 5: #5 Never Better, #1 High Volatility, #4 Secret Agent, #6 Breeders' Star
RACE 6: #5 Dinozzo, #1 Inventor, #3 General Sherman, #2 Packing Dragon
RACE 7: #6 Apache Spirit, #11 I'm A Witness, #8 Who Else But You, #3 Navas
RACE 8: #2 Golden Harvest, #1 Blocker Dee, #12 Verbinsky, #4 Back In Black


A race with a number of speed influences that are likely to be fancied. Despite the fact speed generally holds over the Happy Valley 1000m, it may be worth taking them on, particularly Giddy Giddy. Before his debut, with a number of promising trials under his belt, it seemed impossible to fathom #11 Noble Buddies would get to a point where he'd be out of the handicap in Class 5. But 18 months later, after 19 starts and for a new trainer, that is exactly where he finds himself now. His last run was good enough and he really should be winning soon - there isn't much further for him to drop. #4 Sparkling Talent has produced the best runs of his Hong Kong career of late and might be suited by the way the race is likely to be run. Expect him to be flashing home. #5 Showing Character is becoming quite frustrating but is nearing a win, while #1 Smart Salute bears close watching down in class.


#3 Yeung Sing frequently seems to be the target of late betting plunges, with mixed results. However, the Happy Valley specialist is nearing another win, and with the plum gate, it would not surprise to see him heavily backed late again. The market suggested #8 Double Point would run an improved race last time out, which he did in finishing second to Mutual Joy. It was his best Happy Valley run to date but a repeat would see him close up here. The step up to the Happy Valley 1650m seemed to switch #10 Dutch Windmill on last time out, and the booking of Neil Callan is a plus. Next, #5 Spicy Double, with Joao Moreira jumping aboard - although he can be a bit hit and miss at times.


A race to look for horses that appear to be improving quickly. #9 Travel Ambassador has struggled to find his best form, but showed that he might be near finding form last time out with a top rider in Zac Purton finally jumping on. Now, Brett Prebble gets aboard from a good gate, and the Happy Valley 1650m should prove suitable. Keep him safe. #7 Works Of Art had trialled well enough but had been sorely disappointing in his first two starts. Last time out, with a step up to 1650m, he looked far better. With further improvement out of that run, he should be right in the mix again. #5 Born To Race is honest and is racing in good order, so he must be included, while #1 Kiram also goes in with the drop into Class 4 for the first time.


#12 Yo-Yo Da doesn't win too often but rarely runs a bad race, either. His last run was good and he looks a likely winner before the drop into Class 5. It was a long time between drinks for #3 Sharp Hunter before breaking through last start, but with that win under his belt, there's no reason why he can't go back-to-back. #5 Gracydad has shown flashes of brilliance in his 10 Hong Kong starts to date. He found the line nicely last time out and looks to be nearing a bottom. At big odds, keep close tabs on #9 Packing Pegasus. He looked a nice horse in his trials, but was very poor in two runs for his former trainer Andreas Schutz. Now with Peter Ho and with the blinkers applied, he could run a cheeky race.


#5 Never Better has had two very awkward draws at his two starts this season. He gets a much kinder draw here, which will give regular rider Douglas Whyte the opportunity to ride him closer to the speed if he chooses. He isn't the most straightforward horse but he does look to have another win in him off his current rating. #1 High Volatility finally broke through last time out with the booking of a senior rider in Zac Purton. The Australian retains the ride, and the jockey will once again have to be at his best with an awkward gate and 133 pounds to carry. Still, the son of Star Witness has always looked better than a Class 4 galloper, so if the race breaks the right way, he can go back-to-back. #4 Secret Agent has been around the mark plenty in recent runs, including a win in June. He was good first-up behind High Volatility, should be improved for the run and does get Neil Callan aboard now. #6 Breeders' Star comes out of the void race won by D B Pin two weeks ago, where he was significantly hampered and took no part. He looks on the cusp of a victory and this race over 1200m suits more than the 1000m he was supposed to travel last time out.


#5 Dinozzo's long-awaited debut did not disappoint with an eye-catching third in a very messy race won by Wah May Baby. It was an effort that suggested he will be winning races very quickly, and despite the more awkward draw here, he can break through for his first local victory. #1 Inventor's winning streak over the Happy Valley 1650m was broken when he finished second in that same Wah May Baby race. He loomed up to win but hung in significantly and was not disgraced. He has to carry 133 pounds here, but he is one of the main players again. #3 General Sherman has taken time to find his feet and has been a bit hit and miss, but has shown glimpses of talent and would be right up to winning this if he put it all together. The booking of Douglas Whyte is a positive, too. Next best, #2 Packing Dragon, who won over this course and distance last start but is unlikely to get a similar easy lead out in front under Kei Chiong.


#6 Apache Spirit was good first-up behind Molly's Jade Star in a race not run to suit. Zac Purton jumps off, with Karis Teetan jumping on, but it looks a more suitable race pace-wise for the French import. Gate 12 gives Teetan few options other than to ease him out and hope that the race will develop in his favour, allowing him to showcase his acceleration. #11 I'm A Witness is consistent and probably should have more than just the one win on his record. He is likely to be in the firing line early from gate three and it will be a matter of whether he can hold on. #8 Who Else But You resumed with a strong second to Victory Marvel. He has a far kinder draw this time around and Joao Moreira has stuck solid. #3 Navas caused a small upset with his win second-up after a passable Hong Kong debut. If he has made the same improvement here as he did between his first two starts, he will be right in the mix.


A fascinating Class 2 to close the card. #2 Golden Harvest's record over the 1200m at Happy Valley is stellar, with four wins and five placings from 13 starts. He was not beaten far in the G3 National Day Cup down the Sha Tin straight and was good over that same course last time out, finishing fifth at big odds. He gets in well with Kei Chiong's claim and can return to the winners' circle here. #1 Blocker Dee has always looked a nice horse but he seems to have gone to another level this season - and he has shown versatility in doing so. He has to carry plenty of weight but in his current form, he must be included. #12 Verbinsky gets in well at the bottom of the weights with only 119 pounds to carry. He is racing well currently and the weight break might prove crucial. Next best, #4 Back In Black, who still has to prove that he is not on his mark. However, he has looked in need of the run and should be ready to produce his best now.