09/26/2017 7:30PM

Thunder Stomp, Brave Legend aim to repeat recent victories


Thunder Stomp and Brave Legend look like the most interesting participants in a trio of Class 3 handicaps headlining the Wednesday night card at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong.

Both horses rise considerably up the ratings after big wins in their respective seasonal debuts. Thunder Stomp starts in race 7, a one-circuit 1,650-meter race, while Brave Legend goes in race 6, a 1,200-meter dash around roughly 1 1/2 turns of Happy Valley’s tight and irregularly configured course.

Brave Legend, a 4-year-old Australian-bred, has raced only three times in Hong Kong, and after a fourth and a sixth last season at Sha Tin, he showed an affinity for Happy Valley in a Class 3 sprint Sept. 6. Racing from ninth under jockey Matthew Chadwick, Brave Legend rallied down the center of the track to win by 2 1/4 lengths. All well and good, but now Brave Legend, who sticks at the same handicap level, must tote eight pounds more and do it again Wednesday under a 133-pound impost.

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As for Thunder Stomp in race 7, he has as many wins from one start this Hong Kong season as from 15 last season, and not only did Thunder Stomp break through at the Class 3 level, he did so with authority. With Joao Moreira in the saddle for the first time, Thunder Stomp stalked the pace on the outside, made the lead before the furlong grounds, and rushed away to win by three going the same 1,650-meter distance he races Wednesday night. Add four pounds to his burden because of that victory, and Thunder Stomp still has a chance to repeat in a field that also includes last-out winner Green Energy.

The eight-race card concludes with the last of the Class 3s, another 1,200-meter sprint that appears wide open.

First post for the card is 7:15 a.m. Eastern. Live video is available at drf.com/hk and wagering is available through www.drfbets.com.

Group stakes action begins Sunday

The first group stakes of the Hong Kong Season, the Group 3 National Day Cup over about five furlongs and the Group 3 Celebration Cup over about seven furlongs, are scheduled for Sunday at Sha Tin.

Beauty Only, one of Hong Kong’s best milers, is expected to be among the starters in the Celebration Cup, his first start since finishing sixth about three months ago in the Yasuda Kinen in Japan. Also expected for the Celebration Cup is Contentment.

Peniaphobia, Notlistenin’tome, and Amazing Kids are the headliners in the National Day Cup.

* The talented but mercurial Pakistan Star, who pulled himself up in his final start of the 2016-17 Hong Kong season, appears to have gotten over a recent foot problem and finished second in a training race (called a barrier trial in Hong Kong) on Tuesday.