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The Davis Files - Happy Valley

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, October 21st, 2020: 

RACE 1 SHUM WAN HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:09.16   Standard Time: 1:09.90   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: WINNING FEELING (AUS 5yo g O’Reilly – Rabsha) grabs win two of the career as he finds some improvement in form off two relatively ordinary looking runs so far this season, a real lift this time. He had gone off at $23 and $26 in the two starts this term, backed heavily $7.60 to $5.30 tonight so some real confidence in him third up. A perfect draw used well, slotted straight into the trail and did not need to go around a horse in taking the rails run in securing an easy victory in the hands of Neil Callan. He was loyal to the horse, had ridden him in both starts for David Ferraris this season. That is two wins at the track and distance for the son of O’Reilly who kicked off his career in Australia under Tony McEvoy, then onto Will Clarkson.
Runner-up: COURAGEOUS DRAGON sat fourth the outer in a great spot and resolutely ran on off this good tempo. In a race where they made it difficult for the backmarkers he was well poised to improve his form. Je’s a moderately performed six-year-old, just 12 starts realising four minor placings and is still without a win after debuting two years ago. Chris So must have some faith in him. 
Run Of The Race: Nothing too notable here, winner WINNING FEELING was superior despite gaining a good run. ENCHANTING wasn’t too bad first up for John Size. Made ground after getting back. He’s a former 325,000 Euro yearling by Zoffany who was unraced offshore. Favourite NAMJONG SINGS did make up plenty of ground without really threatening, but a game fourth under 132lb.
Disappointment: STREET SCREAM had a nice run in transit and looked a sharp chance coming to the turn but did not flatten out over the final stages.
Comparison: Incredibly good speed to start the night, rattling through the 1200m to be just 0.24 outside record speed so this track is lightning. Rated ‘Good to Firm’ to start the night. 
Market Mover: WINNING FEELING $7.60 to $5.30


RACE 2 WATERFALL BAY HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:40.06   Standard Time: 1:40.30   Course/Class Record: 1:39.11

Winner: VIRTUS STAR (AUS 5yo g Sebring – Princess Natural) gains that elusive victory that had become frustratingly hard to find. In start 22 he finally salutes the judge off a lovely ride from Alexis Badel who quickly converts a second placing last start in his first ride on the horse to a winning one this time. Trainer Frankie Lor took over the training mid-way through last season after David Hall had tried without success. Lor gets him off the bottom of the ratings ladder, into the race with just 21 points. Class 5 will help him maintain the ability to earn, he will rise slowly in points and remain in the grade for some time to come yet. It would not surprise if the son of Sebring finds win number two very soon – that is usually the blueprint for these horses that struggle to win their first. His dam’s half-brother Zizou (Fusaichi Pegasus) ran second in both the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper (behind Forensics) and ultimately ended up in Asia as a sire. He left stakes winner Everage, Marseille Roulette, Pitstop and Zoutenant in Australia.
 Runner-up: TREASURE CHEST (relegated) sat on speed and kicked hard, straight past the leader turning for home and brave under fire, albeit in a tussle for the same blade of grass halfway down. His first placing this season in start four, and in the top three only twice now in 16 runs for Ricky Yiu. This was his ninth consecutive start in Class 5 so he has had his opportunities. Promoted from third to second after an enquiry was WINNERS BROTHER who trailed and was checked in the straight looking for a run, the minor placings reversed after stewards viewed the film. He had run 12th at Sha Tin first up for the season so good improvement from him second up. 
Run Of The Race: VIRTUS STAR the standout, NITRO EXPRESS not to be dropped, a trifle unlucky not to have finished a bit closer. 
Disappointment: SWEETLY BABY was slow out then back and wide with cover but over-raced and failed to respond under the urgings of Joao and ran poorly. MY FAMILY bled. 
Comparison: Under standard in an evenly paced race without fireworks. 
Market Mover: POLYMER LUCK $12.80 to $9.40, VIRTUS STAR $4.10 to $3.10

RACE 3 TIN WAN HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:39.41   Standard Time: 1:40.10   Course/Class Record: 1:38.83

Winner: INCANTO PREPARED (NZ 5yo g Per Incanto – Prepared) breaks the maiden duck in taking this at start 14 for the powerhouse combination of trainer John Size and jockey Joao Moreira. And Joao was a little blessed coming for home, the red sea opened for him on the rail as others eased outward around the home turn, leaving a big gap to take – no second invitation needed. He always runs well this horse, just finds it hard to win as many do in Hong Kong. Third up off the spell and off an encouraging fifth at the track and distance on October 7 he seemed well placed with racing luck and just 118lb on his back tonight. He won a couple of trials in New Zealand for Howie Mathews before export. Perfectly Ready dam Prepared won twice at 1400m and 1600m. 
Runner-up: NUNCHUKS zipped home beautifully from last, powering past all but one in the home straight in solidifying his form off the back off a grade rise after winning a mile in Class 5 at Sha Tin on October 11.  His three runs this season have all been eye-catchers, racing very well for the hot stable of Caspar Fownes and ready to win again in Class 4 at the bottom of the weights. His best form could even come at 1800m to 2000m if Fownes has a look at further.  
Run Of The Race: NUNCHIKS exceptionally good making up a large amount of acreage from last in race-best 23.04 the final 400m. Along with the winner (23.11) he was clearly superior to the field tonight. 
Disappointment: MELBOURNE HALL gained a sweet run on the fence under Zac Purton, eased into a gap nicely off the turn and simply offered nothing. Very bland run. Vetted, no findings. 
Comparison: Seven-tenths under standard and four-tenths outside record speed so a very genuinely run race. 
Market Mover: UNIVERAL GO GO $13.80 to $8.60, NUNCHUKS $17.70 to $11.10

RACE 4 SHEK PAI WAN HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good TF
Time: 0:56.97   Standard Time: 0:57.15   Course/Class Record: 0:56.39

Winner: WE THE SOUTH (AUS 4yo g Your Song – Tonkatsu) was in a right old mood pre-race throwing Joao Moreira in the birdcage and in general terms being a pest. Once Joao got back on board and around to the start things calmed down until he leapt out of the gates like a rocket from the wide draw, straight to the lead and too good. Not the first time this horse has done that – he won two under remarkably similar circumstances last season when trained by John Moore. Nowadays he is with Frankie Lor who, alongside Joao, was registering his second win on tonight’s card. He was run down after leading first up this season but pushing towards a three-month hiatus there so obviously he was improved with that run. He now heads to Class 3 and a stern test for him up against the better sprinters. Inside draws and no weight help. 
Runner-up: HAPPY GOOD GUYS was the only logical danger as they swept around the home turn, the Zoustar gelding has followed the winner every tick of the clock in the trail and had something to offer – on this occasion second was the best he could do. He was a bit disappointing last time around with a 10lb claim but better tonight with a senior rider on in Antoine Hamelin. Good honest horse this. 
Run Of The Race: ARDENODE was well fancied but you could tell he was in trouble at the 600m when the speed was on up front and they were not looing likely to come back to the pack. After racing well beyond midfield his finishing burst was full of purpose. Incredible to think he is still a Hong Kong maiden after 19 starts after winning two from three in France, one at listed level. JAZZ STEED outstanding from near last the fence, dashing home strongly into fourth.
Disappointment: HIN YUEN BIS no real threat to them here, however not disappointing, just disappointing he was further off-pace than expected and unable to figure as he had the previous start when up sharing the speed. Give another chance. 
Comparison: Joao went lickety split early to gain the lead, eased them a furlong and then off again. Under standard but long way off record speed.
Market Mover: LITTLE THUNDER $25.00 to $12.00
RACE 5 TIN WAN HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:40.60   Standard Time: 1:40.10   Course/Class Record: 1:38.83

Winner: MURRAY’S PARTNERS (NZ 5yo g Towkay – Taatyana) carries on with his winning ways but not without some concern given it took him 1645 of the 1650m to look like the winner. The race became a real walk-and-sprint affair and rider Karis Teetan knew this, making a quick move at the 600m when the pace will still out of the race, then he was caught for sharp speed around the home turn. As he has before he ran right through the line and that won it for him, any less determination and he does not win this. Dennis Yip has enjoyed a great run with the son of Towkay, that is three wins (two before season’s end) and a third in his last four starts. Took him 13 starts to break maiden status, now he is 16 starts three wins. Yip has tried him at 2000m in the past and will likely go that way now he finds himself in Class 3. 
Runner-up: ANONYMA set all the terms and a very cagey ride from Alex Lai nearly saw him chalk up his first winner of the season. The South African gelding has a moderate record and improves that here, stole some really cheap sectionals through the run tonight and kicked on well. He would really benefit from a look in Class 5 – winning would come easy for him in that grade. 
Run Of The Race: No star performances but hard not to give the winner a good rap for him determination in a race that really did not play out to suit him but he still got the job done. 
Disappointment: DAILY BEAUTY was very bland again, twice in a row he’s looked a winning chance at the turn and not given a lot in the run home. Maybe the firm tracks are not totally his cup of tea.  Vetted, no findings.
Comparison: A full half-second above the standard in a real walking race. 
Market Mover: MURRAY’S PARTNERS $2.50 to $2.10

RACE 6 KONG SIN WAN HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good TF
Time: 0:56.62   Standard Time: 0:56.85   Course/Class Record: 0:56.11

Winner: EXPLOSIVE WITNESS (AUS 6yo g Star Witness – Rocket Baby) was brilliant returning from a spell to win this, an exceptional performance to come from a long way back and pick them up. A very smart horse with a list of injuries in the past, the Caspar Fownes-trained gelding has finally hit top gear now he is sound and the results are showing. He’d proven too good at the end of last season with a similar performance over 1000m to win and was even better on the other side of the break tonight, showing a quality few possess – raw speed. And he needed it, there was still two or more lengths to make inside the final 100m of the race and he got there to claim his third career win, second in Hong Kong, after a one-start one-win Aussie campaign for Greg Eurell before his export. Karis rides a treble, going very well the great Mauritian jockey. Now in second spot on the jockey’s premiership. 
Runner-up: FABULOUS EIGHT exceedingly good, on speed and flying along and nailed by a stunning effort on the line. This horse knows not how to run a bad race, a genuine customer he is currently enjoying some weight relief in Class 3 and another victory inevitable. On-pace with a grand ability to cruise at high speed is his forte.  
Run Of The Race: EXPLOSIVE WITNESS easily the pick of the bunch though HEART CONQUERED rattled home underneath him from well back and must be admired for his tenacity in the straight, too. A market move for that horse was close to be very right. 
Disappointment: Maybe HARMONY N RICH after sharing the pace and he was favourite. But beaten only late into fourth and fighting his way all the way home he is gaining a pass mark, not a black mark. 
Comparison: Under standard in a solidly run affair. Off the sectionals EXPLOSIVE WITNESS (21.95) heads FABULOUS EIGHT (23.05) so the 400m splits were vastly different.
Market Mover: HEART CONQUERED $21.00 to $14.00

RACE 7 SHA WAN HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:39.34   Standard Time: 1:39.80   Course/Class Record: 1:38.61

Winner: HEAVENLY THOUGHT (AUS 6yo g So You Think – God Love It) chalks up his second win in Hong Kong in start 25, not a stellar career to date by any means but remembering a tough introduction for him as he was immediately into Class 2 when he arrived in Hong Kong as the winner of the Group 3 Grand Prix at Doomben before running second in the G1 Queensland Derby in 2018. Frankie Lor had to manufacture a plan to suit him, his best form in Australia at 2200m and opportunities a little less here at those longer trips. It took him 13 starts to fill a top three position, found his feet and won over 1650m mid-season last term, and returns a better horse this season, now placed and won in two starts. He had to work for his breakfast, the runner up dug in deep and made it a good battle, Joao Moreira finding enough when it mattered. A treble for Frankie Lor, a super night at the office.
Runner-up: REEL BIZZY kicked hard to win but was outstayed late as the winner slipped underneath him around the turn and maintained that neck advantage for the rest of the way home. Solid start to his 2020-2021 campaign with now three consecutive placings on the board all at Happy Valley over the 1650m, the track and trip he was successful at five starts ago in May. His connections will be rewarded very soon. 
Run Of The Race: Two to like from back in the field, WEALTHY DELIGHT with a purposeful sprint out in centre track was the eye-catcher, a nice run from the former Warnambool winner for Mick Price as ‘Kanaloche’. He is yet to put the hoof in the till in Hong Kong but this indicates that will soon change. And put NAMJONG PLUS in the black book, some fine work from him very late in the piece from a long way back. 
Disappointment: Money was on but SURREALISM seemed to get his chance and could not go on with it. 
Comparison: A very genuine tempo and well under standard. On pace seemed best suited, though the rail was the best place to be all night. 
Market Mover: ENTRUSTED $17.20 to $10.00, SURREALISM $12.40 to $8.20

RACE 8 PO CHONG WAN HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good TF
Time: 1:08.75   Standard Time: 1:09.65   Course/Class Record: 1:08.68

Winner: GRATEFUL HEART (AUS 4yo g Written Tycoon – Show Affection) was a horse that soon showed ability in Australia, winning two from three starts under the tutelage of Peter and Paul Snowden in Sydney. He galloped his way to a pair of slick 1000m wins before making his way across to Hong Kong and of course into a tough Class 3 grade. Four starts last season and the best of those a sixth. The turnaround in seasons has seen him benefit, a very nice run first up when fourth at Sha Tin on the all-weather track the dress rehearsal for his best effort yet, a big win here sharing speed and kicking too well. He was $A625,000 through the yearling sales and initially bought by the China Horse Club. Some ground to make up on that bid, but he is on his way. Another victory for Alexis Badel who grabs a winning double, and for trainer Danny Shum a win to end his night in style. 
Runner-up: HIGH RISE SOLDIER sat sixth the outer and was very resolute in his endeavours late, wound up nicely in the middle of the track with blinkers on to take second money. He is winless in HK after 12 starts but racing his way to winning form now. Was a two-time winner as ‘Lion’s Head’ for the Snowden’s in Sydney so a ‘pseudo’ Snowden quinella this race. 
Run Of The Race: GRATEFUL HEART put the writing on the wall, dominant from outside leader and on his way to better things now. Tidy work from WIND N GRASS over the latter stages. 
Disappointment: PRINCE OF GEMS raced ungenerously on the fence tonight and did not offer his best. His previous form suggested a much better performance so Tony Millard will have to regroup after this. Vetted, no findings. AMAZING KIWI also below his better form after receiving a nice run. Vetted, irregular heart rhythm.
Comparison: Flying here, the record speed got a real nudge as they went 0.08 outside that mark in a very swiftly run affair. On pace held all the aces. 
Market Mover: AMAZING KIWI $13.40 to $9.80

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