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The Davis Files - Happy Valley review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, January 20th 2021:

RACE 1 TSEUK LUK HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 2200m – Track Good 
Time: 2:16.86   Standard Time: 2:17.85   Course/Class Record: 2:16.06

Winner: PRETTY BAUHINIA (AUS 8yo g Danzero – Li’l Miss Haley) once won three within five starts in the 2017-2018 season – but since that June 2018 success to complete the hat trick there has been few reasons to smile for connections. Finally, he bounces back to form tonight, aided by a lovely ide from Christophe Soumillon he produces the best finish in the middle of the track to win his first in over two and a half years. Me Tsui gets paid for perseverance, there had been some trying times and the odd bright moment with this horse. Back to Class 4 he will go. That may stop him winning again for a while. 
Runner-up: NURMEBERG set all the pace, was tackled by a couple of fresh attackers 850m from home and had to get on his bike again, so to kick back so well and hold second a game run from the 12-start maiden in Hong Kong. No surprise to see him show form in Class 5, he started off in Class 3 after winning his lone start in Great Britain at Ascot over 1400m. 
Run Of The Race: SKY GEM made up many lengths from the tail of the field to run third and another tidy performance from the Class 5 mainstay. He has had just one run in Class 4 since July 2019, a fair stay in the low grade. 
Disappointment: SHINEALOT was given a good ride by Purton but the horse found lacking when the pressure went on over the final half mile. Chad Schofield gave the well backed GENERAL DINO every chance - was not good enough on the night in fourth.
Comparison: A full second under standard so a good gallop, they did pull up a bit after finding spots but really got cracking from the 1000m onwards. 
Market Mover: GENERAL DINO $13.00 to $7.90

RACE 2 SAM CHUK HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good 
Time: 1:09.76   Standard Time: 1:09.90   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: WOOD ON FIRE (NZ 5yo g Per Incanto – Lutine Belle) Finally drew a low barrier and that was all he needed, taking full toll of a much easier run in transit to score with ease for trainer Peter Ho who broke through the 600m win barrier in Hong Kong last week. This gelding had drawn 12,12,9,12 in his past four starts, was able to win now three starts back at this track and distance after working overtime. Nice ride from Keith Leung tonight, steadied him just off the leaders heels and swopped centre-track with perfect timing to win going away. 
Runner-up: DOLLAR REWARD sat juts behind the pace and rounded his race off strongly. A nice run from a horse who has been plying his trade on the all-weather track and in 18 starts over the past season and a half juts three runs on the turf track. He had the magical Antoine Hamelin on board, fresh off that five-timer at Sha Tin on Sunday and that must have rubbed off on him.
Run Of The Race: VICTORY IN HAND was posted wide for much of the journey from gate 12 and rallied superbly under pressure, he was entitled to be first beaten but his fortitude was notable. 
Disappointment: The well backed SMART CHARADE simply got too far back, made a good slice of ground from home turn to winning post but always too far away.
Comparison: Under standard in a nice solidly run race. 
Market Mover: WOOD ON FIRE $5.10 to $4.10

RACE 3 NG FONG HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good 
Time: 0:57.39   Standard Time: 0:57.30   Course/Class Record: 0:56.87

Winner: OVERSUBSCRIBED (AUS 5yo g Reward For Effort – Underfoot) was so brave in running fourth here last week in making big ground from back and wide it would seem he was ready to find winning form again. David Hall booked Zac Purton and the job was done, the great rider had him in the trail from gate seven and waiting to pounce, not a bad effort. It took the length of the straight to wear down a gallant leader Viva Mama but he put the nose down at the right time. He returns to Class 4 now and may need to find a drop to this grade again to be winning another.
Runner-up: VIVA MAMA was gallant, outside leader and in front as Keith Leung made sure the tempo was good, kicked on them at the top of the straight and did everything but win. The first showing of form in 10 starts for the Aussie bred who was bought for $340,000 NZD by Peter Ho out of a 2yo Breeze Up Sale. 
Run Of The Race: A couple to follow out of were READY CONQUEROR and FLYING MONKEY both doing some nice work late in the race. 
Disappointment: ARDENODE presented for his run at the right time and battled over the concluding stages. Vetted and substantial blood found in the trachea. 
Comparison: Just a tick above standard but solidly run. 
Market Mover: FLYING MONKEY $6.80 to $4.70
Suspended: Antoine Hamelin (TELECOM MISSILE) careless riding at the 800m, two days. 

RACE 4 SAM CHUK HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good 
Time: 1:09.97   Standard Time: 1:09.90   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: WINSTON’S LAD (AUS 9yo g Churchill Downs – Caralowe) proves there is still some dash left in those old legs, the veteran racing his way back into best form with a brilliant burst in the centre of the track to overpower JOLLY GOOD HEART extremely late in the piece. Wonderful old horse, he has now won nine of 63 for Francis Lui, he must be an old stable favourite. All the way back to November 2015 when he debuted and won in Hong Kong and doubled up when he won his second start a month later. Plenty of trips to the races since but in his sixth season in Hong Kong still winning, a great achievement. Lovely ride from Karis Teetan who was having just his second ride on the horse.
Runner-up: JOLLY GOOD HEART gave it everything, jumped well to push the issue early from an inside gate and held his lead, Purton able to control it form there. He gave a kick good enough to win but barnstorming out wide came Winston’s Lad and caught up with him late. The first time in the top three for this Australian import who won a Bendigo maiden in November 2019 and headed offshore after. Close to finding his groove. 
Run Of The Race: SMILING FACE is one to watch particularly closely next time around. Last on the fence and giving them a big start, he made up many lengths in the run home to scoot into fourth. Placed twice as a Griffin last season, this his best performance in four starts this term and on his way to better form for trainer Douglas Whyte.
Disappointment: SPLIT OF A SECOND was expected to go well from gate one and after getting the right run failed to run it out. 
Comparison: Just a tock above standard which matches the previous 1200m sprint. 
Market Mover: WINSTON’S LAD $9.70 to $8.10

RACE 5 SZE MEI HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good 
Time: 1:40.16   Standard Time: 1:40.10   Course/Class Record: 1:38.83

Winner: FAST PACE (AUS 5yo g Savabeel – Caesour’s Promise) breaks through for a second time this season, Caspar Fownes has kept him busy and he seems to thrive on the racing start eight of this campaign and getting better as he goes. Neil Callan knows him well, has ridden him in each of his last six starts and his feel for the horse was a factor in winning this race. A big, one-paced type, Callan knows he needs to get him out in the open and rolling earlier than others would need, tonight he came out of the one-one sit to make his move at the 600m to gets those big legs rolling. Too tough for them once he found the lead after turning in. A $A230,000 yearling in Australia before being turned over for $HK 3 million at the International Sale in Hong Kong.
Runner-up: GLORIOUS LOVER zipped home nicely from sixth the outer to make it a wee bit interesting inside the final furlong but came up well short in the end. Good continuation of some consistent minor placings from the Irish-bred with Me Tsui, a maiden win in Hong Kong looks imminent. He won a UK maiden and placed at listed level at Ascot over 1400m. 
Run Of The Race: From the back STAY CHILL ran a strong last 400m in 23.40 which was a race best to run into fifth. Worth following.  
Disappointment: Favourite MORE THAN ENOUGH had his opportunity sharing the pace and though he found only soundly just had nothing to match the top pair tonight. 
Comparison: Around the standard mark again, track is on that slightly dead side of good looking at the times. 
Market Mover: FAST PACE $6.00 to $4.30

RACE 6 SAM CHUK HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good 
Time: 1:09.63   Standard Time: 1:09.90   Course/Class Record: 1:08.92

Winner: STOCK LEGEND (AUS 4yo g Sidestep – Adjourn) goes back-to-back in impressive style, the shortest favourite of the night a bit too sharp for these in coming in fresh up off a last-start win at this track on October 7. He had been sent to Conghua post that win for a change in scenery and returned to Francis Lui to trial twice at Sha Tn in the lead up to this, going nicely on both occasions. Gate one and Moreira up tonight and he was all punters wanted, the champ settling him fifth the rail, quickly out of there at the point of the turn and he was off and gone. After winning a trial for the strong Sydney stable of Bjorn Baker he was exported.
Runner-up: PRANCE DRAGON found himself in a nice place sixth the outer, tracked up into the race at the corner but the bird had flow at this stage, second money was all he was going to collect. A nice tidy run in his first showing of form this season for new trainer Benno Yung who took over from Tony Millard. Getting to a much more competitive rating again and his win will come. 
Run Of The Race: The leaders all punctured and that meant those from back came into play late, three good efforts from HAPPILY FRIENDS, YEE CHEONG WARRIOR, and AMAZING BOY all rattling out strong last 400m splits to finish third, fourth, and fifth respectively. 
Disappointment: COLONEL as he can offers something less than expected. He was outside leader here and where he wanted to be but no fight in the straight. Vetted, no findings. Will have to barrier trial. 
Comparison: Best time on the night out of the three Class 1200m races, this winner capable of running time, of course.
Market Mover: COLONEL $11.30 to $7.70
Suspended: Matthew Poon (GARLIC HERO) careless riding at the 200m. Two days. 

RACE 7 TAI YAU HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good 
Time: 1:39.84   Standard Time: 1:39.80   Course/Class Record: 1:38.61

Winner: WEALTHY DELIGHT (AUS 4yo g Lord Kaniloa – Bariloche) breaks through for John Size to win his Hong Kong maiden and it will not be his last. The 1400m Warnambool winner for Mick Prince and Michael Kent joined up with John Size in 2020 and took a few starts to find his way. A late December placing was strong coming from well off the pace and that led to this victory, again, coming from well off the speed and too quick for them under the guidance of Joao Moreira. 
Runner-up: SUNNY STAR sprinted up underneath the winner around the home turn and could not go with him, kicked back strongly all the way to the wire and loses no friends with this run. He has put together a tidy record lately after showing high promise as a Griffin. 
Run Of The Race: Powering home was NABOO STAR one of his good efforts, je can mix his form a bit but when in the mood he is a very handy horse. And CHARITY FUN goes in the black book, made up many lengths from the top of the straight to dash into fourth. 
Disappointment: The leaders all punctured again and one of those on pace was LEWIS who carried plenty of money but could not in out. 
Comparison: Right on standard which in under par based on the night’s racing. Good solid clip.
Market Mover: WEALTHY DELIGHT $5.60 to $3.60, BEAUTY SPIRIT $24.00 to $16.60

RACE 8 SHEUNG HEI HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good 
Time: 1:09.67   Standard Time: 1:09.65   Course/Class Record: 1:08.68

Winner: SCORES OF FUN (AUS 4yo g Reward For Effort – Montana Hilton) is one of those horses every trainer wants, a push button send to the races and get a result sort of horse. He wins another, registers his second for the season to go with five second-place finishes, juts a wee professional. Vagner Borges jumps aboard for the first time and gets it done, had to squeeze his way through a needle eye gap after turning for home but once clear he point an exclamation mark it and ran right away. Edges his way to a Class 2 start, won with 83 points tonight so ever closer to that 80-point threshold. Not that a rise in class may matter, with minimal weight he would prove quite dangerous. 
Runner-up: SPARKLING DRAGON got through the line nicely from a way off them and continues to improve each run, his fourth this campaign and his last two particularly good indeed. Lightly raced the past season or so he is nearing the form that has seen him win five from 22 starts, no mug. 
Run Of The Race: At 100/1 MR LUMIERES was found doing strong work late. His 23.44 final 400m bettered only by the top two and not by much. Could be on his way to better form for trainer Davis Hall, he has been a handy performer over time with four wins from just 27 starts. 
Disappointment: IMA SINGLE MAN missed the lick badly and never seemed to want to gallop finishing a tailed off and lonely last. Vetted, no findings. Deemed unsatisfactory. 
Comparison: Anther right on standard which proves t be good work and under par. 
Market Mover: IMA SINGLE MAN $4.70 to $2.70

RACE 9 SHEUNG HEI HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 – Turf ‘C’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good 
Time: 1:08.99   Standard Time: 1:09.65   Course/Class Record: 1:08.68

Winner: IGNITING (AUS 4yo g Starspangledbanner – Sell It May) just blitzes them, sets all terms in front and kicks away off the home turn like he had been shot out of a cannon. Zac Purton claims a late riding double in guiding this one to the easiest success of the night. The hints were there in three previous Hong Kong outings, but he strikes peak form here. A two-win horse out of the Maher-Eustace stable in Victoria, he arrived into the stable of Francis Lui. It would seem he is well placed currently in the ratings around the 70-mark after this win, he should gain further success in Class 3 based on this. 
Runner-up: LOVING A BOOM ran home strongly as he always does, a top effort with the 133lb on his back. A bit better than the majority in the grade but the weight scale is what evens things up and he must carry that weight despite having only won the once in Hong Kong. A bit of help from the handicapper would help his cause. 
Run Of The Race: Liked the run of FALCON TURBO, he was noticeable late and a horse to watch next time around. He has placed a couple of times this season and should gain some rewards soon, a nice tidy effort this after getting back from a middle gate. 
Disappointment: KINDA COOL was kinda luckless tonight, sat fourth but wide, and on this speed all done before the corner and he faded right out to run last. 
Comparison: Red hot time and it shows you what they can do when the hammer goes down. Purton gave them no chance in behind setting this tempo, they were all beaten at the turn. 
Market Mover: IGNITING $5.60 to $3.40, HERE COMES TED $9.60 to $5.70

 

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