Hong Kong


The Davis Files - Happy Valley review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, March 3rd, 2021:


Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.90  Standard Time: 1:40.30 Course/Class Record: 1:39.11 Glory Star 

Winner: ALL BEST FRIENDS (AUS 7yo g Street Cry – Ambitious Lady) was awkward to begin and ended up on the rail in the back four of the field. There were seven across the track going into the first turn and the leaders worked particularly hard over the second and third sectionals, which ultimately set it up for a back-marker. Worked home steadily from the 500m and was one of the only horses running through the line. This now takes his record to five wins and six placings from 62 career starts and has won two from 25 on the track. 

Runner-Up: TAILOR MADE was in that initial line-up of seven going into the first turn but Ho made the wise decision to back off and take a sit a few pairs back. Was revved up 500m from home and passed some very tired horses in the straight but was eventually overrun by the winner. Has now placed three from his past four and is nearing a win. 

Run Of The Race: Cannot take anything away from the winner ALL BEST FRIENDS. Missed the kick, didn’t really get clear running in the straight until the last 150m and motored home over the top of them. Needs the right conditions to win and got them on the night. 

Disappointment: GALAXY RAIDER was well-supported in betting and had the run of the race off the speed, one off the fence outside the eventual winner. Couldn’t sprint with them in the straight and was a bit plain. 

Comparison: The first half of the race was run quite fast as they found their positions, but overall time was slightly slower than standard time, setting it up for one to come from behind. 

Market Mover: NITRO EXPRESS $7.50 to $4.70 


Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.54 Standard Time: 1:40.10 Course/Class Record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Winner: NUNCHUKS (NZ 6yo g O’Reilly – Mama’s Choice) was given a perfect run in transit with Ho taking full advantage of the inside barrier. Was able to settle midfield on the rails and get into a nice rhythm before being shaken up and pulling off the fence on the turn. Let down with full momentum in the straight whilst Lady First was still looking for clear air and went on to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Takes his record to three wins and two placings from 17 starts and two from nine at the track. 

Runner-Up: SAVVY KINGMAN had to do all of the work from an outside barrier and found himself three-wide no cover for most of the trip. Hit the lead at the 200m mark before the ultimate winner powered over the top of them. A brave run and will pay to follow. 

Run Of The Race: SAVVY KINGMAN had the hardest run of the race and had no right to be in the placings. Battled on gamely in the straight when horses that had softer runs than him were fading. This was his first start at Happy Valley and can only take improvement from that. Will be going close if he can draw a low gate. 

Disappointment: SMILING FACE was well-supported in betting and had a nice run in behind the eventual winner. Failed to lift when put under pressure and just plodded to the line. 

Comparison: The fact that Savvy Kingman was able to battle on for second after travelling three-wide outside the leaders suggests they didn’t run overly hard in front. Overall time was just outside the standard. 

Market Mover: LADY FIRST $6.00 to $3.90 


Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.03 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92 Amazing Star 

Winner: WOOD ON FIRE (NZ 5yo g Per Incanto – Lutine Belle) drifted back to the second half of the field initially before Purton was able to kick up three wide with cover and settle a little closer. Had a little breather on the back of Focus mid-race before being asked for an effort on the corner and letting down in the straight. Lifted over the top of them late with some tired horses back on the fence. It was Purton’s first ride on the five-year-old gelding and he travelled well for the Australian hoop. He loves this track and distance with three wins and four placings from 14 starts and can feature again under similar conditions. 

Runner-Up: MISSION SMART was second-last to jump but mustered along the fence to settle midfield on the rails. Travelled sweetly behind runners before eventually getting clear running at the 250m and letting down for a final sprint. Found the winner too good on the day but will take plenty of benefit from that and will be fitter third-up next time. 

Run Of The Race: WOOD ON FIRE jumped in front but had to drift back to find cover after the first 200m. Rank outside NOIR RIDER gave backers a hope in front before fading late. 

Disappointment: MERCURIAL was able to find a nice run in behind them one off the fence but was left standing when asked for an effort before the turn. Eventually found the line late overtaking some tired horses to finish fourth but was never going to win. 

Comparison: A fairly run race with all horses seemingly having their chance. Overall time was just outside standard. 

Market Mover: SHADOW RUNNER $31 to $13 


Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:49.55 Standard Time: 1:49.60 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92 Amazing Star 

Winner: DYNAMIC EAGLE (NZ 7yo g Guillotine – Dosh) jumped well from gate nine and was able to travel across and sit one out one back and get into a nice rhythm. Had a perfect run in transit until pulling out three-wide just before the turn and being asked for an ultimate effort in the straight. Had the leaders covered at the 200m but had to withhold Methane who was rocketing down the centre of the track late. Found a good kick near the line and just held them off. Jockey Badel is building a solid record on board with three wins and a placing from just six rides.  

Runner-Up: METHANE was able to settle one off the fence in the second half of the field and travelled sweetly throughout. Managed to find clear air in the straight and looked the winner at the 100m mark but the winner was too strong on the line. Might be looking for further now. 

Run Of The Race: METHANE was hard to miss with a slashing finish in the latter stages. Settled a few lengths behind the eventual winner and ran him to a neck on the line. 

Disappointment: SMART COUSIN had no excuses with a perfect run with cover behind the speed. Wasn’t able to let down in the final stages when asked for a final effort. 

Comparison: The tempo suited those just off the pace with the overall time slightly quicker than standard. 

Market Mover: DIVINE UNICORN $26 to $12.90 


Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.03 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92 Amazing Star 

Winner: HURRY HURRY GAIN (AUS 3yo g Press Statement – Stolen Girlfriend) showed pace from the outside and was able to find a position just off the speed behind the two leaders in a strung-out field. Managed to get a bit of a mid-race breather before pulling out three-wide to make a run on the turn and put them to the sword at the 150m mark. Was dominant with Purton sitting up for the photo on the line. Looks to have plenty of upside at only his second start in a race and can go on with it now. 

Runner-Up: SPRINT FORWARD jumped well before being crossed by the three early leaders including the eventual winner. Sat one off the fence before pulling out three wide on the turn and looked off the bridle at that stage. Picked up again in the straight to hit the line hard for second but never threatened the winner. 

Run Of The Race: SUPERB DADDY jumped poorly from the low gate and was upwards of 10 lengths off them in the run. Picked up the bit heading to the turn and hit the line strongly to finish just off the placegetters. 

Disappointment: KING’S TROOPER was well in the market and had drawn the inside barrier to settle fourth in running, but failed to let down when asked and faded late. 

Comparison: It looked to be a fast run race to the eye and they certainly went hard in the early sectionals. Overall time was just outside standard which suggests the winner was very good at both ends. 

Market Mover: SPRINT FORWARD $21 to $9.40 


Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.82 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92 Amazing Star 

Winner: EVER FORCE (AUS 3yo g Toronado – Al Nova) jumped well from the inside gate as they teared into the first turn. Purton allowed Sea Elite to cross him in a fast tempo and then shifted one off on the turn to stake his claim in the straight. He looked to be one-paced at the 150m mark with Spontaneous having the final shot at them, but the favourite kicked again and held them off. He has now put back-to-back wins on the board and looks to have a good future. 

Runner-Up: SPONTANEOUS got across from gate six and managed to sit just off the speed tracking Ever Force into the race at the turn. Loomed as the winner at the 200m mark but the winner was too strong on the line. Has now had a win and a second from two starts over the track and trip and will pay to follow. 

Run Of The Race: SUPREME PLUS was an eye-catcher hitting the line hard in a race where it was hard to make ground. 130-1 shot SKY CHAMPION was much improved running home for sixth and may be looking for further now. 

Disappointment: No real disappointments with the race finishing in market order at the pointy end. 

Comparison: They went quick early and simply kept going finishing just ahead of standard. time. The first three in the run were the first three home. 

Market Mover: SPONTANEOUS $8.50 to $3.10 

RACE – 7 CANAL HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000 

Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.10 Standard Time: 1:39.80 Course/Class Record: 1:38.61 Solar Wai Wai 

Winner: WEALTHY DELIGHT (AUS 4yo g Lord Kanaloa – Bariloche) jumped steadily settling one off the fence in the back half of the field. They zipped along in front and Purton just let his mount travel comfortably before being stoked up before the turn and pulling out wide in the straight to make one final run at them. It took a while for him to wind up but he was strongest on the line and was going away from them in the end. He has now had two wins and two placings from eight attempts at the track and journey. 

Runner-Up: ROYAL BOMB was given the run of the race from gate one for Ho but just struck one better on the night. Was able to track up just behind the leaders and settled well in the middle sections. When those on his outside dropped off he was able to precure one off the fence and set after them hitting the front with 200m to go. Fought off all others except for the favourite and didn’t disappoint. 

Run Of The Race: SMOOTHIES was disappointed for a run on numerous occasions from the 400m onwards and should’ve finished closer. TURIN REDSTAR showed massive improvement at big odds without much room in the straight. 

Disappointment: No disappointments and would pay to forgive most of the beaten brigade with many finding traffic in the run. 

Comparison: They went a bit too quick early but overall time was just outside standard. 

Market Mover: SMOOTHIES $9.00 to $6.30 


Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.69 Standard Time: 1:09.65 Course/Class Record: 1:08.68 Speed Vision 

Winner: WIND N GRASS (IRE 5yo g Lawman – Roystonea) jumped well before being eased to sit a couple of pairs back one off the fence. Travelled sweetly in the middle stages behind a fairly solid tempo before being revved up just before the turn. Purton could’ve elected to take his mount to the extreme outside but chose to slice through a gap in the centre as they straightened and that proved to be the winning move. The five-year-old is building a handy record at the track and trip with two wins and five placings from 14 attempts. 

Runner-Up: JAZZ STEED sat inside Wind N Grass in the run and followed him through the gap in the final stages. Hit the line strongly but was never threatening the winner. Wasn’t a bad run but just found one too good on the night. 

Run Of The Race: We’ll rename this one Ride Of The Race because that was pure class by Purton. Most jockeys would’ve taken the safer option and headed to the middle of the track but he saw a gap and took it. A masterclass in letting the race unfold and taking what you see in front of you. 

Disappointment: INNER FLAME was well in the betting but just went too hard up on the speed and faded late. 

Comparison: Right on standard with all runners having their chance. 

Market Mover: JAZZ STEED $7.50 to $4.50 

RACE – 9 CANAL HANDICAP, HK $1,500,000 

Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.27 Standard Time: 1:39.80 Course/Class Record: 1:38.61 Solar Wai Wai 

Winner: FARSHAD (GER 7yo g Kendargent – Forever Midnight) was absolutely truck loaded in the market late, more than halving his quote in the last few minutes of betting. Jumped well from the middle of the pack and got across outside the leader fairly painlessly before the first turn. Got into a nice rhythm and some cover throughout the middle sections before Teetan cruised up to the leader at the 300m mark and asked for the final effort. Was able to hold off the fast-finishing Savaquin and Sunny Star for a well-rated victory. 

Runner-Up: SAVAQUIN was aiming to make it six wins on the card for Purton and just fell short in the final stages. Jumped a bit awkwardly and copped some interference early on from the wide gate. Was forced to ease back to the last pairing before moving out three-wide with cover at the 500m mark. Steadily worked home in the straight but just missed with the winner finding something on the line. 

Run Of The Race: SAVAQUIN had no favours in the run but motored home from near last to just miss in an evenly run race. 

Disappointment: GIFT OF LIFELINE was backed from $16 into $8 late but never looked likely.

Comparison: Slightly slower than standard with the winner coming from in behind the speed. The runner-up came from near last and the third placegetter settling mid-field. 

Market Mover: FARSHAD was well-found at $26 to $10 

Masterclass evening from Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club