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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, May 22nd, 2024

Race 1 – Chester Handicap, HK $875,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 2200m – Track Good
Time: 2:17.01 Standard Time: 2:17.50 Course/Class record: 2:15.87 Sky Gem

It was a one act affair in the opener with Karis Teetan teaming up with Me Tsui Yu-sak to lead pillar-to-post on ARTHUR’S KINGDOM (IRE 7yo g Camelot - Madeira Mist). It was a long time between drinks for the seven-year-old, just under five years to be specific. Partnering the gelding back in February without success, the Mauritian hoop legged back aboard and made his intentions clear early in the contest. Jumping on terms from the wide alley, Teetan vigorously urged his mount forward in the early stages, quickly finding the front and that’s where he would remain for the entirety leading at every split. The son of Camelot broke his drought in style, going to the line under the hands and heels of Teetan with a 2-length margin to his nearest rival. Race favourite GO GO GO for Zac Purton chased gamely into second after a solid steer from the champion hoop who gave his mount every chance. Tracking the eventual winner throughout, favourite backers would’ve been licking their lips at the top of the straight when Purton popped of the leader’s back but the spoils weren’t to be enjoyed as he couldn’t match motors with the winner. CLASSIC ARCHIE rounded out the placings coming with an identical run to GO GO GO, who he tracked throughout.

Race 2 – Hereford Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.52 Standard Time: 1:09.85 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Favourite backers wouldn’t have to wait long to land the cash with NEW POWER (NZ 3yo g Swiss Ace – River Shannon) taking out the second event under the riding of Keith Yeung for C W Chang. Making it two on the bounce, the three-year-old enjoyed a cosy run in behind the speed before pulling out to let down with his challenge at the top of the straight. Admittedly the three-year-old took his time to work through his gears but he would eventually wear down a brave SO TREASURE to score by 3/4 of a length. The Mark Newnham runner was brave in defeat, taking it to his rivals in the early stages and making sure it was run at a genuine pace, only tiring late to the winner who had a much more economical run in transit. TATTENHAM went to the line locked with SO TREASURE, a close inspection of the photo finish needed to separate the pair.

Race 3 – Lancashire Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.47 Standard Time: 1:40.05 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

SATRICAL FAN (AUS 4yo g So You Think – Satirical Lady) held off race-favourite ATOMIC BEAUTY to win by a short head and bring up his first win in Hong Kong. Ellis Wong wasted little time finding the front from his middle draw on the Danny Shum-trained four-year-old, reaching the top spot as they approached the finishing post for the first time. Much as the same as the first on the card, little would change from there on with the son of So You Think making every post a winner. After tracking the eventual winner at every turn, ATOMIC BEAUTY under the ride of Brenton Avdulla came with a strong challenge in the lane but would ultimately miss the bob on the line. Again, favouring the runners closer to the fence in running, COMET SPLENDIDO hunted along behind the top two but couldn’t quite match them over the concluding stages, finishing 1-3/4 lengths back in third.

Race 4 – Hereford Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.12 Standard Time: 1:09.85 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Similar story in the fourth where it again it paid to be on pace with the first five across the line travelling in all but corresponding positions in running. It was race-favourite LEAN MASTER (GB 4yo g Havana Grey – Fair Maiden) who came out on top under the smart steer of Harry Bentley for the C H Yip stable. Bouncing straight to the front from the inside draw, Bentley rated the favourite beautifully throughout, digging deep over the concluding stages to ultimately lead pillar-to-post. Chasing hard into second was Luke Ferraris aboard SCOTCH TYCOON, beaten 1/2 a length. Eyes on the backside of LEAN MASTER with every stride, SCOTCH TYCOON tried with all his might in the lane but couldn’t overcome the leader. AMAZING ACE under Zac Purton battled on gamely toward the inside to finish a clear third.

Race 5 – The St George’s Challenge Cup (Handicap), HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.49 Standard Time: 1:40.05 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Karis Teetan brought up his double in the fifth when scoring aboard the K W Lui-trained FOREVER GLORIOUS (GB 6yo g Archipenko – Aksaya) in a thrilling finish, with 1/2 a length separating the first four across the line. Urged forward from his middle draw, the six-year-old raced wide and without cover until the 1000m before being able to slot in behind the leading pair. Pulling out at the top of the straight, Teetan careered out to the centre of the track to begin his dash for the finish before edging back closer to the fence over the concluding stages. Going to the line locked in a four-horse war, it was FOREVER GLORIOUS who found the necessary kick at the death to score by a short head. Another close photo finish assessment was needed to find a margin between the minor placegetters GOLD TACK and KASA PAPA, with the former getting his head down at the right time on the inside. Both offset the track pattern on the night as they came from rearward positions to figure in the finish. Keagan De Melo’s decision to save ground towards the inside aboard GOLD TACK perhaps proved vital to snatch second off Hugh Bowman’s mount KASA PAPA, who was pulled wide at the top of the straight.

Race 6 – Hereford Handicap, HK $1,170,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.43 Standard Time: 1:09.85 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

After missing narrowly in the race prior, gun Australian hoop Hugh Bowman made sure he was on the right side of the verdict this time when getting the most out of THE PERFECT MATCH (NZ 3yo c Complacent – Thunderchine) for Danny Shum. Away fairly from the inside pillar, Bowman held a spot just off the pace on the fence but was quick to pull the trigger when presented with the opportunity to inject his mount into the race. Rounding the home-turn Bowman utilised his inside positioning to shoot up the fence and quickly join in at the front, taking over as they passed the 200m. Breaking away from the rest of the field, THE PERFECT PATCH and TELECOM SPEED when blow-for-blow over the concluding stages, with the former able to land the winning punch and score by a short head. Angus Chung gave his mount TELECOM SPEED all but the perfect steer up on speed and tried valiantly in the lane, only to just miss. Despite being beaten 2-3/4 lengths FALCON COURT was the eye-catcher of the race, charging home to finish a clear third after settling 11/12.

Race 7 – Renfrew Handicap, HK $1,860,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 56.99 Standard Time: 56.60 Course/Class record: 55.85 Stoltz

It was a winning Hong Kong debut for the PF Yiu-trained MIDORI GLORY (AUS 3yo g Shooting To Win – Della Deluxe) when taking out the seventh on the card. Jumping on terms from the favourable inside pillar, Matthew Poon was able to utilise and boot up to ensure he settled his mount up on the pace. Maintaining the advantageous spot in running, Poon got the perfect run through as they fanned turning for home and was able to slide straight up the inside to join in without interference. Runs came from everywhere with them stretched across the track but it was Poon and his mount who worked home best to score by a head. It was another tight defeat for Zac Purton who piloted BEAUTY WAVES into second. Identical to the steer produced in the opener, Purton gave the favourite every conceivable chance up on the speed tracking the leader and although finishing closer, was just unable to cross the line first. FAST SERVER rounded out the placings after offering punters a bold sight in front, just tiring late to finish 3/4 of a length away.

Race 8 – Selkirk Handicap, HK $2,050,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:40.24 Standard Time: 1:39.85 Course/Class record: 1:38.55 Telecom Fighters

Derek Leung got his name on the winner’s board when piloting the W K Mo-trained ROMANTIC LAOS (NZ 5yo g Pins – Zaburn) to success in the penultimate. Away only evenly from the middle draw, Leung opted to take a sit midfield in the early going as they pushed along out in front. Applying the pressure to his mount approaching the home-turn, the pair worked up into a threatening position at the 200m, before really hitting top gear inside the 100m to ascend over the top and score by a neck. It was race-favourite RED HARE KING under the riding of Hugh Bowman who would be caught on the line. Taken forward from the outside gate, Bowman handled the gelding skilfully out in front and did enough to fend all but one off. IVY LEAGUE from the Douglas Whyte camp made great inroads in the run home, with Keegan De Melo producing another impressive performance up the inside to get his mount within a neck of the winner after making the turn over 5 lengths off the pace.

Race 9 – Wiltshire Handicap, HK $2,840,000

Class 2 – Turf - Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.80 Standard Time: 1:09.35 Course/Class record: 1:08.26 Rewarding Together

It was all the Matthew Chadwick show in the last when piloting SUPERB CAPITALIST (AUS 4yo g Capitalist – Shamana) to a smart front-running victory for the A S Cruz stable. As seen so many times throughout the night, it truly paid to be in the leading division. Urged forward from a middle draw to race outside the leader, Chadwick and his mount would take over at the 800m and that was all she wrote. Despite tiring over the concluding stages, the pair held a comfortable 1-1/4-length margin to the nearest chaser. It was race-favourite GUMMY GUMMY under the riding of Jerry Chau who was finishing best from an off-pace position to grab second but never looked like reaching the winner. HARMONY N BLESSED was the horse that locked horns with SUPERB CAPITALIST in the early stages and fought on gamely once being taken over from to hold down a minor placing 2 lengths away.

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