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Speedsters lock horns at Happy Valley

A rare night meeting this Tuesday sees Super Axiom and Gorgeous Vitality clash in a sizzling edition of the Class 3 Cleverly Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley. Both are looking to maintain sparkling rises for their trainers and collect a hat-trick of wins as well as the HK$894,900 bounty on offer for first place. 

Super Axiom will be aiming for his first win at Happy Valley, picture HKJC

Breaking from gate four, Super Axiom (118lb) steps out under Dylan Mo following a career-best success in a time of 55.51s down the straight at Sha Tin.

“At this moment, over 1000 metres, he’s one of the fastest in Hong Kong at jumping out of the gates — he’s very fast,” Mo said. “A little bit surprising (his recent form), I’m just riding the horse comfortably and he’s giving a strong finish.”

The Exceed And Excel gelding is after a first win at Happy Valley having won exclusively over 1000m at Sha Tin, while Gorgeous Vitality (126lb) boasts consecutive wins at the city circuit by a combined seven-and-a-quarter lengths.

But even without success in the past at Happy Valley, Mo holds no reservations regarding the 63-rater’s ability to handle the nuances of the tight-turning course. “He’s looked fine in his replays. He can handle the track and the last few times he’s looked comfortable and taken the turn well. It should be no problem for him,” he said.

Mo has 10 wins this season, spearheaded by a trio this month including a double at Sha Tin on 12 June, with one of these returned aboard Super Axiom.

“The weather is hot, a couple of horses will be a little bit tired and Super Axiom is fit and he gets his chance to win again,” Mo said of Me Tsui’s speedster.

Still a three-year-old and trained by Frankie Lor, Gorgeous Vitality was handed an anchoring 12 rating points for his demolition job last start over the course and distance. “I think he still has a chance to win in Class 3 — he keeps improving,” Lor said. “He looked really good on Saturday morning.”

Sparks should fly at the Valley with a fast pace expected as Harmony N Blessed (134lb), Joyful Win (129lb) and Wine And Wine (121lb) also pressure for the lead.

“He doesn’t have to lead. Last time he led by himself because no one else would — he’s versatile,” Lor said.

Gorgeous Vitality gets the services of Zac Purton tomorrow night after he reclaimed first position in the 2021/22 jockeys’ championship with a treble at Sha Tin on Saturday. Also in the race is Equaletta Blitz (126lb) who crushed his opposition last start, while Party Warrior (131lb), Special M (131lb), Smokey Bear (126lb), Resolute (119lb), Modest Gentleman (118lb) and Proud Dragon (116lb) complete the field.

Chasing a first trainers’ title, Lor leads his former mentor John Size by six wins (86-80) with only six meetings of the campaign remaining.

Tuesday’s eight-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 7.15pm with the Class 5 Wing Lok Handicap (1800m).

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