The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, October 14th, 2020:
RACE 1 WAN CHAI GAP HANDICAP HK $750,000
Class 5 – Rating 40-0 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.51 Standard Time: 1:10.35 Course/Class Record: 1:09.73
Winner: FANTASTIC FABIO (AUS 7yo Hidden Dragon – Fantastic Flo Jo) returns to the good old days, it’s been a long wait since he took a winning double back in November 2018, 15 starts last season for a lone placing, and of late already three runs this season before tonight’s task. Straight on the bunny off the jump, he was happy to sit outside the leader and control the race from there, kicked hard off the corner under Derek Leung to put a couple of lengths on them and never looked like getting beaten. Clearly right race, right time. He’s not been too far from the winner in his last couple of starts so something was brewing for trainer David Hall. He will remain in Class 5 given he came with a rating of 34 points.
Runner-up: TGERLAD was solid in second, did get a nice run and his chance to swoop off the corner and win but found one better on the night. After a tidy fifth first up for the season on this track in mid-September he was well-favoured here and certainly didn’t run below those expectations. Rated so low at 20 points he can’t help but win a Class 5 soon with zero weight on his back.
Run Of The Race: WONDER BRAHMA goes in the book for next time, maybe for the next two or three starts off a tidy finish wide on the track. A certain amount of tote support for him tonight and definitely an improvers performance off some pretty ordinary form. KWAI CHUNG ELITE did good work from last to run fourth.
Disappointment: FOZ CHEUNGER quite bland in the run home. Looked poised to salute again off a smarter effort to win last start but immediately adds this sort of run – not new for him.
Comparison: Outside standard the put the brakes on after finding early positions and really crawled their way through the middle. Rain is lingering about the racetrack early in the night.
Market Mover: REGENCY GEM $6.80 to $4.50
Suspended: C Wong (ROCHFORD, and K H Chan (RED ZOFFANY) for careless riding passing the 900m mark. Two days.
RACE 2 VICTORIA GAP HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:39.38 Standard Time: 1:40.10 Course/Class Record: 1:38.83
Winner: SUMSTREETSUMWHERE (NZ 6yo g Highly Recommended – Street Siren) had been consistent without delivering the winning blow, but he puts that right tonight off the back of a lovely ride from apprentice Jerry Chau who box-seated him fourth and fifth the outer and always ready to strike. Mindful of having the favourite on his back, Chau took off quickly around the bend and maintained a good margin to the line, making it a David Hall double to start the night, the Aussie horseman in fine form. He’s not been a prolific winner this horse, 35 starts for just the two wins in Hong Kong, though also successful in July at seasons end so that’s two of his last five starts. He’d won two in New Zealand including the $100,000 Group 2 James and Annie Sarten Memorial for trainer Stephen Marsh before export.
Runner-up: KING DRAGON stalked the winner every step of the way and rider Zac Purton had a handful coming to the end of the backstraight, waiting for Chau to peel and make his move. Off his back in plenty of time the margin could not be reeled in. Game run, he looks a decent miler, been more restricted to 1400m, so he is going to win really soon at a distance that suits, particularly on the bigger track at Sha Tin.
Run Of The Race: VILLA FIONN was great with 133lb coming from rearward and very wide around the home turn to run fourth, beaten a nose for third by the other eye-catcher ROYAL RACER who darted home along the inside rail to maintain a strong run of form this season for Caspar Fownes. Now a win, second, and a third in three outings.
Disappointment: CALIFORNIA LEGEND didn’t have to work too hard to find the front and was disappointing in the run home as others swooped upon him. Based on the time perhaps he just went a little too keenly.
Comparison: Quick time, rain was heavy pre-race and they flew across the turf, a good six-tenths under standard.
Market Mover: ROYAL RACER $8.50 to $4.60, HUMBLE STEED $100.00 to $27.00
RACE 3 MOUNT KELLETT HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:10.23 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92
Winner: BULLISH BROTHER (AUS 5yo g Reward For Effort – Stream Royale) grabbed a quick winning double at the back end of his campaign earlier in the year and spelled after June success. Two runs back this season yet to match that form, though under a length and a half from the winner last time when sixth. Punters allowed the drift tonight, $13 to $20 the tote as they avoided him, and mistakenly avoided Jerry Chau’s 10lb claim, already proved golden in the previous race. Slotting straight to the trail from gate three, Jerry had one horse to switch around in the straight and off he went. That’s win four from start 25 for this horse who has an impeccable 1200m record at Happy Valley, each of those success at this track and distance.
Runner-up: WHISKEY NEAT was really good in defeat, had to burn over from barrier eight and three others had the same idea so it was a fair while until he found his spot outside leader. Joao Moreira booted him for home and he did look likely until the former came with the best finish off his heels. Still winless in 12 Hong Kong starts, the former Group 3 winner in New Zealand for Tony Pike is very close to securing his first offshore and undoubtedly more will follow. A good barrier would really help him. His last five starts he has drawn 12,9,9,8,8 so due some luck when the marbles drop.
Run Of The Race: SMILING ON as always really strong from the back to run third, nice ride Vincent Ho cutting the corner, and also good wide out was SUPREME PLUS seeking three in a row. Barrier 12 did him in tonight, he’s winning again really soon off a draw that he work with.
Disappointment: GLENEALY GENERALS was a bit plain, plenty of money about for the topweight off a sharp barrier trial win but the 131lb and the fact he’d not started at Happy Valley before could have played against him. Wouldn’t drop him. Lame right hind on return.
Comparison: Outside the standard, they seemed to roll so the rainfall may well have taken some effect.
Market Mover: WHISKEY NEAT $4.80 to $3.40
RACE 4 MOUNT GOUGH HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1000m – Track Good
Time: 0:56.90 Standard Time: 0:57.15 Course/Class Record: 0:56.39
Winner: WILD WEST WING (AUS 4yo g Exceed And Excel – Thump) breaks through, career win one in start eight and overdue, he’d run under $5.00 in four of the previous seven attempts as you would perhaps expect being a John Size runner. Joao Moreira has interestingly ridden the hors every start so obviously holds him in some regard, it’s rare to see a horse in a low grade ridden by the same jockey repeatedly. Moreira made no bones of this, was labelled urgent to get across from a wide gate, soon alongside the leader and travelling, careering off into the distance. A very easy win for a horse who looks set to show his best this season. He needs to – he was $A750,000 through the ring.
Runner-up: TRAVEL DATUK hit the line well, as he often does, raced a little closer to the pace tonight from a low draw and that helped him, able to spring off the turn without traffic troubles. Consistent placegetter, just can’t win one.
Run Of The Race: SIMPLY FLUKE was terrific, slowly out from gate one under the in-form Jerry Chau and after 100 metres his job would be a huge one. Second-last and a long way from the leader at the 400m he darted home super-well to grab third. He is a winner waiting to happen, especially with Jerry’s 10lb luxury. Honourable mention to WINS ALL who backed up a Class 5 win to chase well here into fourth. He looks likely at 1200m next time.
Disappointment: FARM BUMPER looked less likely all the way tonight, far enough off them and never racing like a winner unlike his previous start. Pushed wide the final turn but offered nothing.
Comparison: A tick under standard on a track now quite affected by rain so pretty good going in this one.
Market Mover: WINNER’S HEART $25.70 to $15.40
RACE 5 MOUNT KELLETT HANDICAP HK $1,000,000
Class 4 – Rating 60-40 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.96 Standard Time: 1:09.90 Course/Class Record: 1:08.92
Winner: HERE COMES TED (NZ 4yo Per Incanto – Princess Annaliese) hinted his second victory was coming quickly when running third first-up for the season on this track on September 9. Trainer David Ferraris had played the patient game since, a good five weeks between runs though certainly the right formula given the son of Per Incanto was right up on his toes for the assignment. He had to work hard from gate 11 and Karis Teetan was in quite the zone to lead, pressing on for some way before getting there. And the run never wavered, this horse kicking strongly under siege to win ever so well. He’s going to win again in his next two starts, he will remain in Class 4. Dam Princess Annaliese was very handy, placed at 2400m in the NZ Oaks so maybe this horse gets a mile eventually.
Runner-up: SPRINT FORWARD shared the pace and gave his all, took Jerry Chau close to a winning treble in running a brave second. Good lift in effort from this horse who had disappointed racing on-pace in two this season for David Hayes but a lot sharper tonight. His maiden win came at 1400m last season.
Run Of The Race: Hard to go past HERE COMES TED, he’s had to beat the draw and do all the work so none were better than him. TELECOM ROCKET and GALLANT CROWN finished third and fourth respectively and did grand work against the grain in a leader-dominated race.
Disappointment: HERCULES was poor, gained a beautiful run one out and one back and Purton had him in the prime position to strike. Off the corner no response, very average from the $1.80 favourite. Epiglottic entrapment diagnosed and a tongue tie will be added next time.
Comparison: Around the standard and par for the course on the night.
Market Mover: ORIENTAL ELITE $32.10 to $15.00
RACE 6 LUNG FU SHAN HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1200m – Track Good
Time: 1:09.47 Standard Time: 1:09.65 Course/Class Record: 1:08.68
Winner: LE TERROIR (AUS 5yo g Star Witness – Chichi Romero) is plundered on the tote and all that support well founded as the Francis Lui-trained gelding powered home centre-track to grab the win, a big effort to back up a very sound fourth when he resumed in mid-September. Rider Matthew Poon earned his pay, there was some lethargy in the horse off gate four and he had to really ride him along to stay in touch with a good speed, finally found a rhythm mid-way. He sprinted impressively again when drawn to the outside, a big win. April 2019 to October 2019 this horse won four from five starts, all over 1200m at Happy Valley so fair to say it is his ‘happy’ place.
Runner-up: FALCON TURBO was as good as the winner, raced third-last, second-last coming to the corner and with all the work to do. In-form rider Derek Leung witched him to the inside line, took the shortcuts and they arrived on the scene in no time, a sparkling effort from a two-time winner last season, interestingly both at Sha Tin. He is a newcomer to the Tony Millard yard after early success with Douglas Whyte.
Run Of The Race: FALCON TURBO was the pick of them, ran the fastest final 400m quite clearly and did a big job. GREEN REIGN was also strong from the tail of the field to snare third money under Joao Moreira for Caspar Fownes.
Disappointment: LOVING A BOOM did not have to go around a horse, trailed the leader, got the rails run and could not take advantage as the $3.20 favourite.
Comparison: Around two-tenths under the standard on a night where that beats par quite easily.
Market Mover: LE TERROIR $9.60 to $4.20
RACE 7 MOUNT DAVIS HANDICAP HK $1,500,000
Class 3 – Rating 80-60 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1800m – Track Good
Time: 1:49.72 Standard Time: 1:49.40 Course/Class Record: 1:48.30
Winner: TASHIDELEK (AUS 6yo g Street Cry – Sesenta) makes it back-to-back victories on this course to get his new season off on the highest possible note for new trainer Douglas Whyte who has found the ley to success with him. Previously a 20-start maiden in Hong Kong, he was racing poorly but the former champion jockey has clicked with him as has French jockey Alexis Badel didn’t have ride him as extravagantly this time, jumping out well to settle handy and always seemingly in control. The son of Street Cry can step to 2000m even beyond and in this form winning is far from finished. In three Australian wins he did take a 2130m event at Warwick Farm for Chris Waller.
Runner-up: RED ELYSEES was the market mover and not surprisingly, he looked well placed to give this field a real fright and he did that. Set terms after jumping beautifully he was inferior to only one other on the night as he was when resuming here September 23, also over 1800m. A genuine old galloper with Manfred Man who has earned over $HK5 million, he is 20 months off the winners list and that should soon change.
Run Of The Race: NAMJONG PLUS did a nice job coming from the last trio to pick up many lengths with a shortcut around the turn to follow the inside line and easily run the fastest final 400m in the race. He’s knocking on the door to break another lengthy drought, last successful in January 2019.
Disappointment: DELIGHTFUL LAOS was slow away and never fired. He’s better than that and has produced it on this track, but tonight a poor one. Vetted, no findings. Karis Teetan said he believes the horse is better suited at Sha Tin.
Comparison: Solidly run just above standard and that is par tonight.
Market Mover: RED ELYSEES $11.60 to $6.80
RACE 8 HIGH WEST HANDICAP HK $2,200,000
Class 2 – Rating 105-80 - Turf ‘B’ Course – Distance 1650m – Track Good
Time: 1:39.04 Standard Time: 1:39.60 Course/Class Record: 1:38.58
Winner: BUDDIES (AUS 5yo g So You Think – Gladwell) looked as though he would win comfortably then the complexion changed over the final 50m, holding on to a slender margin at the line. He grabs a winning treble for gun apprentice Jerry Chau who is now hitting top gear as he finds the appropriate rides to use his 10lb claim to best effect. Leading, he took a trail mid-race behind major anger Solar Wai Wai and never left the fence in making his run for home. That’s win six from just 19 starts for this former John Moore-trained galloper, now with Tony Cruz after the former’s retirement as a trainer and immediately back doing what he does best - winning. He was a 52-point Class 4 galloper in March 2019, now rated well over 100 points after this win. Big rise.
Runner-up: SOLAR WAI WAI was urgent to lead mi-race and took command, went for home and stuck to his guns so well, strong rider Karis Teetan getting everything he could out of the son of Snitzel. He was first up for the season after bowing out in July as a winner in Class 2 this track and distance so a great return from him, and winning form will follow. An excellent 20 start, five win record.
Run Of The Race: AMAZING ONE PLUS wins the race in a couple more bounds, super effort to come from last and power home wide, better than any other in the field. He’s a really interesting horse, won a Derby trial at 2000m in Ireland at Group 3 level among three victories offshore, and is now five starts into his Hong Kong career without success. He put the writing on the wall this time. That win is now very close.
Disappointment: NOT USUAL TALENT didn’t show his usual talent but we’ll forgive him this one, he was slow out and well back. Vetted, blood in the trachea found.
Comparison: Very quick, the top two rolled and rolled some more given the chasing pack no chance, running a long way inside standard.
Market Mover: SOLAR WAI WAI $15.00 to $9.60
Three wins for Jerry Chau, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club