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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, November 24th, 2021:

Race 1 – Colinton Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1000m – Track Good

Time: 56.39 Standard Time: 56.80 Course/Class record: 55.98 Harmony N Blessed

Winner: WE THE SOUTH (AUS 5yo g Your Song – Tonkatsu) got away quickly from barrier three and was able to settle on the inside of the leading trio. The pace was good throughout, but he relaxed well under Joao Moreira, who controlled the race from the front. He kicked away as they straightened for the finish and continued to extend the gap over the concluding stages, running away for an impressive 2L victory.

Runner-Up: BRILLIANT FORTUNE was caught out three-wide and without cover in the early going after jumping well from an outside barrier, before pushing on to settle outside of the leader with 650m left to run. He relaxed well but he was just being niggled at with 500m remaining, before being fully placed under pressure before they turned into the straight. He chased hard but he was unable to peg back the margin to the leader, holding on to second place.

Run Of The Race: WE THE SOUTH showed brilliant gate speed and led throughout for a very impressive victory. Joao Moreira showed a clean pair of heels upon straightening and none of his competitors could match him. It was his sixth win at the course and distance, and he showed great dominance again tonight.

Disappointment: GINSON was a touch disappointing in his Hong Kong debut. He wasn’t beaten far in a strong Group Two in Australia prior to moving to Hong Kong, but after being caught wide in the early stages he just simply couldn’t match the speed of the front runners. He would finish 5 lengths away in fifth position, but improvement is expected after he was first-up tonight for over 400 days.

Comparison: Inside standard time.

Market Mover: There was plenty of money for WE THE SOUTH who started as favourite, but SEIZING THE MOMENT was also well-backed.

Race 2 – Stockbridge Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good

Time: 1:39.25 Standard Time: 1:40.00 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Winner: YEE CHEONG WARRIOR (AUS 5yo g Animal Kingdom – Defender) wasn’t the fastest into stride and settled worse than midfield but was positioned along the rail. The pace was solid through the first half of the race and Zac Purton was able follow along the rail to improve his position to be midfield as they turned down the back straight. He got a lovely cart into the race around the turn before being placed under pressure with 400m to run, coming out toward the middle of the track as they straightened for the finish. He stayed on well under the urgings of Purton, catching and passing the leader with 100m to run before pulling away for a one length victory.

Runner-Up: AI ONE jumped fairly but was shifted behind runners shortly after the start from barrier nine, settling at the rear of the field. He continued to be last throughout the event, being 10.5 lengths off the leader with 800m left to run and as Blake Shinn started to improve the gelding’s position, he found trouble as another runner shifted in when not clear with 500m remaining. Shinn was still holding the gelding together as they turned into the straight with a wall of horses in front of him, but he quickly got into clear running as he straightened. He let down powerfully down the outside of the track, running into second position at massive $39 odds.

Run Of The Race: AI ONE was a long last and then found trouble at a crucial stage in the race, but still managed to storm home and finish second. It was a very eye-catching performance and who knows what may have happened if he didn’t find trouble. It’s the first time the five-year-old has finished in the placings in his Hong Kong career.

Disappointment: OFF THE REEL pushed forward from the wide draw but was unfortunately caught wide and without cover for the entire 1650m journey. The tough run told late, with the last start-winner weakening badly over the concluding stages to finish 9-1/4 lengths adrift in tenth position. There was plenty of money for him tonight, so expect him to bounce back with a more favourable draw next time out.

Comparison: Well inside standard time.

Market Mover: DR WINNING was backed into favouritism, while OFF THE REEL was heavily backed into $4.80.

Race 3 – Myreside Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good

Time: 1:39.89 Standard Time: 1:40.25 Course/Class record: 1:38.91 All Joyful

Winner: RUN THE TABLE (AUS 5yo g The Brothers War – Miss Cacciatore) jumped on terms but mustered good pace in the early going, with Zac Purton pushing the gelding forward to settle in fourth position behind the leaders. He raced a touch keen down the side of the course, but he soon relaxed as they turned into the back straight. He travelled up nicely behind the leaders before Purton started to apply the pressure with 400m left to run. Purton got off the leaders heels upon straightening and sprinting quickly, taking the lead with 150m left to run. He was strong through the line, holding off a challenger to win by three quarters of a length.

Runner-Up: AMAZING BOY jumped well from an inside draw and was able to settle about midfield on the outside under Joao Moreira. He settled well down the side of the course and Moreira had him conserving his energy down the back straight, following the eventual winner wherever he went. He was right on the winners’ heels as they straightened, mounting a challenge in the middle of the straight but he couldn’t get his nose in front. 

Run Of The Race: RUN THE TABLE was aided by a brilliant ride by premiership leading-jockey Zac Purton. He relaxed beautifully down the back straight after racing keenly between the 1400m and 1000m points. He sprinted well when he got clear in the straight and it looks as though he could go on and win again next time out.

Disappointment: WHO LOVES THE ACE was well backed prior to the start but settled back in the field after only being fairly away from barrier 11. He raced keenly as they turned into the back straight, but he eventually settled as they began making the turn. He came under pressure a long way from home and didn’t finish off at all, with jockey Luke Ferraris telling stewards it was due to the gelding racing keenly. He did pull up with excuses though, with blood found in his throat, so this could be a forgive run.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.

Market Mover: WHO LOVES THE ACE and MISTER ARM were both well-supported, while there was money for KWAI CHUNG ELITE at double-figure odds.

Race 4 – The St Andrews Challenge Quaich (Handicap), HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good

Time: 1:39.73 Standard Time: 1:40.00 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Winner: CHARIZARD (AUS 7yo g Onemorenomore – Whatsaname) jumped well from a middle alley and planted himself in a great position early on, settling just off the pace under Luke Ferraris. The pace was good through the early and middle stages which helped the seven-year-old relax down the back straight. Ferraris began to quicken the gelding from the 600m point, improving to sit in behind the leaders before applying full pressure with 400m left to travel. He came off heels towards the centre of the track and began grinding down the leader’s advantage, taking the lead inside the final 50m and holding on for a tight victory with the margin being a short head.

Runner-Up: LOYAL BABY got away quickly, and Joao Moreira was able to get across to sit off the rail as they went past the winning post on the first occasion. He was left racing without cover as the leader pushed on and crossed to the rail. Moreira restrained the gelding with 1200m to run, eventually getting to the rail as they turned into the back straight and getting cover. He improved to sit on the leaders heels around the turn and was being held together before Moreira let him rip as they straightened. Moreira stuck to the inside, running along the rail and began whacking away. He tried hard but couldn’t get to the lead, going down narrowly. 

Run Of The Race: ZONE D settled back in the field after only being fairly away. He travelled nicely under Alex Badel throughout the race but was hampered just as he began to improve with 450m left to run. Badel picked him up again, going from the inside to the outside in the straight as the gelding sprinted hard, but he ran out of time to catch the leaders. A eye-catching run and he could have possibly won if he had not found trouble at that vital stage.

Disappointment: ERNEST FEELING went back at the beginning of the race and stayed there for the remainder of the event. He quickened nicely when asked by Purton as they began to swing into the straight, but peaked on the run over the concluding stages, finishing 4-3/4 away in seventh position. 

Comparison: Inside standard time.

Market Mover: CHARIZARD had plenty of backing, as did ZONE D, FAITHFUL TRINITY and CHATER PINS, all at double-figure odds.

Race 5 – Murrayfield Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.80 Standard Time: 1:09.80 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Winner: FLAMING PASSION (AUS 4yo g Headwater – Red Duchez) was quickly away and was able to settle outside the leader under Matthew Chadwick as they turned into the back straight. He was racing a touch keen in the middle stages, but Chadwick was able to get him to relax with 800m to go as he eventually gained cover as they began making the turn. He travelled well in behind the leaders, pulling out three-wide as they began turning into the straight. Chadwick held him together as he ambled up to join the leader, before pushing the button with 200m left to run. He took the lead with 150m left to go and pulled a margin on the rest of the field. He was strong to the line, keeping his competitors at bay and winning by 0.75 lengths.

Runner-Up: SPARTAN MISSILE jumped on terms and used the inside draw to his advantage, settling on the back of the leaders in the early stages. He had a very economical run in transit, not having to do any work at all as Luke Ferraris had him on a long reign throughout the race. Ferraris ducked back to the inside as they straightened and the gelding quickened well, but he was unable to catch the leader.

Run Of The Race: It was a great performance by FLAMING PASSION. He won the race right at the beginning by jumping well, from barrier 5 and getting over to settle one off the rail in the early stages. He sprinted well in the straight and proved too strong for his opposition.

Disappointment: KA YING SPIRIT jumped on terms and was sitting on the pace before being snagged back by Zac Purton after 200m to obtain cover behind runners. He raced a bit keen through the middle stages but settled well prior to turning. He looked to be making good ground early in the straight but weakened over the final stages to finish 8-3/4 lengths off the winner in 11th spot.

Comparison: Bang on standard time.

Market Mover: FLAMING PASSION and HERO STAR were the ones punters wanted to be with.

Race 6 – Murrayfield Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.41 Standard Time: 1:09.80 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Winner: ROMANTIC WARRIOR (IRE 3yo g Acclamation – Folk Melody) was only fairly away from his middle barrier and was shifted behind runners in the early going with Joao Moreira able to find the rail in a midfield position. He travelled kindly through the middle stages as the pace was only fair. He had a wall of runners in front of him as they began to swing into the straight, but Moreira was able to stick to the inside and he quickened nicely. He really let rip over the final 200m, catching, passing and pulling away from the field in a dominant and impressive one length victory.

Runner-Up: MELBOURNE HALL jumped well off the inside and was able to park in the prime position on the back of the leader in the early stages of the race. He travelled nicely for Matthew Poon in the middle stages, who had put the gelding to sleep to conserve his energy for a big finish. Poon started getting to work on the gelding with 350m left to run as they turned into the straight, straying to the inside of the leader as they balanced up. He ran on well into second position, finishing a length clear of third, but he was no match for the winner.

Run Of The Race: ROMANTIC WARRIOR was very impressive again tonight and appeared to do it with ease under the top weight. He really exploded over the final 200m to pass the leaders in the blink of an eye. He looks a progressive galloper, and more wins are in store.

Disappointment: BORDER CONTROL pushed forward from barrier 7 and was racing keenly in the early and middle stages of the race as Vincent Ho had no option but to push forward on the gelding. He relaxed momentarily around the turn, but he began to weaken from the 400m mark and finished a long last. He does have an excuse though, as vets found him to be displaying an irregular heart rhythm after the race.

Comparison: Well inside standard and faster than the Murrayfield Handicap in Race 5

Market Mover: ROMANTIC WARRIOR was a heavily supported favourite.

Race 7 – Inverleith Park Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good

Time: 1:38.98 Standard Time: 1:39.75 Course/Class record: 1:38.55 Telecom Fighters

Winner: CHEERFUL DAYS (AUS 5yo g Smart Missile – Saint Minerva) jumped fairly but was taken back toward the rear of the field under Alex Badel. The pace was good in the early stages, but the gelding was over racing at the tail of the field before Badel got him to relax with about 750m left to run. Badel took off around the outside at the 500m point, getting a good cart into the race before fanning out in the straight to be the widest runner upon straightening. He powered down the outside of the track, taking the lead with 50m to go and proving too strong in the closing stages to win in good style, with the official margin being a neck.

Runner-Up: INVINCIBLE MISSILE was away fairly from the inside draw and was able to park himself midfield and along the rail. He travelled well under Harry Bentley but he just had to be niggled at with 700m left to run to keep in touch with the leaders. He was shuffled back on the turn as he stuck to the inside, but the gaps opened up and he quickened nicely when Bentley put the pressure on at the top of the straight. He took the lead with 150m left to run but couldn’t hold off the fast-finishing winner.

Run Of The Race: What a terrific finish from CHEERFUL DAYS down the outside of the track. After going back and over racing in the early stages of the race, he put the foot down and ran on strongly for a very eye-catching win. 

Disappointment: EVERYONE’S DELIGHT jumped as the second favourite at $5.60 and settled in a great spot behind the leaders. Zac Purton began to push the gelding along from thr 550m point and he joined the leaders as they turned into the straight. He tired shortly after though and fell back through the field to finish 7 lengths off the winner in ninth position. 

Comparison: Almost a second inside standard time.

Market Mover: ROMANTIC COMBO was the best backed runner.

Race 8 – Bruntsfield Handicap, HK $2,400,000

Class 2 – Turf – Distance 1200m – Track Good

Time: 1:09.06 Standard Time: 1:09.30 Course/Class record: 1:08.46 Harmony And Rich

Winner: SCORES OF FUN (AUS 5yo g Reward For Effort – Montana Hilton) jumped well from barrier one and allowed them to sprint away and set a fast pace in the early stages of the race as Zac Purton took up a midfield position. He travelled strongly through the middle stages before Purton popped off the rail with 500m to go as he began to improve his position. He crossed back to the inside of the leaders shortly after straightening and he had to push through a small gap between runners with 250m left to run. He quickened well once clear, storming over the top of his rivals to pull away and win by 1-1/2 lengths in a very good display.

Runner-Up: DROPS OF GOD jumped well and was part of the brigade who went in search of the lead in the early stages of the race. Joao Moreira was able to find the rail and allowed runners to cross him in the back straight to take a sit in behind the leader. He travelled well through the middle stages as Moreira started to apply the pressure with 450m left to run. Moreira cut the corner and ran up along the rail but was hampered as the winner bumped him slightly as he charged through. He was strong over the final stages though to pick himself up and finish in second position in a tight photo finish. 

Run Of The Race: It was a very impressive performance by SCORES OF FUN who won easily in the end. It was a patient ride by Zac Purton who split a small gap between runners in the straight and let down beautifully in the straight. A fantastic victory.

Disappointment: HARMONY FIRE was disappointing despite being up in class today. He does have excuses though as he was caught wide and without cover throughout the event which cost him in the straight, weakening to finish 5 lengths off the win in 11th spot. 

Comparison: Well inside standard time.

Market Mover: SPARKLING DRAGON was well supported, halving his quote to jump a $12 chance, while there was also money for SCORES OF FUN.

Romantic Warrior and Joao Moreira, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

 

 
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