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The Davis Files - Happy Valley review

The Davis Files - the comprehensive review of the meeting at Happy Valley, June 28th, 2022

Race 1 – Wing Lok Handicap, HK $780,000

Class 5 – Turf - Distance 1800m - Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:49.70 Standard Time: 1:49.75 Course/Class record: 1:48.33 Success Allstars

Winner: OWNERS’ STAR (GB 7 g Farhh – Manila Bay) got away on terms from an inside barrier, but didn’t show much pace despite being ridden along by Matthew Chadwick, with the gelding eventually settling midfield as they rounded the first turn. He was racing along the inside as they turned down the back, with Chadwick having the gelding in a nice rhythm with the pace good through the middle stages. Chadwick was held up slightly passing the 700m point, but was able to get off the inside and begin to improve between runners as they turned off the back stretch. He was travelling well as they swung for home, with Chadwick able to slice his way through the field and enjoy a relatively clear run right to the line. He stuck on brilliantly down the stretch to burst through between runners and hit the front with 50m to run. He was far too strong over the closing stages, grabbing the lead and pulling away to win comfortably by a half-length.

Runner-Up: GRAND POWER got away well and had enough pace to cross from the middle alley and settle in the one-out-one-back position as they turned down the side of the course. Vincent Ho was happy sitting in the trail as they travelled down the back straight, but commence a mid-race move passing the 750m to go up and challenge the leader as the pace began to slow. He looked to be travelling the best of the three leaders as they swung for home, and he quickened nicely to take the lead with a furlong to run. He was still a length in front with 100m to run, but just couldn’t sustain the effort over the closing stages, tiring late to be over run in the final 50m. He still finished 1-1/4 lengths ahead of third in a great effort.

Run Of The Race: GRAND POWER looked home with 100m to run but just couldn’t sustain the effort after having to take off earlier than anticipated under Vincent Ho. He can win a race soon and I’ll want to be following him.

Disappointment: SMART COUSIN settled at the rear of the field under Zac Purton who was able to keep the gelding’s momentum up as the pace slowed turning off the back straight. He came under pressure as they turned for home, but he did not respond at all and finished 15 lengths away in last position.

Comparison: Just inside the standard time.
Market Mover: FORTUNE TRIPLE had specking at double figure odds.

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

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:39.42 Standard Time: 1:40.00 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Winner: CORDYCEPS ONE (AUS 4yo g Hinchinbrook – Sharmadal Gold) wasn’t the quickest into stride, but was away well enough to cross and get cover from barrier five. He travelled well down the side of the course under Ruan Maia, sitting midfield as they travelled down the back straight with the pace good through the middle stages. Maia took off with 500m to run, going around the field three-wide, before being pushed out four-wide as they swung into the straight. He was able to keep up his momentum as they turned into the straight, sticking on well out wider on the course to run to the lead with 100m to run. He was far too strong in the closing stages, pulling away to get the job done by a length in good style. 

Runner-Up: JADE PHOENIX got away well from gate 6 and showed his usual early pace to go forward and sit on the outside of the leader as they turned down the side of the course. He travelled comfortably right through the middle stages, sitting about three-quarters of a length off the leader right down the back stretch. Blake Shinn began to ramp up the pressure passing the 400m point with the gelding sustaining his run into the straight. He ground away gamely for second position, just getting his nose in front of another rival to steal second in a photo finish.

Run Of The Race: CORDYCEPS ONE made it two wins in-a-row with another brilliant effort. He looked in a spot of bother when he got pushed wider on the course, but he stuck on well out toward the centre of the track and proved far too strong under the light weight.

Disappointment: SWOT TROOPERS WIND was slow away from barrier 4, but was able to pick himself up to sit midfield in the run. The field opened up as they turned for home, allowing him to improve into the straight, but he just wasn’t going well enough to feature in the finish. He would finish in 7th position, beaten 4-1/4 lengths.

Comparison: Well inside the standard time.
Market Mover: AMIGOS GIGGLE and CORDYCEPS ONE were both well-backed late in betting.

Race 3 – Rumsey Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m - Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:09.36 Standard Time: 1:09.80 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Winner: KOKUSHI MUSOU (NZ 4yo g Bullbars – Shalaka) bounced well off the inside barrier and was able to find a perfect position as they rounded the first turn, settling on the back of the leader as they turned down the back. They ran along quickly through the middle stages, with Alex Badel allowing his rivals to run ahead toward the end of the back straight. In doing so, Badel was able to get away from the inside and move out three-wide with 400m to run as the leaders came back to the rest of the field. He travelled well as they turned into the straight, but had a job at hand to reel in the leader as they’d kicked away to lead by 2 lengths. He was able to work through his gears right down the straight, inching closer and closer with every stride before eventually taking the lead inside the final 50m. It was a comfortably victory in the end, with the gelding storming over the top of the leader to win by a half-length in good style.

Runner-Up: HERO STAR showed plenty of speed out of the barriers, going forward to be a clear leader as they made the first turn and headed down the back straight. He ran along at a good pace through the middle stages, stretching out the field down the back straight. Despite setting a quick pace, the gelding was still travelling comfortably under Matthew Poon who had a strong hold of his mount turning for home. He kicked well off the home turn and extended his lead to 2 lengths early in the straight. Poon threw everything he had at the gelding in the closing stages, but he just began to tire in the closing stages. He was eventually over run in the final stages, but finished a whopping 1-3/4 lengths ahead of third.

Run Of The Race: KOKUSHI MUSOU was far too good in the end and was ridden brilliantly by Alex Badel in the process. He wound up strongly in the closing stages, to over run his rivals, but there’s still plenty left to come from this four-year-old.

Disappointment: FINGERS CROSSED was on debut for the John Size and Joao Moreira combination, and settled right in behind the leader after getting away well from barrier 3. He came under heavy pressure 450m from home and did not pick up at all in the home straight, weakening right out of the race. He dropped right out to finish in last place, beaten 12 lengths with a veterinary examination post-race unable to find any excuse.

Comparison: Way inside the standard time.
Market Mover: FIRE BALL had plenty of support.

Race 4 – Rumsey Handicap, HK $1,040,000

Class 4 – Turf - Distance 1200m - Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:10.01 Standard Time: 1:09.80 Course/Class record: 1:08.60 Happily Friends

Winner: DRAGON KINGDOM (AUS 4yo g Holy Roman Emperor – Bokissa) pinged out of the barriers to make light work of the middle draw getting to the lead early under Karis Teetan. The Mauritian dictated from the front, running the race to suit his mount as he slowed the field slightly turning off the back straight. Teetan held the gelding together until they rounded the home turn, quickening nicely off the bend to extend his margin to a length early in the stretch. He extended his margin even further midway down the straight, leading by 2 lengths with 100m to run and having the race locked away already. The second placegetter stormed home down the outside, but he won comfortably in the end with the final margin being 1 length.

Runner-Up: DURHAM STAR was immediately snagged back from the wide barrier, settling at the tail of the field under Lyle Hewitson. He was racing three-wide down the back straight, but did have cover through the middle stages. He was able to get a nice trail into the race turning off the back stretch, beginning to improve around the outside of the field as Hewitson ramped up the pressure with 400m to run. He had built up plenty of momentum turning for home and swung widest in the straight as he began to motor down the outside. He stormed home in the final stages, but just had too much ground to make up, having to settle for second place.

Run Of The Race: DRAGON KINGDOM will continue to put himself in the best position possible if he jumps out of the barriers like he did tonight. He was able to find the front with ease, allowing Karis Teetan to run the race to suit before kicking well turning for home. There’s no doubt he can keep on winning.

Disappointment: YOUTHFUL DEAL was on debut tonight and didn’t have much luck in running, racing three-wide without cover for the majority of the race. He improved into the race nicely on the turn, but just didn’t have the gas in the tank to finish off the race, finishing in 8th place, beaten 3-1/4 lengths.

Comparison: Outside standard.
Market Mover: SPARKY STAR had some support late in betting.

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

Class 4 – Turf – Distance 1650m – Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:39.56 Standard Time: 1:40.00 Course/Class record: 1:38.83 Flying Elite

Winner: BABY (AUS 6yo g Medaglia d’Oro – Don’t Blink) jumped well off the inside barrier and was ridden along in the early stages by Karis Teetan to settle just off the pace once the field had sorted their order out. He was a touch keen passing the 1000m point with the pace only moderate turning down the back stretch, but he relaxed better through the middle stages of the race. Teetan was already nudging him along with 500m to run and was under the whip before they’d even turned for home. The Mauritian was able to cut across heels and into the clear at the top of the straight as he began to work through his gears down the stretch. He was creeping closer with every stride, levelling up to the leaders with 50m to run and going home the better, snatching the lead and pulling away in the final few strides to win by half-a-length.

Runner-Up: E LEGEND flew out of the barriers and was the early leader heading around the first turn, but allowed runners to cross him heading down the side of the course to eventually settle on the leader’s back. Zac Purton put the gelding to sleep through the middle stages, tracking the leader right down the back stretch and as they began making the turn. He came under heavy pressure with 400m to run, but he was responding to the urgings of Purton as they swung for home to grind away down the stretch. Purton had to throw everything at him to stick his nose in front of the leader, but Baby came flying down his outside to pick him up and spit him out in the closing stages. 

Run Of The Race: BABY stuck on brilliantly down the straight to round up the leaders in the nick of time. If he gets more races to suit with the pace on up front, he’ll continue to run over the top of them.

Disappointment: PERFECT TO GREAT raced in a midfield position throughout the race under Alex Badel, with the Frenchman starting to ramp up the pressure as they turned for home. The gelding simply did not finish off in the straight and finished in 10th place, beaten 5-1/2 lengths.

Comparison: Way inside standard.
Market Mover: No real market moves with SUNNY DELIGHT jumping a $3.60 favourite.

Race 6 – Hillier Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1200m - Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:09.36 Standard Time: 1:09.50 Course/Class record: 1:08.68 Speed Vision

Winner: YOU’REMYEVERYTHING (IRE 5yo g Holy Roman Emperor – Guilia) jumped well from an awkward draw and was eased out of the early speed battle by Vincent Ho, who slotted in just worse than midfield as they made the first turn. He was a long way off the lead down the back straight and was under heavy pressure with 500m left to run, with Ho needing to make up 6 lengths in the final 400m. The gelding was starting to improve though as they turned into the home straight, with Ho sticking nearer to the inside on straightening. He was still over a length away with 100m to run, but the gelding dug deep in the closing stages to pass his rivals along the inside and take the victory in the last few strides. It was a great finish by the five-year-old, with the official margin a half-length.

Runner-Up: STORMTROUPER jumped well but didn’t have the pace to match in the early going, with Ruan Maia drifting back to be midfield as they turned down the home straight. He travelled comfortably down the back straight as Maia eventually crossed to the inside, but copped a bit of a check turning off the back with a rival laying in on top of him with 550m to run. He was absolutely trucking around the home turn though and quickened immediately once Maia got him into the clear. He got going down the outside of the course, but the winner went home the better over the closing stages. He still finished off the race strongly to finish in second position.

Run Of The Race: ATOMIC FORCE was a dominant winner over 1200m as a juvenile, and it was nice to see him produce a much better effort tonight. He finally got out to the 1200m journey for the first time in Hong Kong and he definitely appreciated the longer journey. He’ll win a race sometime in the near future. 
Disappointment: DROPS OF GOD was caught three-wide around the first turn, but Joao Moreira pushed on to find settle in third position, one off the rail as they headed down the back. The gelding was already under heavy pressure as they turned for home and he copped a bump as he balanced up in the straight which cost him some momentum. He had nothing left to offer inside the final furlong though and drifted out of the race to finish in 10th place, beaten 4-1/2 lengths.

Comparison: Inside the standard time.
Market Mover: NEVER TOO SOON was the one punters came for late in betting.

Race 7 – Jervois Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1650m - Track Good to Firm
Time: 1:39.09 Standard Time: 1:39.75 Course/Class record: 1:38.55 Telecom Fighters

Winner: MY ECSTATIC (AUS 5yo g All Too Hard – More Radiant) got away quickly from barrier 3 and had plenty of early pace to stride forward, eventually rolling to the lead as they rounded the first turn. He kept the field running as they travelled down the back straight and held a length advantage through the middle stages of the event. He had plenty of his rivals off the bit and chasing with 400m to run, but Derek Leung hadn’t flinched aboard the five-year-old as yet, waiting until the point of the home turn before pushing the button. The gelding quickened brilliantly off the turn and he never looked like getting run down in the stretch. He absolutely bolted in by 2-1/4 lengths, leading from start-to-finish and demoralizing his rivals.

Runner-Up: STORM LEGEND got squeezed on jumping and was forced to settle back in the field, eventually landing in the second half of the pack and along the inside under Joao Moreira. The Brazilian hoop was able to slide his way along the inside rail to be in a more midfield position at the end of the back straight, with Moreira having plenty of horse underneath him with 450m to run. Moreira was able to get away from the rail and build into the race nicely as they turned for home, getting off heels and into the clear at the top of the straight. The winner was in a different league, but Storm Legend closed off the race nicely out wider on the course to claim second position.

Run Of The Race: What a performance by MY ECSTATIC. He jumped well, pressed forward and held the lead down the side of the course, running the race to suit and breaking the hearts of all his rivals with 450m to run. Derek Leung couldn’t have rated him any better, kicking clear at the top of the straight and going on to win easily. 

Disappointment: COPARTNER AMBITION raced in a midfield position throughout the race under Vincent Ho, with the local hoop peeling three-wide with 450m to run to try and improve into the race. He was improving, but not by much around the turn and was very one-paced as they turned for home. He stuck on fairly, finishing in 8th place, beaten 6-1/4 lengths, but he performed well below the market expectation.

Comparison: Way inside standard time.
Market Mover: WIN WIN FIGHTER had plenty of support late in betting, as did THE ANOMALY at double figures.

Race 8 – Cleverly Handicap, HK $1,570,000

Class 3 – Turf - Distance 1000m - Track Good
Time: 56.86 Standard Time: 56.80 Course/Class record: 55.85 Stoltz

Winner: EQUALETTA BLITZ (AUS 5yo g Equiano – Galleta) got away quickly from an outside draw, with Lyle Hewitson able to work across form wider out to sit outside the leader as they turned off the back straight. He was travelling comfortably sitting about a length off the leader around the turn, with Hewitson beginning to close that margin as they turned into the home straight. He quickened brilliantly at the top of the straight to take the lead with 200m to run and he never looked back. He pulled right away in the final 100m to win by 2-1/2 lengths eased down over the final stages by Hewitson, bringing up two wins in-a-row.

Runner-Up: SUPER AXIOM didn’t get away as quick as he usually would and had to be roused along by Dylan Mo in the opening stages, who really pushed the gelding along to eventually find the lead with 700m remaining. He kept the field running turning off the back straight and led by a length with 400m to run, but was quickly gobbled up with 200m to run. He initially stuck with the winner once passed, but the tough run in the early stages began to catch up with him in the final 100m. He was weakening badly, but he had built enough of a gap back to the rest of the field to hold onto second position, with another length back to third.

Run Of The Race: You can’t go past EQUALETTA BLITZ for the run of the race, absolutely bolting in to bring up his second win in-a-row. He was able to cross from out wide and slotted in brilliantly under Lyle Hewitson, who built up the revs turning for home, before sprinting away from his rivals in the straight. A fantastic win.

Disappointment: GORGEOUS VITALITY jumped a well-supported favourite at $1.90, but found himself a long way off the lead in the middle stages. He was still 6-3/4 lengths off the leader with 400m to run, leaving Zac Purton with a mountain of work to do in the closing stages. The gelding did rattle home in the dying stages, but he was still beaten 3-3/4 lengths after jumping an odds-on favourite.

Comparison: Just outside the standard.
Market Mover: HARMONY N BLESSED was specked at double figure odds.

Double for Karis Teetan, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

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