Another Wednesday, another evening of racing at Happy Valley in Hong Kong. Of course, it’s only an evening card for the locals; bettors in North America will enjoy the nine-race card starting at 6:45 a.m. (EST).
Logical favorites abound, including an up-and-coming prospect in Race 7, but the recent defeats of standout stars like Beauty Generation and Exultant have reiterated how anything can happen on the competitive Hong Kong circuit.
Let’s tackle the card with a couple of spot plays, including an upset candidate in Race 8.
Race 7: Jaffe Handicap (Class 3)
The rapidly-improving #3 High Rev has won three of his last five starts and is a head away from being 3-for-3 over this course and 1,650-meter distance. He kicked off the 2019-20 season with a deceptively good finish sprinting 1,200 meters at Happy Valley, then stretched back out to his preferred distance and crushed a Class 3 handicap by 3 1/4 lengths.
High Rev will pick up 10 pounds off his last run, but retains the services of reigning champion jockey Zac Purton. Five-year-old son of Fastnet Rock looms as the horse to beat, though #1 My Ally could put up a fight. A winner over this class and distance in May, My Ally is technically the 133-pound highweight for trainer John Moore, but jockey Alfred Chan Ka Hei rides with a 10-pound allowance, so My Ally will actually be receiving seven pounds from High Rev.
Let’s bet these two in the quinella while adding a win bet on High Rev:
$10.40 to win on #3 High Rev
$10.40 quinella: 1,3
Race 8: Lockhart Handicap (Class 3)
#3 King’s Eminence, a two-time winner in Australia, was hardly disgraced when finishing fourth over this course and distance on October 9. Making his first start in Hong Kong, the son of Exceed and Excel was beaten just 2 1/4 lengths by capable sprinter Snap Fit. King’s Eminence posted competitive finishing fractions for this class level, so even marginal improvement in his second local start could put this four-year-old gelding in the hunt for victory.
Since King’s Eminence will start at a nice price, let’s bet him to win and play him in the omni/swinger with #8 Gentle Breeze, who holds the Class 4 course record over this distance:
$10.40 to win on #3 King’s Eminence
$10.40 omni/swinger: 3,8