Happy Valley in Hong Kong has scheduled a quality evening of racing for Wednesday, November 13, with the Class 2 Maurice Handicap (Race 9) looming as the feature.
But while the Maurice Handicap is a competitive race with Green Luck and Playa Del Puente among the big names, a pair of sprints earlier on the card offer just as much appeal from a spot play perspective.
First post time is 5:45 a.m. (EST), so be sure to tune in early if you want to catch all the action!
Race 4: Queen’s Road Central Handicap (Class 4)
The most likely winner on the card might be #6 Very Sweet Orange, who hasn’t missed the exacta in his last four starts sprinting on grass at Happy Valley. On October 30, Very Sweet Orange was hard-urged to vie for the lead while breaking from post 13, yet he stayed on well down the straight, holding for second place behind gate-to-wire winner Hong Kong Win.
Very Sweet Orange will start from the rail on Wednesday, so as long as he breaks alertly, he should enjoy an unencumbered trip setting the pace. Even better, jockey Alfred Chan Ka Hei brings a 10-pound allowance to the fold, which means Very Sweet Orange will tote a feathery 116 pounds. With this sizable weight advantage in his favor, Very Sweet Orange should be difficult or impossible to catch.
$31.20 to win on #6 Very Sweet OrangeRace
Race 8: Sutherland Handicap (Class 3)
The undefeated #4 Snap Fit figures to be a clear favorite while stretching out to 1,200 meters for the first time. With reigning champion jockey Zac Purton in the saddle, Snap Fit has gone 3-for-3 dashing 1,000 meters at Happy Valley, most recently rallying to win a Class 3 handicap by a neck on October 9.
Purton retains the mount on this five-year-old gelding, who should have every opportunity save ground on the turns while breaking from post four. The only question mark is the longer distance, in which case maybe it’s worth playing Snap Fit in the quinella with #5 Natural Winner.
Natural Winner never threatened in his Hong Kong debut sprinting 1,200 meters over the Sha Tin dirt on October 27, but he was only beaten five lengths with Purton in the saddle. A three-time winner over synthetic courses in France, Natural Winner is bred for grass and could relish the surface switch on Wednesday. An improved effort could be in the offing for his second local start.
$20.80 to win on #4 Snap Fit
$10.40 quinella: 4,5