Racing returns to Happy Valley in Hong Kong on Wednesday with a nine-race card starting at 5:45 a.m. EST.
After three straight cards at Sha Tin, the switch to Happy Valley will offer a refreshing change of pace. The highlight of the day is the January Cup (G3), in which Hong Kong’s reigning champion jockey Zac Purton will pick up the mount on classy veteran Southern Legend.
All told, Purton will ride eight of the nine races, and many of his mounts are highly regarded in the early wagering. A multi-win day should be in the cards, so let’s feature a couple of Purton’s mounts for our Wednesday spot plays:
Race 6: The January Cup (Group 3, 8:15 a.m. EST)
Most folks figure to land on Purton’s mount #1 Southern Legend, the 133-pound highweight in this 1,800-meter Group 3 handicap. A 7-year-old veteran, Southern Legend scored over this class and distance when claiming the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (G3) on Nov. 3 at Sha Tin. This was an impressive run as Southern Legend flew home the final two 400-meter sectionals in :22.64 and :22.82 to win by a neck in 1:45.25, breaking the course record.
Southern Legend failed to stay 2,400 meters when facing high-class international competition in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) last month, but the drop in class and cutback to 1,800 meters should trigger a rebound.
Let’s bet Southern Legend in the quinella and trifecta with #5 Sacred Capital and #6 Harmony Victory. Sacred Capital, a shipper from Macau, finished a good fourth in the Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse despite a slightly troubled run and can improve in his second local start.
Meanwhile, Harmony Victory brings a wicked turn-of-foot to the equation while stepping up off a runner-up effort in Class 1 company. He gets in light with just 113 pounds on his back and can contend for a spot in the money.
$13 Quinella: 1 with 5,6 ($26)
$2.60 Trifecta: 1 with 5,6 with 2,4,5,6 ($15.60)
$1.30 Trifecta: 5,6 with 1 with 2,4,5,6 ($7.80)
Race 9: Causeway Handicap (Class 3, 9:50 a.m. EST)
Purton’s lightly-raced mount #2 Aurora Pegasus has been improving rapidly and enters this 1,200-meter dash off three consecutive victories. On Nov. 20, Aurora Pegasus rallied tenaciously to finish in a dead-heat with Shining Ace over this class, course, and distance. Shining Ace returned to finish a close third in a super-competitive Class 3 handicap on Dec. 12, flattering the performance of Aurora Pegasus.
Aurora Pegasus should sit a nice trip drafting behind the leaders while breaking from the rail. If Purton finds an opening at the top of the lane, Aurora Pegasus can rally for his fourth consecutive victory.
$13 to Win on #2 Aurora Pegasus
$13 Quinella: 1,2