The 2019-20 racing season in Hong Kong draws to a close on Wednesday with a nine-race card at Happy Valley, an evening of racing added to the original schedule to compensate for a cancelled card last September.
With 145 winners to his credit already, Zac Purton has sewn up his third straight leading jockey title, while Ricky Yiu (67 winners) is almost certain to end the season as leading trainer. Both will seek to pad their win totals with a bevy of live contenders on closing day.
Let’s follow the action during this “bonus meeting” with a pair of spot plays:
Race 3: Tsap Tseung Handicap (Class 4, 7:45 a.m. ET)
#4 Sell My Sole didn’t ran badly in his debut sprinting 1,200 meters at Sha Tin, tracking the pace before weakening slightly to finish sixth. But he showed noteworthy improvement while traveling to Happy Valley for his second run, pressing the pace before rallying to miss by a short head in a 1,200-meter Class 4 handicap.
Sell My Sole demonstrated a strong turn-of-foot at Happy Valley, sprinting the final 400 meters in a snappy :22.91—nearly half a second quicker than the class standard. The final time of 1:09.35 was likewise faster than standard, suggesting Sell My Sole can end the season on a winning note while sticking to the same course, class level, and distance.
We’ll bet Sell My Sole to win and key him in the omni/swinger with #1 Honest Way and #3 Power King, hoping to cash both combinations if our three preferred runners finish 1-2-3:
- $20.80 to Win on #4 Sell My Sole
- $5.20 Omni/Swinger: 4 with 1,3 ($10.40)
- Total: $31.20
Race 6: Min Fat Handicap (Class 3, 9:15 a.m. ET)
Ascending the class ladder hasn’t been an issue for #2 California Rad, who has been on a hot streak for Hong Kong’s second-ranked trainer Tony Cruz. After wiring a 1,200-meter Class 4 handicap in April, California Rad stepped up to Class 3 company and proceeded to rattle off two wins and a runner-up effort from three starts.
California Rad was particularly impressive in a 1,200-meter event at Happy Valley on June 10, tracking the pace before drawing clear to score by two lengths. He’ll pick up weight off this resounding victory, toting 132 pounds, but his tactical speed is an asset and he figures to win again if he brings his A-game.
A win bet on California Rad will be our main wager, but we’ll also play him in the omni/swinger with #3 Good For You, a five-time winner over the grass course at Happy Valley. Following a series of decent efforts over the Sha Tin dirt, Good For You is returning to his preferred surface and figures to enjoy the 7-pound weight allowance offered by jockey Jerry Chau.
- $15.60 to Win on #2 California Rad
- $10.40 Omni/Swinger: 2,3
- Total: $26