Hong Kong Preview: Gallant Waking to enjoy Happy Valley return

February 14th, 2023

Don’t be surprised if #1 Gallant Waking improves sharply when he contests the Tsuen Wan Handicap over 1,650 meters (about 1 mile, 40 yards) at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

Happy Valley Race 9 Selections

  • #1 Gallant Waking
  • #8 Jumbo Legend
  • #4 Nimble Nimbus
  • #10 Master Tornado

Happy Valley Race 9 Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Gallant Waking
  • $1.30 trifecta: 1, 8 with 1, 4, 8 with 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12

The Pride of Dubai gelding began the season well, putting together a stretch of two wins and two seconds before finishing fifth in a restricted Class 3 event at Sha Tin Jan. 8.

His last start doesn’t look so good — 10th of 13 over about a mile at Sha Tin Jan. 24. But he was drawn near the outside, was caught three wide early and then made a mid-race move to be challenging for the lead at the top of the stretch. He proved no match for winner Super Sunny Sing, but he only faded in the final 100 meters and was still just two lengths from the runner-up.

This time he heads back to Happy Valley, where he’s won three races. He has a midfield barrier of eight, and this time has reigning champion jockey Zac Purton aboard. The Purton factor will bring his odds down, but he looks a solid prospect nonetheless.

Also switching from Sha Tin to Happy Valley is #4 Nimble Nimbus. He’s been running very well in recent starts, but he has a wide gate to contend with and may need to be patiently ridden to have a chance.

#8 Jumbo Legend, #10 Master Tornado, and #2 Zone D were second, third, and fourth, respectively, in a blanket finish at Happy Valley Jan. 18. The first two, in particular, look to be strong prospects again here.

#3 Comet Splendido always warrants attention in this class at Happy Valley, while #7 Loyal Baby, freshened since a tough victory Dec. 28, and the Jan. 18 Class 4 winner #12 Star Contact add interest.

It’s an open race, but I’m happy to support Gallant Waking to win and at the head of exotics.

Bonus play — New Zealand

Cambridge Synthetic, Race 2, Rating 65 Benchmark, 1,300 meters (about 6 1/2 furlongs)

  • $10 win/$30 show, #4 Louisiana Man: Broke maiden here last start and has shown a clear liking for Cambridge’s Polytrack in trials and races. Can handle the rise in class.