Hong Kong Preview: Maldives can atone

May 31st, 2022

#1 Maldives can atone for an unlucky effort at Sha Tin with victory in the Caine Handicap (1,650 meters, or 1 mile 45 yards) at Happy Valley June 1.

The son of Burgundy hasn’t won this season, but he has been extremely consistent, not finishing further back than third in four starts prior to his most recent outing, including a close second to Super Ten April 24.

Ignore his last run, at Sha Tin May 22: Maldives settled last from a wide draw and couldn’t find a run in the stretch, eventually finishing sixth behind Precise Express.

Barrier nine isn’t ideal again, but he’s got a good record at Happy Valley and though it has a very short stretch, the final corner is so sharp that horses often fan across the track and allow back-runners a chance to find a clear run.

Luke Ferraris rides the David Hall-trained galloper, who should be among the challengers in the stretch.

Among the other consistent gallopers in the field is Zac Purton’s mount, #3 En Pointe. He’s won three of his last five, the most recent victory on April 3, and finished third in a hot field at Sha Tin last start. Purton should find a good run from barrier six and be finishing strongly.

Two horses moving up after Class 4 victories are #8 Nimble Nimbus and #9 Win Win Fighter. Nimble Nimbus won by a very easy five lengths at Happy Valley May 11, his first victory since New Year’s Day. But that was on yielding ground and whether he strikes the same form on top of the ground at Class 3 level is questionable.

Win Win Fighter didn’t go up in the ratings by as much as Nimble Nimbus, but his victory came via a stunning turn of foot. If Karis Teetan can find a path for the son of Elzaam, he looks capable of making the step up to this grade.

#4 Viva Hunter should improve on his last-start eighth, coming in a slowly-run race; he had been very consistent before then, while #2 Crossford wasn’t far away in that field and he has the ace draw.

Best Play

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Maldives
  • $1 box exacta: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9

Bonus Play — New Zealand

Woodville, June 1, Race 4: Tomos Aluminium Services 1200

  • $20 win/show: #1 The Stoney One: Showed promise against stronger company earlier in the year and just beaten when resuming. Should be ready to win.