Hong Kong Preview: Packing Award tough to beat at Happy Valley

February 7th, 2023

Two HK$3.8 million ($485,000) Class 1 contests highlight Wednesday’s racing at Happy Valley. Here we have a look at both of them.

Happy Valley Race 7 Selections

  • #5 Packing Award
  • #4 The Irishman
  • #7 Beauty Live
  • #9 Savaquin

Happy Valley Race 7 Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #5 Packing Award
  • $1.30 trifecta: 5 with 4, 7, 9 with 4, 7, 9

#5 Packing Award can build on his last-start Group 3 placing with victory in the Shan Kwong Handicap.

The Australian-bred son of Shamus Award has been in fantastic form this campaign, his only failure coming two starts back when he was caught wide throughout. He redeemed himself in the January Cup (G3) Jan. 11, beating all but Hong Kong International Cup (G1) third-place finisher Money Catcher.

He faces a good field of Class 1 gallopers, but there’s no Money Catcher here. Zac Purton should be able to find a nice position from gate four in the 1,650-meter (about one mile and 40 yard) contest.

His strongest opposition could come from #4 The Irishman. Third in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and fifth in the Hong Kong Derby last year, The Irishman has only once raced beyond seven furlongs this year, a distance probably short of his best. A return to a trip just beyond a mile should see the former Australian graded stakes placegetter go close.

#7 Beauty Live has taken a while this campaign to regain the form which produced four wins from eight starts in 2021-22, but he got on the board for the season at Sha Tin Jan. 21. He hasn’t raced at Happy Valley before, but he will be a big hope if he handles the track. #9 Savaquin, who does race well at Happy Valley, is another who should be included in exotics.

Happy Valley Race 8 Selections

  • #5 Rewarding Together
  • #4 Campione
  • #9 Family Folks
  • #3 Nervous Witness

Happy Valley Race 8 Wagers

  • $20 win: #5 Rewarding Together
  • $1.30 trifecta: 5 with 3, 4, 9 with 3, 4, 9

Like Packing Award, #5 Rewarding Together comes into the Blue Pool Handicap (1,200 meters, or about six furlongs) after a great effort in graded stakes company.

After wins at Happy Valley in October and November, he contested the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (G3) Jan. 8, finding only Sight Success too strong. The value of that form was franked when Sight Success finished third to Lucky Sweynesse and Wellington in the Centenary Sprint Cup (G1) last Sunday.

#3 Nervous Witness could be the toughest opponent. He was 10th in the Bauhinia Sprint, but it was his first run this season and he could improve from the outing.

#4 Campione, who gets a 10-pound apprentice allowance with Angus Chung aboard, and Happy Valley specialist #9 Family Folks are worth including for trifectas.