Hong Kong Preview: Packing Award well-placed
#9 Packing Award looks well capable of handling the step up to Class 3 company in the Sam Chuk Handicap at Happy Valley March 23.
The Australian-bred has raced seven times in Hong Kong, racing mostly up to six furlongs, but he handled the step up to 1,650 meters (about one mile and 55 yards) with aplomb when winning a Class 4 contest at Happy Valley Feb. 23.
In that victory he carried 132 pounds and sat three wide without cover, which is normally very tough to do at Happy Valley, but he fought very strongly to take the honors.
His barrier draw of eight could be troublesome, but if the in-form Karis Teetan is able to find any sort of cover, Packing Award looks to have enough ability to handle Class 3 company.
#2 Zone D and #11 Viva Hunter fought out a very close finish last time they raced, with the former just coming out on top. Both should be prominent again, with Viva Hunter perhaps a chance to turn the tables as he is three pounds better off at the weights.
In an open field, #7 Villa Fionn should also run well. His last four starts have produced two wins, a second, and a third, and from barrier three he should get every chance.
The interesting runner is #5 Copartner Fionn. A three-time winner in New Zealand when known as Black Forest, he finished fast for third on his Hong Kong debut at Sha Tin over 1,200 meters (about six furlongs). He has won over 1,600 meters in New Zealand and should appreciate the step up in trip, but the tight Happy Valley track could work against him.
Best Hong Kong play
Happy Valley, March 23, Race 9, Sam Chuk Handicap (1,650 meters)
- $10 win/$30 show: #9 Packing Award
- $1.30 trifecta: 9, 11 with 2, 9, 11 with 2, 5, 7, 9, 11
Bonus Play – New Zealand
Pukekohe, March 23, Race 3, Pukekohe Mitre10 2100
- $10 win/$30 show, #4 Tavi With Me: Unlucky enough to run into a Derby winner and an Oaks placegetter in two maidens before breaking through March 12. Should handle rise in class.