Hong Kong Preview: Special M seeks limelight

May 24th, 2022

With his two toughest rivals absent, #3 Special M can score a well-deserved victory in the Deep Bay Handicap (1,000 meters, or about five furlongs) at Happy Valley May 25.

Special M has rarely run a bad race since trainer John Size decided to concentrate on 1,000-meter races at Happy Valley, which have made up nine of his last 10 races. He has won twice in that time, but he’s also recorded an astonishing six runner-up finishes, and only two finishes out of the top three.

Two horses in particular have been stumbling blocks for Special M: Stoltz, who beat him home Jan. 26 and Feb. 9 (though Special M had turned the tables twice), and Whizz Kid, who has beaten him three times since Feb. 22.

Neither of them are present for this race, which gives Special M a great chance at a deserved victory. He isn’t helped greatly by drawing barrier 10, but the 1,000-meter start isn’t as tough as the 1,200-meter start for outside gates. Vagner Borges should be able to secure a good run and power home in the latter stages.

The horses that may prove the toughest for Special M to beat are #5 Party Warrior and #4 Hong Kong Bet.

Party Warrior disappointed when finishing eighth at Happy Valley April 13, but he had been in great form prior to that, winning one and finishing second twice at his previous three starts. Most of those races were at 1,200 meters, but he has performed well at 1,000 meters in the past.

Hong Kong Bet was consistently just missing victories in the early months of the season but hasn’t been at the track since December 8. He has the outside gate to negotiate, but he has the ability to find a good path for Matthew Chadwick.

#6 Resolute can be hard to follow, but he put up a nice effort for second on the dirt track at his last start. #9 Equaletta Blitz and #10 Triple Triple will have their admirers, while there will be interest in the Hong Kong debut of #7 Adios, a winner in Australia last year prior to his move to Hong Kong.

Happy Valley, Race 9, Deep Bay Handicap (1,000m)

  • $10 win/$30 show: #3 Special M
  • $1.30 trifecta: 3 with 4, 5, 9, 10 with 4, 5, 9, 10

Bonus Play — New Zealand

Otaki, Race 5, Riverstone Café Maiden 3yo, 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs)

  • $20 win/show: #3 Kronenbourg: Great effort on debut and should be ready to go on with it here.