Hong Kong Preview: Campione can conquer the Valley
#4 Campione can continue on his winning ways when he takes on Class 2 company for the first time in the Grass Island Handicap (1,200 meters, or about six furlongs) at Happy Valley May 18.
An unbeaten winner of three, including the Premio Primi Passi (G3) as a two-year-old in Italy last year when known as Windstormblack, Campione has only suffered defeat once in three Hong Kong starts this year.
After finishing fourth, beaten less than a length, when tiring in the last 100 meters on debut at Sha Tin March 6, Campione then beat Beauty Mission at Sha Tin March 27. He then had no problem with a switch to the Sha Tin dirt, winning comfortably by 1 1/2 lengths April 16.
His effort on the dirt suggests he is an adaptable horse, and with his early gate speed he should not have too many problems at his first go on the tricky, turning Happy Valley course. Matthew Poon’s two-pound allowance should help offset his eight-pound rise in the ratings after his last victory.
The biggest danger is clearly #11 Eason, who has yet to finish outside the first two in six Hong Kong outings. The Written Tycoon three-year-old was highly impressive at Happy Valley April 13 after being caught wide from an outside gate, and he has the advantage of having raced four times at Happy Valley.
Vincent Ho will partner Eason from a kinder barrier draw of seven, and though it’s his first attempt at Class 2 it would surprise if he doesn’t run well.
Though Campione and Eason stand out, they’re not the only chances in what looks a highly competitive race.
#7 Lucky With You bounced back last start after two tough races, and he should go well from gate three with Karis Teetan in the saddle. #8 Keep You Warm continues to run well and will benefit from Zac Purton’s services, while it will be interesting to see if #9 McLucky can improve on his first-up failure from a wide draw.
For more help with Hong Kong races, watch the “Tips” Hong Kong in-platform expert picks videos with Tim Carroll for every race at Hong Kong for both the midweek and weekend cards.
Bonus Play – New Zealand
Riccarton Park Synthetic, May 19 (ET), Race 2, Speight’s Rating 74, 2,200 meters (about 1 3/8 miles)
- $10 win/$30 show: #6 Eulogy Show: Looked a different horse with a 10-length victory on synthetic debut. Hard to beat with a similar effort.