Hong Kong Preview: Drops Of God seeks deserved victory
#1 Drops Of God can break through for a well-deserved win against a handy Class 3 field in the Calla Lily Handicap (1,200 meters, or about six furlongs) at Happy Valley June 8.
The Australian-bred son of Mossman won two of his four starts last season and looked set for more when winning second-up at Sha Tin Oct. 1. However, despite not finishing further back than sixth, he hasn’t been able to win since in six starts.
Two runs ago, he ran into the exciting Sakewin and though he was well-beaten, he was still nearly two lengths clear of his other opponents. At his last start, he had to overcome a wide draw at the tricky 1,200-meter Happy Valley start May 18 and fought on well for third.
Drops Of God re-opposes the winner at Happy Valley, #7 Valiant Elegance, who completed a three-timer when scoring that day. This time, however, Drops Of God is six pounds better off at the weights and starts from barrier five rather than 10, which should help.
In addition, he is reunited for the first time in five starts with Joao Moreira, who was aboard for all three of his Hong Kong victories. He has yet to win at Happy Valley, but he hasn’t finished further back than fourth, so he handles the track well enough.
Valiant Elegance should be tough to beat again, though whether he can defy his six-pound rating increase is yet to be seen. His draw of nine doesn’t help either, but he was good enough to win from gate eight last time and from off the speed, a change from his tearaway tactics for his previous two victories. He’s one of the most improved horses in Hong Kong, and another victory isn’t out of the question.
#3 Namjong Sings, like Drops Of God, should appreciate a better barrier draw. He had barrier 9 to deal with last start and still fought well for third May 18, and gate three will be a great help.
#4 Smart Idea tasted defeat for the first time in three starts behind Namjong Sings May 18, but with the right run he can easily find his way into the money. #6 Classic Posh and #11 Lyrical Motion are others to consider for exotics.
Bonus Play — New Zealand
Hawera, Race 2, Zed at Grangewilliam Stud 1600
- $10 win/$20 show, #7 Arbre Rouge: Won debut at this course May 22 despite jockey losing irons. Looks capable of another strong performance.