Hong Kong Preview: Elegance set to be Valiant
#3 Valiant Elegance looks capable of overcoming an eight-pound rise in the ratings in the Pedder Handicap at Happy Valley on Wednesday, where all races are subject to a Rest of the World Bet Back offer.
The Australian-bred was one of the big improvers in Hong Kong last season, winning three in a row from March to May.
He resumed in style with a 2 1/4-length victory at Happy Valley over 1,000 meters (about five furlongs) when resuming Sept. 14, despite missing the start, and he has shown in the past that the extra 200 meters (about one furlong) will hold no fears for him.
His barrier draw of seven is not ideal, but he should still be good enough to deal with it in a field that lacks depth.
The biggest danger looks to be #2 Five Elements. A Group 2 winner in New Zealand who held his own against some of the best horses in the country when known as Stormy, Five Elements has raced well without picking up a victory in nine Hong Kong starts.
He began the season well when third to Beauty Glory and Igniting at Happy Valley Sept. 14, and he has two distinct advantages: jockey Zac Purton, fresh from winning seven of the 10 races at Sha Tin on Sunday, and the coveted No. 1 draw.
#8 Street Scream will also have followers after a strong victory, his first at Class 3 level, despite being caught wide when resuming Sept. 21. He is up in the ratings but has a better draw to compensate.
#9 Trader has been in solid form and can’t be left out of exotics, while we'll also keep an eye on #7 Solar Winds. A Group 3-placed two-year-old in Australia, he finished a nice fourth at Sha Tin Sept. 25 and could be one to watch on his Happy Valley debut.
Bonus play – New Zealand
Woodville, Race 5, Race Images Maiden, 1,400 meters (about 7 furlongs)
- $10 win/$40 show, #5 Winkle Bay: Went close to winning a few times last season and should be better for first-up run.