Hong Kong Preview: Exciting Fa Fa faces toughest test
#12 Fa Fa takes on a high-quality field in the United Kingdom Handicap (1800m, or about 1 1/8 miles) in his Class 2 debut but may still have the ability to extend his winning streak to five.
After three modest starts to his Hong Kong career over sprint distances at Sha Tin, Fa Fa has been a revelation since he started racing at Happy Valley. In six starts at Happy Valley over 1650m (a little further than one mile), he’s won five and finished second on the other occasion.
He’s never won by much – all but one of the victories has been by less than a length – but that is in part due to his pattern of coming from off the speed, where it is hard to score wide-margin victories due to the tight track and the 338m (just over 1.5 furlongs) stretch.
With two Class 4 victories and three at Class 3, Fa Fa now takes on Class 2 company. Once again he has a good draw, and with the bottom weight of 114 pounds, he should be right in this.
However, it’s probably best to seek some cover when betting the race, as he steps up to 1800m for the first time and faces a strong Class 2 field. His win and show odds may not be appealing either.
The most obvious chance to beat him is #4 Zebrowski. Runner-up in the 2020 Australian Derby (G1) at 2400m (1 1/2 miles), Zebrowski has impressed since stepping up to 1800m in Hong Kong, winning at Happy Valley Nov. 3 and then finishing second to the improving Celestial Power at Sha Tin. His ability to race on the speed will help, and he’s a very good each way prospect.
Outside the top two, it’s difficult to back against any of the other runners in multiples. Perhaps the best of them may be #2 Telecom Fighters. With the possible exception of #7 Solar Wai Wai, he’s the only guaranteed speed runner and it would be no surprise if he was able to stack the field up and beat them in a sprint home.
- $20 show: #4 Zebrowski ($20)
- 50c trifecta: 4, 12 with 2, 4, 12 with all ($20)