Hong Kong Preview: Gorytus can win again
Exciting four-year-old #3 Gorytus could earn himself a crack at the Hong Kong Derby if he can win the Victoria Park Handicap at Happy Valley Feb. 9.
The Irish-bred son of Footstepsinthesand showed good form in two English juvenile starts in 2020, winning on debut at York prior to finishing fourth in the Vintage Stakes (G2) at Goodwood.
Moved to Hong Kong last year, Gorytus was second on debut and after three more starts, won impressively at Happy Valley Jan. 19, swooping from well back for Vincent Ho to score by two lengths.
Gorytus has an entry for the Hong Kong Derby March 20 and if he is going to make that race his connections would like to see him win here, even though he is seven pounds higher in the ratings for this event. Derek Leung has the mount.
His biggest challenge could well come from #6 Invincible Missile, who has been in great form of late. The son of Smart Missile won two starts back on International Jockey Challenge night Dec. 8 prior to a fast-finishing third back at Happy Valley Jan. 26.
He has barrier 10 to contend with from the 1650-meter (just over a mile) start, but as a horse that invariably settles in the second half of the field it should not be a problem. In-form Englishman Harry Bentley, who has ridden him in three of his previous four starts, has the call again.
Though there are some handy types in the field, exotics might be best played through both of these runners.
Other horses with decent chances of being in the money include #1 Amazing One Plus, #4 Helene Wisdom Star, #8 Total Power, #9 The Anomaly, and #10 Sacred Ibis, but I shall use all runners for trifectas.
BEST PLAY FOR HONG KONG
Happy Valley, Feb. 9, Race 9
- $10 win/$30 show: #3 Gorytus.
- $1.30 trifecta: 3, 6 with 3, 6, with all.
BONUS PLAY – NEW ZEALAND
Hastings, Feb. 9, Race 7, Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes
- $10 win/$10 show: #10 Victorem: Has run consistently well this season and should appreciate a slower track here.