Hong Kong Preview: Moreira can help Ted come home
#11 Here Comes Ted can take advantage of the ace gate and the services of Joao Moreira to win the Java Handicap (1200m, or about six furlongs) at Happy Valley Dec. 22.
The son of Per Incanto has been racing consistently without winning of late, but charged home from near-last to beat all but Party Warrior at his most recent start.
That was in Class 4 company and he faces Class 3 opponents here, but he is well down in the weights on 115 pounds, which will be a big help.
Though his rallying style means he won’t use the inside gate for an on-speed transit, the sharp home turn can often mean there are gaps near the rail in the stretch and Moreira should be able to find a path where he can challenge the leaders.
#1 Family Folks and #3 Diamond Brilliant are at the top of the weights and were first and third, respectively, in their most recent starts. Both have wide draws but do have the ability to contend.
It’s not often a Hong Kong Class 3 event features a runner that beat one of the best horses in the world, but that’s what this event has in #6 California Forest, who makes his Hong Kong debut. The Kingman gelding arrives after winning two of his five starts when known as Coill Avon, including a maiden victory in July 2020 over St Mark’s Basilica, the 2021 Cartier European Horse of the Year after four Group 1 victories.
The market will provide a good clue as to California Forest’s prospects, but his European form suggests he will be a chance here, especially from gate two.
#2 Winning Method and #8 Excellent Chariot look the best of the other chances.
BEST PLAY – HAPPY VALLEY, DECEMBER 22, RACE 7
- 6 win/18 show: #11 Here Comes Ted.
- $1 box exacta: 1-2-3-6-11
BONUS PLAY – NEW ZEALAND
Matamata, R1, #3 Ess Vee Are, $10 win/show: Very unlucky on debut. Holds a nomination for the New Zealand Derby and will win if he’s up to that class.