Hong Kong Preview: Packing Famous may have fitness advantage

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

September 20th, 2022

#5 Packing Famous can take advantage of his race fitness and win the Fortress Hill Handicap (1,650 meters, or about 1 mile 45 yards) at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

The Press Statement gelding showed much-improved form last season with consecutive Class 4 wins, both at Happy Valley. He didn’t finish the season off well, but he had wide barrier draws to contend with in both cases.

This season he resumed with a half-length second to Nearly Fine, showing a new side of himself as he settled close to the pace rather than in the second half of the field.

Unlike most of his opponents, he’s had a race leading into this contest and could have a fitness advantage. If he can get out of the gate well for a second week, he should be right in the finish for jockey Matthew Poon.

Packing Famous’ stablemate #1 Copartner Elites should also go well. He was very consistent without winning last season, notching three second-place finishes and never finishing further back than sixth in six races.

He ran a nice barrier trial on the Sha Tin dirt track Sept. 13 and looks ready for a big effort. Harry Bentley rides.

Like Packing Famous, #2 My Ecstatic was a big improver in the second half of the 2021-22 season, at one point picking up three victories in four starts.

He disappointed in his final start for the season but also ran well at the trials earlier this month, and Derek Leung should be able to find a good position from the inside gate.

#4 Gift of Lifeline and #7 Robot Warrior are worth including in exotics, while #3 Incanto Prepared also trialled well recently and has the benefit of Zac Purton’s services.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #5 Packing Famous
  • $1.30 trifecta: 1, 5 with 1, 2, 5 with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

Bonus play – New Zealand

Woodville, Race 7, Shane Brown Racing, 1,400 meters (about 7 furlongs)

$10 win/$30 show, #6 Hot Shockolate: Maintaining good form on the sodden winter tracks and should go close to a deserved win.