Hong Kong Preview: Seasonal debut can be a Delight
Fitness will be the key to whether #2 Everyone’s Delight can score his third consecutive victory when he contests the Fortress Hill Handicap (1650m, or just over one mile) at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
Everyone’s Delight was consistent for much of last season, winning twice in his first nine starts at sprint distances, but stepped up significantly when asked to run 1650m in his final two starts of the season. He benefitted from setting a slow pace when winning on June 9, but came from just off the pace to win July 7 in a much more quickly-run race.
He hasn’t raced since that day but he won first-up last season. And with a kind barrier draw of two, he should be very hard to beat provided he’s close to full fitness. The market should provide a guide as to whether the locals believe he’s ready.
If Everyone’s Delight needs the run, then #1 Sunny Star and #5 Harmony Spirit might be the ones to watch, with both having had a run this season.
Sunny Star was impressive first-up, finishing very strongly in the stretch to come from near last to take third behind Turin Redstar and Gallant Crown. He won’t be helped by barrier 10, but he should be making up ground near the line.
Harmony Spirit mixes his racing between turf and the all-weather track, but he runs well on both. He made ground nicely for a fourth-place finish over 1200m (about six furlongs) on the all-weather on his seasonal debut and he has shown good form over 1650m on turf.
The wild card in the race is #7 Majestic Victory, who makes his Hong Kong debut. He won three of his six starts last season in New Zealand when known as Arlington Gold, with two of those victories coming at 1600m. He is another one for whom the market should be watched closely.
Others worth considering for exotics are #4 Farshad, #6 Incanto Prepared, #8 Parterre, #9 Total Power, and #12 Piano Solo.
BEST HONG KONG PLAY
Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 13, Race 8, Happy Valley
- $6 win/$12 show, #2 Everyone’s Delight
- $1 box exacta, #1, #2, #5, #7