Hong Kong Spot Plays: Banking on a newcomer at Happy Valley
The 2019-20 racing season in Hong Kong is gradually winding down, but with one month left on the racing calendar, a promising player for next season is just gearing up.
The weekly Wednesday card at Happy Valley kicks off as usual at 6:45 a.m. ET, and we’ve got a couple of spot plays to help you follow the action:
Race 4: Durham Handicap (Class 3, 8:15 a.m. ET)
#1 Green Aeon might be a newcomer to the Hong Kong scene, but this 4-year-old Australian-bred looms as the horse to beat for trainer Caspar Fownes. The son of Snitzel showed promise in his native country, winning a pair of sprints before finishing a close fifth in the 1,400-meter Agency South Pacific Classic behind Fasika, a future Group 3 winner who recently placed in the All Aged Stakes (G1).
Since arriving in Hong Kong, Green Aeon has impressed in a pair of barrier trials, winning both in comfortable fashion. Notably, one of those victories came over the same course and 1,000-meter distance as Wednesday’s test. Acclaimed jockey Joao Moreira was in the saddle and stays aboard for race day, suggesting Green Aeon is sitting on a winning run.
There’s a chance Green Aeon will develop into a very nice runner on the Hong Kong circuit, so let’s bet him to win and key him on top in the trifecta.
$27.30 to Win on #1 Green Aeon
$1.30 Trifecta: 1 with 3,4,5,6 with 2,3,4,5,6,9,10 ($31.20)
$1.30 Trifecta: 1 with 2,9,10 with 3,4,5,6 ($15.60)
Race 5: Renfrew Handicap (Class 4, 8:45 a.m. ET)
There’s hardly any speed at all in this 1,200-meter dash, which could give an advantage to #2 Happy Good Guys. While not exactly a pure front runner, this 4-year-old gelding has more tactical speed than most and prevailed in a 1,000-meter Class 4 handicap at Happy Valley in January after tracking the early pace from a wide draw.
Conditioned by Hong Kong’s leading trainer Ricky Yiu, Happy Good Guys is drawn wide again in post 11, but in this paceless race he shouldn’t have much difficulty sprinting to the lead and dropping inside to save ground. Even better, jockey Alfred Chan rides with a 7-pound weight allowance, so Happy Good Guys gets in with a light assignment and should have every chance to slip away on the front end.
A win bet is definitely in order, but we’ll also key Happy Good Guys in the quinella with #1 Ares and #6 Amazing, the mounts of Hong Kong’s leading riders Moreira and Zac Purton.
$13 to Win on #2 Happy Good Guys
$6.50 Quinella: 2 with 1,6 ($13)