Hong Kong Spot Plays: Betting John Moore on closing day at Happy Valley

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 6th, 2020

How time flies—another racing season in Hong Kong has come and gone. Just two more days of racing remain during the 2019-20 season, with the last Wednesday card at Happy Valley kicking off at 6:45 a.m. ET.

It’s been a fun run with lots of memorable moments along the way. Hoping to end the season with a bang? Here are two final spot plays to get you started:

Race 3

Kotewall Handicap (Class 4, 7:45 a.m. ET)

In his final season as a trainer on the Hong Kong circuit, local legend John Moore can go out a winner at Happy Valley with #3 Sprint Forward, a consistent 4-year-old seemingly poised for victory.

A capable performer over 1,400 meters at Sha Tin, Sprint Forward has performed well since cutting back to 1,200 meters at Happy Valley. After finishing seventh in a Class 4 handicap on June 3, beaten just 3 1/4 lengths, the Australian-bred son of Lope de Vega took a step forward in a similar race three weeks later, carving out the pace before finishing second by a head.

For Wednesday’s assignment, Sprint Forward will pick up the services of jockey Zac Purton, who is almost certain to reign as Hong Kong’s leading rider this season. Purton was on fire during the most recent day of racing at Happy Valley, going 4-for-9, and his presence aboard Sprint Forward suggests this gelding is sitting on a peak performance.

We’ll bet Sprint Forward to win and key him in the omni/swinger with #1 Xponential and #2 Harmony N Home:

  • $20.80 to Win on #3 Sprint Forward
  • $5.20 Omni/Swinger: 3 with 1,2 ($10.40)
  • Total: $31.20

Race 5

Hatton Handicap (Class 4, 8:45 a.m. ET)

Moore could potentially land a double with #1 We the South, a consistent 3-year-old with an obvious affinity for dashing 1,000 meters at Happy Valley. In his last four starts over this course and distance, We the South has recorded two wins, a third, and a fifth while never beaten more than 1 1/4 lengths.

A speedy front-runner who figures to set the pace in Wednesday’s heat, We the South has drawn well in post 3 and figures to receive a perfect trip under the guidance of jockey Alfred Chan, who rides with a 7-pound allowance. Shedding a few pounds might be all We the South needs to bounce back to the winner’s circle.

A win bet is in order, but we’ll also play We the South in the quinella and omni/swinger with the lightly-raced #8 Excellent Chariot, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths in his first two starts over this course and distance. He was in the hunt against We the South last time out and is conditioned by Hong Kong’s leading trainer Ricky Yiu, suggesting this New Zealand-bred sophomore still has plenty of upside.

  • $20.80 to Win on #1 We the South
  • $10.40 Omni/Swinger: 1,8
  • $5.20 Quinella: 1,8
  • Total: $36.40

Good luck, and thanks for reading!