Hong Kong Spot Plays: Happy Valley, Take Two

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 19th, 2019

After successfully holding a race meet at Sha Tin on November 17, the Hong Kong Jockey Club will seek to resume racing at Happy Valley on Wednesday, November 20, one week after the November 13 card was canceled due to ongoing political protests in the region.

First post time for the nine-race evening card is 5:45 a.m. ET. Betting markets are still open in Hong Kong and no word of cancellation has been announced, so let’s come up with a couple of spot plays for the Wednesday action:

Race 3: Dandelion Handicap (Class 4)

In a race that doesn’t appear terribly deep on paper, the four highweights -- #1 Precious Sweetie, #2 Oriental Elite, #3 Amazing Star, and #4 Zero Hedge -- appear to be a cut above their rivals. All have performed admirably at this class level or better, and Amazing Star is actually dropping from Class 3 to Class 4 company while picking up the services of reigning champion jockey Zac Purton.

You could go in any direction with these four and feel good about your chances, so rather than attempt to split their evenly-matched form, let’s take advantage of their apparent superiority and box them in the trifecta:

  • $1.3 trifecta box: 1,2,3,4 ($31.2)

Race 6: The Australian Turf Club Trophy (Class 3)

#12 Hardly Swears will be a popular choice after rallying to victory in his last two starts sprinting at Happy Valley. But his margins of victory were narrow (a neck and a head), and he’ll be stepping up from Class 4 to Class 3 company on Wednesday.

In contrast, #1 Perfect Glory is dropping in class off a series of runs against Class 2 company. Last time out, he finished 6 ½ lengths behind recent Group 2 winner Aethero, who broke a 12-year-old course record while sprinting 1,000 meters in :54.69.

The drop in class could trigger a rebound for Perfect Glory, but the real threat for an upset might be #6 Natural Winner. A three-time winner over synthetic courses in France, Natural Winner was beaten five lengths in his Hong Kong debut, but that race came over the dirt track at Sha Tin. Natural Winner is bred for grass and will switch to his (presumably) preferred surface on Wednesday, setting up him for significant improvement in his second local start.

Let’s play Perfect Glory and Natural Winner on top of a trifecta while spreading deep underneath:

  • $1.3 trifecta: 1,6 with 1,2,5,6,12 with 1,2,5,6,12 ($31.2)

Good luck!