Hong Kong Spot Plays: International Jockeys’ Championship

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 2nd, 2019

Want to watch a dozen of the world’s greatest jockeys battle for international honor in a series of ultra-competitive races? Then you won’t want to miss the International Jockeys’ Championship on Wednesday, December 4.

The four-race series will take place at Happy Valley in Hong Kong. Local stars Joao Moreira, Zac Purton, Karis Teetan, and Vincent Ho will square off against internationally-acclaimed riders Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore, Oisin Murphy, Yuga Kawada, James McDonald, Colin Keane, Pierre-Charles Boudot, and defending Jockeys’ Championship winner Silvestre de Sousa.

Riders will earn points for every top-three finish they achieve, with victories holding by far the most weight. Whichever jockey accumulates the most points by the end of the series will claim the championship title.

Let’s join in on the action with a couple of spot plays for the exciting card, which gets underway at 5:30 a.m. EST:

Race 4: International Jockeys’ Championship – First Leg (Class 4)

Sprinting 1,000 meters at Happy Valley is definitely the forte of #4 Very Sweet Orange (Silvestre de Sousa), who hasn’t missed the superfecta in five starts over this course and distance. Actually, this improving son of Exceed and Excel hasn’t missed the exacta in his last four turf sprints over any distance, winning at this class level on September 11.

Very Sweet Orange has abundant early speed and enters Wednesday’s race off a game runner-up effort on October 30, in which he sprinted hard to challenge for the lead from post twelve. He’s drawn wide again in post ten, but there isn’t a ton of speed on paper in this field, so he should sit a comfortable trip pressing #2 G Unit (Karis Teetan), a recent winner over this course, class, and distance. They should run 1-2, so while we’ll favor Very Sweet Orange for win purposes, we’ll play them together in the quinella.

  • $13 to win on #4 Very Sweet Orange
  • $13 quinella: 2,4

Race 8: International Jockeys’ Championship – Fourth Leg (Class 2)

#10 High Rev (Karis Teetan) is the horse everyone is talking about after winning two straight Class 3 handicaps going 1,650 meters at Happy Valley. This late-running son of Fastnet Rock will stretch out to 1,800 meters on Wednesday, but is he a good play while stepping up in class?

I’m not so sure. While Hugh Rev has shown plenty of promise, his winning times have been hovering right around 1:39.90—significantly slower than the times posted by some of his key rivals—and High Rev’s finishing fractions have also been modest.

In contrast, #1 Green Luck (Yuga Kawada) and #6 Happy Dragon (Frankie Dettori) have been competing admirably at the Class 2 level. Green Luck owns the overall course record at Happy Valley, having clocked 1:38.58 on September 11, while Happy Dragon won a recent Class 2 handicap in 1:39.40 and will be making his third start off a layoff this Wednesday, potentially setting up a peak effort from this John Moore-trained five-year-old.

Let’s bet Happy Dragon to win and key him in the quinella with Green Luck and High Rev:

  • $13 to win on #6 Happy Dragon
  • $6.5 quinella: 6 with 1,10 ($13)

Good luck!