Hong Kong Spot Plays: Is Super Axiom a super bet?
The weekdays leading up to Christmas will be pretty quiet on the North American racing front. Fortunately for bettors in search of competitive races to handicap, Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong will fill the void with an exciting nine-race card on Wednesday morning.
The action kicks off at 5:45 a.m. ET, but we’ll focus our attention on the second half of the card, highlighted by a pair of 1,200-meter turf sprints.
Race 6: Venus Handicap (Class 3, 8:15 a.m. ET)
#9 Super Axiom turned in a terrific effort to win his debut in a Class 4 handicap at Sha Tin last month. Dashing 1,000 meters over the straight course, Super Axiom flashed impressive speed from the start, quickly cleared the field, and led throughout to score by two lengths as the 11-5 favorite.
Super Axiom was never asked for his best run, responding readily to a mild hand ride before cruising across the finish line under virtually no urging at all. The speedy 3-year-old clearly had a lot left in the tank, so I’m optimistic he’ll handle Wednesday’s jump to 1,200 meters and Class 3 company just fine.
A win bet on Super Axiom will be our first order of business, but we’ll also play the son of Exceed and Excel on top of a trifecta keying #3 Grateful Heart underneath. The consistent 4-year-old has cracked the exacta in his last three starts over 1,200 meters at Happy Valley and will be guided by Hong Kong’s reigning champion jockey Zac Purton.
$16.90 to Win on #9 Super Axiom
$1.30 Trifecta: 9 with 3 with 1,2,4,5,7 ($6.50)
$1.30 Trifecta: 9 with 1,2,4,5,7 with 3 ($6.50)
Race 9: Mercury Handicap (Class 2, 9:50 a.m. ET)
In a deep and competitive field with plenty of options to consider, #1 Will Power looms as an intriguing wildcard. The Douglas Whyte trainee has spent the majority of his career racing over the all-weather dirt track at Sha Tin, where he’s gone 5-for-9 dashing 1,200 meters.
Will Power is switching to turf for the Wednesday finale, but he wasn’t disgraced in his lone grass run at Sha Tin last May, finishing just 3 1/4 lengths away from victory in a 1,400-meter Class 2 handicap. Perhaps he’ll find the conditions at Happy Valley a bit more suitable; at the very least, he figures to appreciate racing over his preferred 1,200-meter trip.
As a bonus, Will Power will be guided by hot jockey Jerry Chau, who rides with a 7-pound weight allowance. Chau’s 14% win rate is one of the highest on the Hong Kong circuit this season, so let’s take a shot betting Will Power to win and keying him in the omni/swinger with #2 Hong Kong Win and #4 Explosive Witness.
$15.60 to Win on #1 Will Power
$7.80 Omni/Swinger: 1 with 2,4 ($15.60)