Hong Kong Spot Plays: Playing a Moreira double on Happy Valley’s penultimate night
Following a one-week hiatus, midweek racing will return to Hong Kong on Wednesday with a 9-race card at Happy Valley.
It’s the penultimate meeting of the 2019-20 season at Hong Kong’s city track, and the battle for the title of leading jockey is getting fierce. After trailing for much of the season, defending champion Zac Purton has opened up a 132-128 lead over Joao Moreira, and the battle for supremacy of the local jockey colony figures to come down to the wire.
The Wednesday action gets underway at 6:45 a.m. ET, and we’re planning to play two of Moreira’s mounts on this competitive card:
Race 5: Shouson Hill Handicap (Class 4, 8:45 a.m. ET)
#8 Wild West Wing wasn’t badly beaten when rallying to finish fourth as the favorite over this course, class, and 1,000-meter distance on June 3, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by #1 We the South. Considering it was his first start in 4 1/2 months, and only his fourth run altogether, Wild West Wing still has lots of upside for Hong Kong’s reigning champion trainer John Size.
Joao Moreira has been in the saddle for all of Wild West Wing’s races and will remain aboard the son of Exceed and Excel on Wednesday, suggesting this 3-year-old Australian-bred is highly regarded by his connections. He carried six pounds less than We the South on June 3 but will be receiving 12 pounds from his rival this time around, a weight shift that could tip the scales in Wild West Wing’s favor.
Let’s place a small win bet on Wild West Wing and key him in the omni/swinger with We the South and the first-time starter #3 Sunny and Gold:
- $10.40 to Win on #8 Wild West Wing
- $5.20 Omni/Swinger: 8 with 1,3 ($10.40)
- Total: $20.80
Race 6: Mount Gough Handicap (Class 3, 9:15 a.m. ET)
Trainer Caspar Fownes will strike while the iron is hot with #9 Sky Darci, who wheels back just two weeks after winning a Class 4 handicap over this course and distance. Favored at 22-10, Sky Darci made a great impression sprinting the final 400 meters in :23.10 to score by two lengths in 1:09.54, slightly faster than the Class 3 standard of 1:09.85.
Joao Moreira guided Sky Darci two weeks ago and will retain the mount on Wednesday. Considering Sky Darci has only run four times—and just twice this season—there’s no reason to think he can’t take another step forward while climbing the class ladder.
We’ll bet Sky Darci to win and key him in the omni/swinger with #3 Highland Fortune (a winner over this class, course, and distance on June 3) and #10 California Turbo (a capable Class 3 performance transitioning from Sha Tin to Happy Valley.)
- $10.40 to Win on #9 Sky Darci
- $5.20 Omni/Swinger: 9 with 3,10 ($10.40)
- Total: $20.80