Hong Kong Preview: Lightning Storm forecast for Happy Valley
Exciting newcomer #6 Lightning Storm can defy a step up in class and a 10 pound rise in the ratings to win for the third time in four Hong Kong outings at Happy Valley Feb. 23.
Lightning Storm moves up to Class 3 to take on a solid field in Race 6, the 1000-meter (about five furlongs) King Kwong Handicap.
But the way he dealt to his Class 4 opponents by a very easy three lengths Feb. 6 suggests he won’t be in Class 3 for long either. Jumping well, he sat behind the pace and then sped away in the stretch and looked to have a good deal in hand at the line.
Helping him is that he retains the services of Zac Purton, who also rode two other runners in this race at their previous starts. From barrier four he should get a perfect run.
The biggest danger looks to be #2 Special M, who hasn’t finished further back than second in his past four starts. At his most recent outing he was a solid second to Stoltz in a similar event Feb. 9. He is drawn next to Lightning Storm and should go well again for jockey Vagner Borges.
#8 Whizz Kid has also done little wrong this season, not finishing further back than fourth in his seven starts. All of those have been at Sha Tin however, and he won’t be helped by making his Happy Valley debut from gate 11. He should still be included in exotics.
Another saddled with a wide draw is #10 Awesome Treasure, who steps into Class 3 company for the first time. He was close to winning last start out and if Daniel Moor can find a good slot for his mount from gate 12 he should be in the mix.
Most of the others are in solid form and could easily be included for exotics.
- $20 win/$40 show: #6 Lightning Storm.
- $1.30 trifecta: 6 with 2, 8, 10 with 2, 7, 8, 10, 12
BONUS PLAY – NEW ZEALAND
Wanganui, Feb. 23, R3
- $10 win/$30 show, #3 Lebanese Trader: Can be forgiven last start effort after slipping on greasy surface. From leading stable and should run boldly.