RACING resumes at Happy Valley this afternoon, but the inner-city track will do well to replicate the drama that unfolded at Hong Kong’s premier course of Sha Tin last Sunday.
For the first time in living memory, two first-past-the-post objections were sustained. The last time one horse lost a race in the stewards’ room was back in 2015, but no one can remember two!
If that wasn’t enough on an action-packed day, former South African champion trainer Tony Millard landed a treble and suddenly found himself at the top of the leaderboard in the trainers’ title race.
Even Millard himself can’t ever remember being in this position since starting training in HK 18 years ago!
It was also a red-letter day for the ‘Mauritian Magician’ Karis Teetan who rode his first ever five-timer in HK and propelled himself within striking distance of current leading jockey Zac Purton.
You can guarantee that bettors will be taking a second look at the chances of Otouto, when the Millard and Teetan combination team up in the 12.45pm.
However, Millard has yet to visit the winners’ circle at Happy Valley this season, while Teetan has ridden only one winner in 24 races.
A safer proposition could be to follow the fortunes of trainer Richard Gibson, who has already made a fair start to the season with three winners and 10 placings from over 40 runners.
English-born Gibson, has in his own words, assembled a stable full of unexposed but potentially exciting recruits, who are capable of putting him back in the limelight.
He is represented by seven contenders at Happy Valley, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he doubled his present tally by the end of the afternoon, especially with the likes of King of Mongolia in the opener at 12.15pm, and Victory Power at 1.45pm, who look sure to go close.
Gibson’s three winners this season have all come over the extended mile at the Valley, and his two best chances, are running over that distance.
ALL YOU KNOW lines up in the 1.15pm, and has outstanding claims of landing his second course-and-distance success.
The Douglas Whyte-ridden grey had little chance to show his best form from an outside draw last month, ending up at the back of the field to find some cover.
He was then inconvenienced by the slow tempo of the contest and found himself with too much to do when a sprint developed down the home stretch.
This time he is ideally drawn which will allow him to glide along the rails in a midfield position and then use his impressive finishing kick down the straight.
Gibson will be hoping lightning strikes twice when he is represented by last-start winner RIGHT HONOURABLE who seeks to defy an 8lb penalty in the finale at 3.50pm.
This highly-progressive, Purton-ridden four-year-old produced a performance that had clock-watchers double-checking their timepieces when winning last month.
From the inside rail draw, he is mapped to follow a similar path to his last victory and will be hard to beat.
All You Know 1.15pm Happy Valley
Right Honourable 3.50pm Happy Valley